The Cornucopia Institute rates eggs!
Whole Foods (365 Organics) scored 80 out of a possible 2200 points & Trader Joe’s labeled eggs scored ZERO.
The purpose of The Cornucopia Institute report was to determine which brands of eggs use the best organic farming practices and ethics. Cornucopia spent over a year researching 70 different name-brand eggs. In addition, they also exposed factory farm operators that literally raise millions of birds (both conventional and organic) with as many as 85,000 “organic” hens in single buildings. Photo by The Cornucopia Institute.
The Cornucopia institute created a scorecard with a total of 2200 points. Maximum amount of points for each category was 100 points. Here is a list of the 22 categories. Ownership Structure, Organic Certifying Agency, Disclosure Commitment to Organics ,Egg Supply, Single or double story henhouse(s), Outdoor space, Popholes/Exit to outdoors, Outdoor space exemptions, Opportunity for all birds to be outside simultaneously, Rotation of outdoor space, Outdoor vegetation, Indoor space per bird, Indoor enrichment such as perches, litter, etc, Natural light, Other animals on pasture, Cycling on nutrients –manure, Feed produced on farm, Replacement Stock, Laying Hen Lifespan, Beak Trimming and Farm support. Detailed list of each category. http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/Scorecard_Appendix.pdf
Whole Foods? Really, only 80 out of 2200?
This is what Cornucopia had to say about Whole Foods. “Although Whole Foods participated transparently in Cornucopia’s process to rate organic dairy and soy products they declined when receiving our questionnaire concerning organic eggs saying that they were not willing to share their list of suppliers.
They answered one question with, probably, the least consequence to consumers in our study. They failed to provide any answers to the remaining 21 questions.
We would encourage loyal Whole Foods shoppers to contact the company, through their website, and let them know that if they want your continued patronage, for their 365 brand eggs, that they should release their sourcing information to The Cornucopia Institute.”
I was surprised to read Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s were not willing to share their suppliers. In my opinion, it would be in their best interest to share with their customers who they are partnering with unless of course their eggs are produced by industrial farms that house tens of thousands of hens with limited outdoor access. After reading the report, I will not be purchasing 365 Organics or Trader Joe’s private label eggs.
The report concludes most industrial-scale organic egg producers’ raise tens of thousands of hens in henhouse with only a small wooden porch which is consider “outdoors.” This is a huge economic disadvantage to the true organic farmers who grant either pasture or legitimate outdoor runs to their laying hens. The picture below is an organic henhouse which houses 18,000 birds. As you see, this is considered a concrete covered porch which counts as “outdoor access” on a farm. (Photo by The Cornucopia Institute.)
To learn more about ethical family farms in your area check out the full report. http://www.cornucopia.org/2010/09/organic-egg-report-and-scorecard/
(All photos by The Cornucopia Institute)