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    The Science Is Settled: No Nutritional Difference Between Free-Range And Caged Chicken Eggs
    By Hank Campbell | August 26th 2011 11:57 AM | 48 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0® and co-author of "Science Left Behind".

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone...

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    One of the stranger claims of anti-science hippies is that there is not only a difference between 'organic' food (and apparently 'inorganic' food, whatever that could be) in structure - and if you believe that, go read Huffington Post, I won't take it personally - but also in nutrition.

    The evidence for this is invariably anecdotal - some organic food tastes better, people say, though that has nothing at all to do with structure or nutrition.   I have no complaints with people who don't know any better falling for this stuff - 'organic' food is a multi-billion industry, so lucrative that the farmers most likely to be organic can't afford the fees and paperwork to get the little sticker that says they are organic - that's capitalism.   But I like to puncture myths, especially if they are going after less informed people who just want a better life.   Therefore, organic food, homeopathy and evolutionary psychology are recurring targets.

    Some produce you buy from a farmer claiming to be organic may well taste better - it just has nothing at all to do with whether or not he uses deadly-but-natural strychnine as a toxic pesticide or a synthetic kind, and anything with an 'organic' label is allowed dozens of 'inorganic' ingredients, like gelatin, coloring and insulin. See the full list of synthetic/inorganic products allowed in both growing organic food and in the organic food itself.

    In reality, what you think is organic is likely only 95% organic.   No matter what the sticker says, if you do not personally know the farmer and visited his farm, you might be fooled.  The reason there is a 5% exemption for 'essential' synthetic additives is because your eggs would cost $20 a dozen if a farmer tried to actually be 'organic'.  Living on a farm in rural Pennsylvania surrounded by Amish people, even my getting milk with a ladle right out of the vat at the next door neighbor's was not 'organic' but it's as close to natural as you can get(1).

    A more recent marketing gimmick has been that 'free range' animals are superior.  Obviously there can be something to that.  If you go to the mountains of Montana and shoot an elk, for example, the meat might taste a little 'sweeter' to you because elk eat fennel.  So all you meat eaters who believe flesh tastes different based on how it is raised, you are correct.  Those folks in Kobe know what they are doing.

    But if you put a cow in the mountains is the milk going to be nutritionally different?  It makes no sense to anyone who knows a ruminant digestive system.  Yet some people believe free-range cow milk will be nutritionally different.  And then we get to eggs and whether or not an egg produced by a chicken that walks around will be better.

    A recent study conducted over a two-year period found 'free-range' eggs were not nutritionally different from a chicken kept in a cage(2).  They used 500 pullets/hens and moved the ones for the range environment 12 weeks after hatching. After maturing, they collected egg samples at 50, 62, and 74 weeks and sent them to four different labs commonly used for egg nutrient analysis. 

    The results showed no difference in levels of vitamin A or vitamin E based on the hen being free-range or kept in a cage. Nutritionally negligible β-carotene levels were higher in the range eggs, contributing to the darker colored yolks observed in those eggs.

    Citation: Kenneth E. Anderson, "Comparison of Fatty Acid, Cholesterol, and Vitamin A and E Composition in Eggs from Hens Housed in Conventional Cage and Range Production Facilities," Poultry Science, Poult Sci 2011. 90:1600-1608. doi:10.3382/ps.2010-01289

    NOTES:

    (1) Illegal, I assume, and was then, despite it being as natural as possible.   That's the downside to big government.  California spends billions subsidizing green energy yet a clothes line is illegal in virtually every housing plan in every city.

    (2) As a bonus, the study found that eggs overall were not as bad as thought.   Both cage- and range-produced eggs actually have lower cholesterol levels than previously believed, which has led the USDA to lower the cholesterol guidelines for eggs in the USDA Nutrient Database for shell eggs to 185 mg per egg, down from 213 mg.

    Comments

    'Anti-science hippies'?

    When did it become 1968, and when did you turn 51?

    Hank
    Well, I wanted to distinguish them from sane hippies, who are pretty cool - a lot of those in science.
    Ah, I see. I was focusing on the 'hippies', rather than the 'anti-science'.

    Thanks for cleaning up those multiple replies, BTW. No idea what happened there. I only hit 'post' once...

    Mr Science, just clicking on the paper's abstract showed some nutritional differences. It appears the free-range chickens ate some bugs and got some extra Omega-3 fatty acids into their eggs, so presumably their chicks will be smarter.. Isn;t that a more interesting idea than anti-science hippies who eat organic?

