"Free Range" and "Organic" are two of the biggest sketchy selling points in the food industry, I think. "Free Range" with eggs and chickens just means that the chickens have access to the outdoors for some portion of the day. That's it. You can have 1000 chickens in a small coop... But if there's a tiny run outside open to them for a few hours per day they have access to, it's considered free range. From the Wiki page:
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) requires that chickens raised for their meat have access to the outside in order to receive the free-range certification. There is no requirement for access to pasture, and there may be access to only dirt or gravel . Free-range chicken eggs, however, have no legal definition in the United States. Likewise, free-range egg producers have no common standard on what the term means."
Cage free simply means no cages. They don't even have to have access to outdoors. They can be crammed into a coop and be called cage free. Still better than cages but not really a step up if you see how crowded they pack those hen buildings. Look up Cage Free eggs on Wiki, they've got a picture of a legal cage free hen setup, and there are so many hens you can't even walk through the building without stepping on one.
As for Organic, if you've ever heard of the TV Show "Bull****!" They do an episode on organics that goes into it pretty good, and a lot of the misinformation spread about it. To me it's nothing but a hit on my wallet, as there's been no conclusive proof that says organic is better (and in fact most say it's not better OR worse, it's about the same as a regular diet).
That being said I am ALL for supporting local farmers, and I absolutely love farmers markets. Locally grown produce is the best. Tried a locally grown Black Diamond watermelon last year and I will not go back to store bought watermelon... It's just not as good!
ETA: Reading the labels is indeed the best thing to do when buying food. Some of it is pretty sketchy.
Last edited by Shoebox; 12-15-2013 at 12:09 PM.