6 On Your Side: Consumer Confidence, Eggspensive Eggs to Dye For

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(ABC 6 News) – Head down to the supermarket egg aisle and you’re bound to get sticker shock, prices jumped 60% last year!

There have been some recent price breaks for egg lovers, but they’re still so egg-spensive!

With an eye on saving your money, Consumer Reports sifts through the endless barrage of egg labels, revealing what they actually mean, and whether or not it’s worth paying a premium for them.

The egg aisle isn’t what it used to be, shoppers are faced with dozens of options at different prices: Cage-free, free range, organic, and more. But what does it all mean, and is it worth paying more for any of them?

“A lot of these terms on egg cartons don’t really have any defined meaning, and if you’re going to pay a premium price for eggs you want to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting,” says Consumer Reports’ Trisha Calvo.

Let’s start off with labels you can ignore, like “farm fresh,” “natural,” and “no hormones.”

“All eggs are from farms, and all eggs are natural, so “farm fresh” and “natural” really has no clear meaning. And by law, chickens can’t be given hormones. So a carton of eggs that have these claims isn’t really any different from a carton that doesn’t,” says Calvo.

“Cage free” is another misleading label.

While it’s true the hens aren’t kept in cages, they can still be kept indoors, often in crowded conditions.

The “free range” label is also dubious.

“Free range birds aren’t kept in cages and they do have outdoor access – but they can still be raised in crowded conditions and the outdoor area can be very tiny,” explains Calvo.

If the eggs have an “organic,” seal, it means the eggs were laid by hens fed grains grown without most synthetic pesticides or GMOs.

The birds cannot be raised in cages and must have outdoor access – though that could still mean confined conditions in a building with just a small concrete porch.

Pasture-raised on its own isn’t meaningful. But if it’s paired with the Certified Humane label, you can be sure the chickens had access to a pasture with space to do chicken-things like pecking for seeds and bugs.

So, if buying eggs from healthier hens who were raised in more humane conditions is important to you, choose pasture raised but be prepared to pay more, well over $5 per dozen.

If you’re dying eggs this Easter, it’s important to not leave boiled eggs out for more than two hours. Be sure to get them in the fridge within two hours after cooking.