    Hank
    I'm not sure how to respond to a belief that a small change in Omega-3 meant they were chickens just waiting to overtake us in some "Planet of the Chickens" coup - if the eggs had only been fertilized.  Cage-produced eggs had lower cholesterol but that doesn't mean they had no cholesterol at all.   I'm not saying cage-produced chickens are superior, they are not, nor is the range kind. If you like to pay more money for eggs from chickens that walk around, that is your choice under capitalism - but it is simply paying for a worldview you prefer, not a better egg.
    One potential problem with this 'science' is that the chickens used were probably all beak trimmed - which means that even though some of them were allowed access to pasture, they were unable to fully utilise it as a feed source and their diet remained essentially the same as birds kept in cages.

    UvaE
    The list of substances "allowed while growing organic " is quite extensive too (from one of your links). Of course, one might argue that it will only lead to trace residual quantities of these chemicals(for example all sorts of chlorine compounds).

    But are most consumers of such foods aware of what's going on?

    Probably not because it's the fear of residuals that drove them to "organic" in the first place.
    Hank
    People don't know, though we have written numerous articles on it.  A billion dollars in marketing + confirmation bias means people want to believe whatever they want.

    On Twitter, a fellow made a point that if people feel better about their eggs the direct nutritional benefit is tangential to the mental benefit and I agree - but the same argument can be made for people who 'feel' better not accepting evolution.  If an anti-science belief exists in a group people happen to like, they tend to let it go.
    Well, this article only talks about three nutrients, which happen to be the same. There are far more nutrients to be had in chicken eggs than that. What about all the others? And hey, even *if* every nutrient is the same, there is no contest as to which kind of egg tastes better and has a better consistency. Even if it's just the lack of guilt making it taste better, that works for me. And I'm hardly an anti-science hippie (it gets me into arguments with anti-science hippies all the time), but there's not much scientifically sound about looking at just 3 aspects of a very complex structure and then making a statement that there is no difference based only on those three things. It bums me out when articles pose as science-y and then employ the same emotional/sales tactics as the woo-woo rhetoric they are supposed to be countering.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I buy eggs laid by free-range, probably only 95% organic chickens simply because I don't like the idea of chickens being kept in little cages with their beaks trimmed to stop them pecking anyone and anything. However, its possible that some caged birds are being fed very good diets and some free-range birds have poor diets. Are you saying that even in these cases there would be no significant difference in the nutritional analysis of these eggs?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Hank
    I'm not saying it, this study is saying it.  If you walked around or laid in bed while pregnant your digestive system did not change the composition of your baby based on that.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Yes, that makes sense.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    But if you had exercised regularly and eaten healthily your entire life your baby would probably be healthier than a person's who laid around and had a poor diet.

    Also if you are going to attack the organic industry for being a "multibillion dollar" one and act like that somehow makes them corrupt and conniving I would only like to point out that the conventional food industry (which funded that study by the way) is over 25 times bigger. Organic food only has about 3.7% of the market share.

    Hank
    You're making my point nicely.  If ethics and corruption are going to be applied to anyone who makes money, it has to be applied to all. Likewise, you would obviously not claim because a giant food processor or distributor is in any way unethical just because they are successful, while giant organic food companies are somehow superior in any way.
    Absolutely. And you just made mine. Of course the organic industry is not above reproach. I never said that.
    People should be conscientious and critical consumers whatever they buy. However the organic industry is not automatically questionable just by virtue of making money, which is what you were implying. If you are going to look for who has industrial clout the conventional food industry dwarfs the organic one, further invalidating your implication.

    Hank
    To my knowledge there is no certification sticker for regular old food.  This article debunks the claim - by organic marketing proponents essentially selling food homeopathy - that free range eggs are going to be nutritionally better for people.  I certainly agree, for example, that dairy lobbyists have an unnatural hold on food choices in our culture - but who is the group promoting truly dangerous raw milk consumption?  Organic people.
    Have you ever been to a chicken farm? Have you ever seen those wretched scared birds as they are packed by the ten-thousand into squares of ten feet by ten feet? Have you ever smelled the refuse discharge from these pens--that which those poor birds are made to wallow within, eat of and die struggling deaths from? Those chickens who survive this squalor, wet with sweat, blinded by any light that might penetrate the barriers between them and the free range have lived, adrenaline coursing their viens and having had to fight for every peck of food, every day of their lives in an environment that is foriegn to any natural born creature...all the while being fed animal parts to sustain their nutritional needs and to fatten them up for the shelves.
    Nutritionally differerent...a protien is a protien, a vitamin A is a vitamin A.
    So a Pinto is a Ferrari?
    Get off of you soapbox and look at the differences from inputs/outputs--you are what you eat? When has a chicken ever eaten a cow? Oh, in the modern age of Tyson, so its okay now.
    Next you will say that farm raised salmon that are given food coloring to make their meat pink like normal crill eating salmon are exactpy the same.

