By Hilary Achauer

In Nutrition

September 29, 2016

PDF Article

How to select the right eggs, whether you’re interested in nutrition, animal welfare or price.

For years I’ve purchased brown eggs.

Specifically, Trader Joe’s Brown Organic Free Range Eggs.

I bypassed the cheaper options because it seemed like the healthy thing to do. I had the vague sense the brown color meant they were healthier, more natural, but I couldn’t tell you what any of the claims on the carton actually meant.

Then I stumbled across a fact that blew my mind: The color of the eggs has nothing to do with how the chickens are raised. Chickens with white feathers and white earlobes lay white eggs. Dark-feathered chickens with red earlobes lay brown eggs. That’s it. The reason brown eggs cost more is the brown-egg-laying chickens eat more than the white-egg-laying chickens, so they’re more expensive to raise.

Once I discovered the secret of brown eggs, I wondered what else I didn’t know. What’s the difference between free range and cage-free, and why are pastured eggs so expensive?

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