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Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Bad Eggs

You buy organic eggs for any number of reasons, probably related to not wanting to support factory farms that mistreat chickens, pollute the environment and produce eggs that are nutritionally inferior.

Unfortunately, not all organic eggs are created equal. You may be surprised to learn that most of the retail grocery chain store-brand “organic” eggs actually come from huge factory farm-type operations that routinely violate USDA National Organic Program (NOP) rules.

We’re talking about brands like Whole Foods 365 Organic; Trader Joe’s; Aldi’s Simply Nature; Sprouts Market; Wegmans; Target’s Simply Balanced—brands that stores claim as their “own” even though they don’t actually produce them

In our alert this week, we target some of the retail grocery “organic” private-label store brands that are produced for stores by one of the three worst industrial-scale “organic” producers (and violators of USDA organic standards) in the country: Cal-Maine Foods, Rose Acre Farms and Herbruck’s.

How do these companies get away with running fake “organic” egg operations? 

In theory, USDA standards for organic eggs dictate that hens should have access to the outdoors. But as this 2015 report by the Cornucopia Institute explains, those standards are unclear and thus open to interpretation. The standards are also largely unenforced. According to the report (p. 39):

Not a single industrial-scale egg producer has come under investigation by the USDA for violating the standards; on the contrary, industrial-scale producers apparently felt shielded from legal action soon after the organic standards went into effect in 2002. 

We would ask you to hound the Big Three fake organic egg producers—but we know they won’t care what you think, as long as stores like Kroger and Target and Safeway and others keep buying up the eggs and slapping their own labels on them.

The only way to make the organic egg industry honest is to get retailers, including the big retail grocery chains like Publix and Giant Eagle and Costco, to stop sourcing their eggs from industrial-scale producers like Cal-Maine Foods, Rose Acre Farms and Herbruck’s. And the only way to do that, is to stop buying the store brands until they switch. 

TAKE ACTION: Tell These Retailers: Stop Selling ‘Organic’ Eggs that Actually Come from Factory Farms!

Read the Cornucopia Institute report on the egg industry 

Good eggs and bad eggs—check out the Cornucopia organic egg scorecard 

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20% Off Mercola's Organic Collagen from Grass Fed Beef Bone Broth and 20% Goes to Organic Consumers Association.