    Gerhard Adam
    Sorry, but you're talking nonsense.  The reality is that eggs need room to be laid, and there has to be room to gather them up.  Your silly notion that they are all crowded together in the manner you describe would result in all the eggs being destroyed.
    Nutritionally differerent...a protien is a protien, a vitamin A is a vitamin A.
    So a Pinto is a Ferrari?
    So are you suggesting that there are varying degrees of Vitamin A quality (or other chemically identical organic molecules)?

    However, I will concede that any "factory" type production of meats is going to be brutal and likely cruel to the animals involved.   The problem is that people are rationalizing simplistic labels like "free-range" or "organic" as if they represent a different kind of "factory".
    http://www.upc-online.org/freerange.html

    The problem is relatively straightforward to address;  raise your own.  This isn't likely to occur though, because when it comes between establishing priorities for the cruelty perpetrated on animals versus buying your kid some chicken McNuggets,  the latter convenience inevitably wins out.

    The simple reality is that when processing animals becomes centralized, then one cannot expect that the processing of millions of animals can ever be conducted in the same way that it can be for only a few.  If anyone bothered to think about it, they'd quickly realize that you can't have a few hundred thousand chickens wandering the countryside, laying eggs wherever they like. 



    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    If anyone bothered to think about it, they'd quickly realize that you can't have a few hundred thousand chickens wandering the countryside, laying eggs wherever they like.  
    Yes you could, every day would be like Easter with daily easter egg hunts and 'why did the chicken cross the road' jokes would proliferate with new daily variations. OK the roads might be littered with chicken road kill, though from my experience of keeping free-range chickens these creatures can be very adaptable and self-sufficient and would soon start roosting in trees at night. People would have to chicken fence their gardens to keep the chickens out or their ornamental flower beds would become a thing of the past and no one would have to go hungry.


    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    True enough, if you don't mind finding eggs in a variety of unusual places (and often, days after they've been laid).
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    I don't mind do you? Though I have to say that cracking open an egg and finding a half-developed chick embryo inside, which has happened to me a few times in the past, can put me off eggs a bit. The problem could be solved by banning or culling and then eating all free-range roosters, which would be easy to do as they are so bloody noisy and aggressive then the unfertilised eggs will stay fresh for weeks, giving us plenty of time to find them.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Hank
    That's the upside to cage chickens - quality control and no hens getting fertilized.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Hank, that's an interesting point you've made. In order to have these billions of caged egg-laying chickens all over the world, there must be billions of caged chicken eggs being fertilised and then incubated somehow, to replace the chickens as they age and become less efficient egg-layers. I wonder if the genetic parents of these cage chickens also live in cages, if so then someone has to go around placing roosters into caged chickens cages and then removing them, unless they use artificial insemination of course, in which case someone has to artificially inseminate billions of chickens. 

    Did you know that from my experience of keeping free-range chickens, the relative size of a chicken egg often correlates with the age of the chicken that laid it? The older the chicken, the bigger the egg, as the size of her womb dictates the size of the egg and this womb size keeps stretching and growing throughout her life. So when you buy extra large eggs you know that they probably came from an older chicken who probably had ever increasing difficulty laying that ever increasingly larger egg. If there is reincarnation, I really hope I don't come back as a caged, beak-clipped, long-lived, fertilized egg-laying chicken.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Sorry to take exception with your semi-tongue-in-cheek discussion: In our family's daily experience with free-range chickens in the upper Midwest I've noted the egg sizes vary not-at-all with chicken age, but rather it's breed.
    Marans, Rhode Island Reds, and others produce large to very large eggs. Bantams, Cochins and Seramas produce rather small eggs. Americuanas produce bluish ("Easter Egg") results on the smaller side.
    The only role I've observed with age is that chickens lay fewer eggs as they age.

    In any reincarnation, you'd be welcome in our fully-integrated, multi-breed coop without any beak-clipping in the company of other good-looking females.

