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Happy Chickens, Nutritious Eggs

Ronnie Cummins- Organic Consumers Assoc.

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June 4, 2016

There are lots of reasons you buy organic eggs. You want to support organic farmers. You assume the birds are treated better than those in factory farms. You figure there’s less impact on the environment.

And if you also believe organic eggs are probably better for your health, you’re right—assuming the eggs come from hens raised organically, on pastures.

According to the USDA-funded National Center for Appropriate Technology’s report, “Pastured Poultry Nutrition and Forages,” eggs from grass-fed flocks “tend to have less cholesterol, more vitamins A and E, multiplied Omega-3 content, and a healthier ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s,” while “the results of poultry meat production on pasture are similar.”

But did you know that most of the “organic” eggs and poultry produced in the U.S. come from large-scale factory farms, where the birds are cooped up indoors? From “organic” egg and poultry operations that don’t even follow the minimum standards set by the National Organic Program (NOP), much less let their chickens roam, and feed, outdoors?

The Cornucopia Institute spent a year researching the organic egg business to produce a scorecard that rates 136 different name brand and private-label eggs. Only 22 of the 136 are “truly pastured.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) is trying to fix this problem, by cracking down on the organic industry’s rotten eggs. But unfortunately, the NOP is proposing that “outdoors” can be as little as two square feet per bird of bare dirt and concrete.

Chickens inside an egg



Thanks to the nearly 20,000 of you who asked Congress to let the NOP proceed with its plan to crack down on the big “organic” egg and poultry operations, we’ve dodged a bullet—members of the Ag Appropriations Committee were unable to push through an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2017 which would have killed the NOP proposal before the USDA even got the chance to even review the comments by the June 13 deadline.

Now, we just need the NOP to get real by making—and enforcing—a rule that actually requires birds to be raised on real pastures.

TAKE ACTION: DEADLINE midnight June 13: Tell the NOP, bare dirt and concrete aren’t organic!

Text 'chick' to 97779 to sign the petition