This article is from Dr. Mercola's newsletter. He sometimes has a little far fetched ideas but for the most part I, personally, agree with his views. You can take it or leave it. If you want to read more you can go to his website at: mercola.com Most Grocery Store Eggs Far More Likely to Be Infected A recent survey by the British government has revealed that organic laying hen farms have a significantly lower level of Salmonella, a bacterium that is the most common cause of food poisoning worldwide. More than 23 percent of farms with caged hens tested positive for salmonella, compared to just 4.4 percent in organic flocks and 6.5 percent in free-range flocks. The highest prevalence of salmonella occurred in the largest holding size category (30,000 birds or more). They contained over four times the average level of salmonella found in flocks closer to the maximum size allowed under British Soil Association organic standards. Sources: * Natural Choices February 1, 2008 It may sound incredible, but many conventional egg operations contain as many as half a million chickens. Each cage will hold four or five birds, each with room to roam an area no larger than a letter-sized sheet of paper. Subsequently, these cage-raised chickens have to be given routine doses of antibiotics and other drugs, all of which have serious health implications for you the consumer. The Multiple Benefits of Organic, Free-Range Eggs Eggs are one of the healthiest foods in the world, and at their very best if you eat them raw. But the quality of your eggs is also important. Not only are true organic, free-range eggs FAR less likely to contain dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, but their nutrient content is also much higher than commercially raised eggs. In November 2007, Mother Earth News published the results from their second egg-testing project, showing that compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture contained: * 1⁄3 less cholesterol * 1⁄4 less saturated fat * 2⁄3 more vitamin A * 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids * 3 times more vitamin E * 7 times more beta carotene These dramatically differing nutrient levels are most likely the result of the differences in diet between free-range pastured hens, vs. commercially farmed hens. What Kind of Eggs Should You Buy, and Where Can You Find Them? First of all, I strongly encourage you to ignore the hype of designer eggs and AVOID ALL omega-3 eggs, as they are actually LESS healthy for you. Typically, the animals are fed poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. Additionally, omega-3 eggs are far more perishable than non-omega-3 eggs so they dont stay fresh nearly as long. If you have to purchase your eggs from a commercial grocery store, I would advise getting free-range organic. Ideally, if at all possible, it would be far preferable to purchase your eggs directly from your local farmer, because this way you can be certain of the quality. This may not be as hard as you think. In my experience, this is one of the easiest foods to find from local farmers. To find free-range pasture farms you can try you local health food store or try: * www.eatwild.com * www.localharvest.com How to Check Your Eggs for Freshness and Quality Regardless of where you get your eggs from, there are several guidelines to ensure that youre buying and consuming fresh, high-quality eggs: 1. Always check the freshness of the egg right before you consume the yolk. If you are at all uncertain about the freshness of an egg, don't eat it. This is one of the best safeguards against salmonella infection. 2. If there is a crack in the shell, don't eat it. You can easily check for this by immersing the egg in a pan of cool, salted water. If the egg emits a tiny stream of bubbles, don't consume it as the shell is porous/contains a hole. 3. If you are getting your eggs fresh from a farmer it is best to not refrigerate them. This is the way most of the world stores their eggs; they do not refrigerate them. Its important to remember that to be able to properly judge the freshness of an egg, its contents need to be at room temperature. Eggs that are stored in the fridge and opened immediately after taking them out will seem fresher than they actually are. At the very least, eggs should be kept outside the fridge for at least an hour prior to checking them for freshness or opening them. 4. To check for freshness, first roll the egg across a flat surface. Only consume it if it rolls wobbly. 5. Next, open the egg. If the egg white is watery instead of gel-like, don't consume the egg. If the egg yolk is not convex and firm, don't consume the egg. If the egg yolk easily bursts, don't consume the egg. 6. After opening the egg you can put it up to your nose and smell it. If it smells foul you will certainly not want to consume it. Just for reference, Dr. Mercola is always black and white - absolute on what he says. Sometimes we believe there is a little give and take but he doesn't usually talk about it so take things with a tiny grain of salt.