    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Thank you Dale for making me feel welcome to reincarnate as a free range chicken in your coop. I have done a quick Google on chicken egg size increasing with age and found that my observation with my own hens appears to be a generally accepted fact, though obviously different sized breeds also lay different sized eggs to start with. Here is one of many websites that more or less say that :- 
    All hens start egg production laying Pee Wee or Small eggs and gradually increase to a mature egg grade size of Medium, Large or bigger. In modern breeds, most hens are laying Large, Extra Large or Jumbo eggs by 40 weeks of age. While you cannot alter the basic pattern of how egg size changes as hens age, the feeding and management of your hens can have a measurable impact on egg size. The way that you treat your hens will determine how quickly they will start to lay Large, Extra Large or Jumbo eggs.
    From my experience with 10 year old chickens, the eggs just kept getting bigger as did unfortunately, the volume and length of the accompanying squawks as they laid them. I don't suppose that most commercial chookeries would ever have 10 year old hens, so there are no commercial jumbo, jumbo eggs like we had. The only solution was probably to kill the hens but I could never kill or eat any of my chickens, much to my husband's disgust, he was therefore glad to see the back of them and has since refused to let me keep any more as they are so destructive in the garden.

    In the end, a family of dingoes killed the remaining geriatric flock one by one, over several months, despite all of my futile attempts to stop them. They even ate my beautiful, big black male cat Cosmo who wasn't scared of any dogs and who probably gave them a very good fight, unlike the chickens :(
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    In the end, a family of dingoes killed the remaining geriatric flock one by one, over several months, despite all of my futile attempts to stop them.
    Ahh .. the hazards of the "free range".
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Yes true, but at least they did live on average probably more than 7 years longer than the average caged hen and they had a very happy life, scratching around wherever they wanted eating worms and bugs, except for the 10-20 minutes a day when they were laying jumbo eggs of course.
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard Adam
    Not to overlook the bit about cannibalism.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Gerhard Adam
    Oh, I don't mind, but unless you have a place where you can keep them confined (i.e. chicken coop), they tend to get into everything, range everywhere (dropping eggs), and will most likely get eaten by a dog (most probable) or mountain lion.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Hank
    In Sacramento, they may actually allow people to keep chicken coops in their yard.  The 'slow food' hippies have made enough inroads - California progressives are afraid to say no to anyone but Republicans - that it may go through that in your yard you might be allowed to keep a coop with 3 hens.  What's next, clothes lines in the yards again to stop global warming?    California is turning positively conservative and going back to the 1950s.
    Gaelan, an area of ten feet by ten feet is 120 inches by 120 inches = 14400 square inches. I doubt that you can squeeze 10,000 chickens into that area, because each chicken would only have 1.5 square inches of space. By the way, if you would like to see what the conditions are really like, Wikipedia has a photo of hens in an industrial egg farm . The hens don't wallow in filth, and they don't fight for every peck of food. The fact is that the egg industry is competitive, and farmers must keep the hens in optimal conditions related to nutrition, access to water and light dark cycles if they are to be profitable.

    Mr. Campbell or editor-in-charge:

    There isn't anything that emits "unscientific" or "anti-science" than the phrase "the science is settled." To quote Stephen Jay Gould, "In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.' I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms."

    And one must also not forget the principle of under-determination of theory by evidence.

    After all, all this study accomplishes is to provide us with credulous reason to presume there isn't any nutritional difference between the two types of eggs, but there *may* be an experiment in the future that shows that it does. In which case, the science isn't settled, and least not to the same degree as falling apples.

    Just my two cents from a self-proclaimed science cheerleader and philosophy junkie. Otherwise I really enjoy your articles Mr. Campbell.

    Hank
    Hi Lionel, 

    Thanks for the kind words.  If you have read other things I have done, you can imagine I used 'the science is settled' intentionally and for just the reasons you list.  Militant kooks who blast skeptics in other areas of science they happen to agree with and claim the issue is 'settled' are unlikely to think the issue is settled regarding their anti-science beliefs about food.

    Nice work invoking Gould.  He got a bad rap from science in his day - popular people always did, as the Carl Sagan science career arc showed - but I think history will be kinder to him than jealous colleagues were.
    I hate to comment on a study that I haven't even read, but I hate even more to part with the $28.00 required to read it.

    As a bit of background, the term "free-range" is an animal raising claim, established by USDA's FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) and overseen by the AMS (Agricultural Marketing Service) . If you ever wondered who certified your "certified Angus burger", you can look to the AMS. There are animal raising claims (free-range), feeding claims (all-vegetarian diet), health claims (lower in cholesterol) and unapprovable claims (hormone-free). Some claims are verified by affidavit, some by third-party verification services.

