What's the deal with eggs?

If you're looking to buy organic eggs, it can be quite a confusing business. All supermarkets sell various kinds, and looking at the package, all chickens are living in happy chicken land, somewhere on a farm picking bugs and all sorts of stuff from the ground (like they should)
Well, not really. You can tell how a chicken has lived according to the code printed on the eggs.

In The Netherlands there are 4 types:

0 - biologisch (organic)
1 - vrije-uitloop ei (free-range)
2 - scharrel ei (range or cage-free)
3 - kooi ei (cage-eggs, forbidden since 2012)

The code should be printed on every egg, so when in doubt, always check to make sure you have the eggs you want.

For example, the term "scharrel" is used quite often and has gotten (in our opinion) a reputation that is a bit of a deception. Scharrel in Dutch means as much as "to rummage about" so it insinuates that the animal has lots of space to move around.
It is also used for meats, a topic that will be addressed in the future as well.
So how much space does the chicken really have? And does it go outside? What does it eat?

Kooi ei
So technically it isn't possible anymore to purchase eggs that come from chickens in cages, but unfortunately it can still happen that certain products (like mayonnaise, baked goods, etc.)  can contain cage-eggs. Dutch food "guard dog" Foodwatch is campaigning against these types of products since 2012. Currently, countries like Italy, Greece & Cyprus still produce cage eggs that can end up somewhere in Europe in various products.

Comparison scharrel & vrije-uitloop
Scharrel ei
These chickens stay indoor all the time, and have a space the size of 2 A4 sheets. Their beaks are cut and they get 10 to 17 hours of light (artificial) Unlike the cage chicken, they can sit on a perch.

Vrije-uitloop ei
These chicks get to go outside (during the day), therefore have more space to themselves. Also their beaks will be cut (or partially burnt) and just like codes 3 & 2, their food most likely will contain antibiotics.

Biologisch ei
These girls will live as close to their nature as humans made possible. They get to keep their beaks, take dust baths, go outside (minimum of 8 hours) and they do not get treated with antibiotics.

However, in all cases, their food can contain grains, only in the case of biologisch they will eat grass as well and their food is free of pesticides, hormones & antibiotics.

In- & outside space of biologisch

On some packages you'll see the "beter leven keurmerk", which is a star system to indicate the quality of life the animal had. 
3 stars is optimal of course, more info is found here: www.beterleven.dierenbescherming.nl/kippen-eieren (Dutch)

Unfortunately for us (and apparently with more products that are better for you), the better the chicken's life, the more expensive the eggs (and meat) According to our latest check, supermarkets Lidl & Dirk van der Broek offer the cheapest price of 1,59 per 6 eggs.


5 opmerkingen:

  1. Hi there! Good news (apparently)! I've been to my local LIDL in Amsterdam twice in 3 weeks and I've found that the organic eggs now cost 1,49 euros for 6 :)
    I hope it stays that way!
    Btw, thanks for your blog! Very useful information!

    1. Hey there! Yes, we've seen their price drop for the organic eggs, if you live near a Dirk van den Broek, their price is actually €1,39 for 6!

  2. Hi! Do you know what happens to the roosters, do they still get killed even in case of biologic eggs? Thank you!

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