I personally always buy brown organic eggs. I've made up my mind, and it's a done deal for me, but when I ask my husband to buy eggs, he calls me from the store with a list of questions: "Should I buy brown or white? organic or cage free? cage free or pasture raised?" After such phone calls, I begin questioning myself, Should I forego "organic" label for "pasture raised"? Are all organic eggs automatically pasture raised? So many options often leave people confused, especially at the store where you need to make a decision in seconds. Let's take a look at the wording and what it means:
(Let me begin by saying that even as I was doing more research and digging deeper, I felt like I was getting more confused myself, but in the end I was able to figure our this confusing business of selecting eggs for your breakfast and to summarize it for you.)
White eggs: White feathered chickens usually lay white eggs.
Brown eggs: Brown feathered chickens usually lay brown eggs.
Bottom line: White and brown eggs are nutritionally the same. Brown eggs tend to be bigger in size and cost more, because brown hens are larger and larger hens require more feed.
What it means: Organic means that the poultry is fed organic feed for at least 3 years prior to certification; they have access to the outdoors and are not kept in cages
What it does not guarantee: the fact that hens are not kept in cages does not mean that they are not living in crowded conditions, and the fact that they have access to outdoors does not mean that they are roaming grassy pastures looking for bugs, worms and grass to eat.
Both organic and conventional hens can be "cage-free"
What it does not guarantee: "cage-free" means that hens are living in an "open-space", but it does not guarantee that this "open space" is not inside a crowed hen house.
Pasture raised is supposed to mean what is sounds like: the hens are roaming the outdoors during the days and come inside at night to protect themselves from predators or weather.
What it does not guarantee: As oppose to "organic" and "cage free," the wording "pasture raised" is not protected by law and has no legal definition so products with "pasture raised" labels can be what you imagine them to be or not.
Your very best option would be to find a farmer whom you can trust and develop relationship with and buy eggs from them. And remember that organic certification can be expensive, Some smaller farmers simply cannot afford to go through the process; nevertheless, the eggs that they sell may be organic, cage-free and pasture raised in the truest meaning of those words. If you are at the store and you need to buy eggs now - local organic eggs would be your safest bet.