    There is no "free-range" standard for beef (free-range beef are the ones over at your neighbors). "Free-range" applies only to poultry and "requires that poultry have access to the outdoors" (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5078261) (I really tried to find a better link, but the AMS website is not particularly well laid-out.) "Free-range" is about location - it may or may not be about feedstuffs. Consequently, it looks to me like the NC State study substantiates the obvious - feedstuffs induce the same results whether they are eaten on the porch or in the dining room (plus or minus a few bugs).

    This egg-related link pertains specifically to aging anti-science hippies, from the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17066208 - In aging hippies "The nutritional value of enriched eggs (similar to the multiple-enriched eggs of this study) has been assessed in animals and in human volunteers in terms of their influence on blood lipids. They improve the blood concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides."

    To find those folks who are the most clueless on the topic of ruminal biohydrogenation, you may want to go check out the Journal of Animal Science. One abstract started out with this - "Supplementing ruminant animal diets with fat has been investigated as a means to influence a variety of physiological processes or to alter fatty acid composition of food products derived from ruminant animals." (http://jas.fass.org/content/86/14_suppl/E188.abstract). There are hundreds of studies conducted at big land-grant universities, using my tax dollars, in misguided efforts trying to "prove" that they can alter the nutritional and sensory qualities of food products - meat, poultry and milk. I want my money back.

    A revolutionary link - "It is evident that the dynamics of cholesterol homeostasis, and of development of CHD, are extremely complex and multifactorial. In summary, the earlier purported adverse relationship between dietary cholesterol and heart disease risk was likely largely over-exaggerated." (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19751443)

    I'd comment more, but I have to get my clothes off the line. This is all too unsettling.

    I have raised chickens for many years. They are free-range, not because I think the eggs are more nutritious but because I am too cheap to buy cages and don't want to take the time to giver them all the attention needed. I find the most unsettling factor of egg production to be the commercial feeds. If you examine the pellets in a sack of commercial egg layer you will see, very clearly, lots of ground up feathers, not to mention antibiotics. I choose to feed a mix of corn and oats. I don't know if it is better for the chickens or if they lay better eggs but it does wonders for my peace of mind (remember mad cow disease?). BTW, I don't call them "organic" or "Free Range" so as not to get the USDA fired up.

    Hank
    We never had free range chickens either, they were just called chickens.  We had a coop where we kept them a lot of the time because we also had dogs.  These dogs were random; just when we thought we broke them of killing chickens one of them would kill a chicken and then we'd go through the whole deal breaking them of it.  It became safer to keep them in a coop when the dogs were not in the kennel.

    It's a good point about modern feed - because I live in a city now and we can't keep chickens (yet) I don't know what is common now, I assume ours just wandered around and ate and we gave them that corn/oats/soy/whatever feed they sold at the Agway.  I assume now that even though chickens are omnivores the commercial farms limit them to just grains because of the reasons you lay out, like disease that can run through an entire farm.
    Free range. My old Granny would have told you right way that 'there ain't no such thing as free range. You either bought the land and pay taxes every year, or you lease the land. Either way it ain't free.'

    Now, Granny didn't know anything about marketing strategy, advertising trigger words, etc., but she did know chickens. My two younger brothers and I had egg duty every day. While Granny was feeding and watering her various broods, we would take out baskets and comb the farmstead. My beat was the hay barn. Wow. Those hens were good at hiding their nests, but we'd find most of them within a couple of days of laying.

    Feed was not purchased especially for the chickens, ducks, guineas, turkeys, or geese. They got some whole corn and all the bugs they could catch. The young roosters made Sunday dinner. Eggs were served every day, and they were great.

    A citified cousin came to visit one summer. She wouldn't eat the eggs because the yolk was orange and stood right up. She said it was unnatural to stand up like that and 'wasn't yellow like it was supposed to be'. We laughed at her but she didn't eat the eggs. She would probably have had a stroke if she had seen one of the double yolk ones.

    Our whole (US) society is being heavily influenced by advertising and marketing. Those pro's can pull the right trigger words out of their bag and bring in the moolah. And, as you know, it matters not if the trigger words are true, real, or complete make believe. If they appeal to the right set of individuals, they will have a successful campaign, science and common sense be damned.

    It may not be the nutritional difference but rather what else is in the food ...

