Difference between free range eggs and organic eggs
There is a major difference between organic eggs and free range eggs if the free range eggs are not grown in the spirit of free range. Many egg producers call their eggs free range, but stick to the bare minimum of the regulations – meaning that the chickens may get to range outside – but they are in a small space with not much more than a dust bowl to range in. Shade, space, greenery and a bit of the wild is what a happy free range chicken needs.
Organic regulations are very strict – to call you eggs organic is no easy matter – especially in South Africa, where it is almost impossible to buy organic feed for chickens. Most of the grain in South Africa has some kind of GMO in it. This means that no matter how organic your chicken or eggs are -they will not pass this standard.
(Participatory Guarantee Systems) is a standard that will allow South Africa egg producers to grow and sell eggs that are as near to organic as is possible, whilst avoiding the bad practices of many so called “free range” chicken farmers. Organic regulations also state that the chickens, and by default the eggs, must eat organic vegetables and organic feed. 60% of the organic food must be grown on the farm – and the chickens cannot be crowded together – at least a square meter of space for 4 chickens outside and no more than 6 chickens per square meter inside – as you can see, this makes organic farming a challenge – there are many other regulations which protect the chickens.
Free range egg farming does have regulations – and they are far better than any conditions that caged hens or intensively farmed chickens live in. Free range chicken and organic chicken are still 1st choices – even if free range chickens do not eat organic chicken feed – Organic eggs or free range eggs should still be first choice for the consumer. PGSSA will help South African Poultry farmers to sell a quality product to the public, while offering a standard that suits African conditions.