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210092736.htm

    ...
    Greger, who is the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States is concerned with this discovery and the transmissibility of amyloid fibrils. Researchers have recently demonstrated in the laboratory that these compounds, when ingested, can enter the organs of laboratory rats fed affected meat
    ...
    Stressed poultry birds are known to undergo spontaneous amyloidosis due to a chronic inflammatory response that causes amyloid fibrils to form non-functioning deposits of this protein-like material in their organs.

    not to mention that people can't tell organic from "non" in blind food taste tests

    but everything we eat is organic, unless people have started eating rocks.

    Mr. Science, why if there is no difference in organic and other foods, do Monsanto Scientist "worlds largest GMO producer" have nothing but GMO free foods at their facilities cafeterias? Do you think these food scientist know something you don't? Just do a search on "Monsanto No GMO in cafeteria" and the only way I know of to avoid GMO entirely is to have an organic supplier. In addition if GMO's affect the genetics of animals and those are transferred to humans via your big farms search "Assessing the transfer of genetically modified DNA from feed to animal tissues". I think that we need to follow the money trail of the study you are sighting so I did. Growing Georgia The business of Agriculture gave NC the second largest grant of their recent dispersal's. This organization is funded by the USDA, the USDA receives a lot of earmarks from representatives who have been heavily invested in by big agriculture. You know the saying don't bite the hand that feeds you. The universities know where their funds come from and so sighting one study from NC isn't good science and you know it.

    Further; my issue is more the treatment of the animals then the nutrition levels, while there is a lot of over exaggeration on the part of animal activist, one must visit the cage farms and see for themselves before they comment on how this is an acceptable practice. As for the argument by supposed chicken owners that eggs would be laying all over the place and chickens would be dead all over our highways if we all bought free range eggs, please, these arguments are just as ridiculous on the opposite spectrum of the animal rights people who over exaggerate the situation also. It's bad enough with out over exaggerating it. Chickens are communal animals and have a tendency to stay together, they are also nest animals that like privacy when laying eggs, so coops with nest would naturally be preferred. As for your fear of eating a fertilized eggs get over it, your a scientist supposedly, it wont hurt you nor do they taste different. I just ate two for breakfast. As for nutrition my home farmed eggs have yolks about 3 to 4 times darker then factory farm eggs and they are thicker. This tells me less water and more nutrition, but hay that's just on visual and taste.

    Hank
    Mr. Science, why if there is no difference in organic and other foods, do Monsanto Scientist "worlds largest GMO producer" have nothing but GMO free foods at their facilities cafeterias? Do you think these food scientist know something you don't? 
    For the same reason that Union of Concerned Scientists has nothing but GMO foods in their cafeteria; we are both making things up - in your case, because you will believe anything some kook on the Internet writes and in my case, to make fun of you and encourage you to think before you comment.
    Your a good politician Sir, find my weakest statement and discredit my entire post. Beautifully done, but to counter on this slightly off topic issue, as I can not go with out being a politician myself now. Why is Monsanto petitioning against GMO labeling? Why are they stating there is no need for human trials? They state this based on the similarities between their crops and non-GMO crops. This is from their own website.

    "Aspects of the GM crop which are the same as the non-GM counterpart do not require safety assessment. Safety assessment can then be appropriately focused on what is different about the GM crop. All GM crops are analyzed and compared to non-GM counterparts in order to determine whether they have similar concentrations of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, fiber, vitamins and a variety of other components. Two crops which are alike in all respects are said to be “substantially equivalent.”

    If you notice in their statement they are saying and it's great political verbiage, we are both obviously acquainted with. That since their crops contain the same components over all their is no need for testing. I highly recommend reading the entire response as they continually tell you why there is no need for testing and never really address any real issues being brought up about their products. My concern is the two crops round up ready and BT. These seem to be getting the most lash back from other scientist and farmers. I feel that if there is one case that raises questions we need to subsequently do the studies by a third party independent overseen lab "This would be good science".

    There are many reports from farmers feeding their livestock some of these GMO's that end up with fertility problems, sickness and procreation issues including spontaneous abortions and deformities. I don't want Monsanto or others involved with these studies, furthermore and this is my opinion, if there was no issue I believe they would likely do those studies just to shut the public up about it rather then try and skirt the issue and petition for no GMO labeling.

    All I'm saying is the scientific hippies may have some good points about organic verse non-organic foods. GMO's play highly into this especially if they continue to remain unlabeled and untested for the general consumer.

    Hank
    Why is Monsanto petitioning against GMO labeling? Why are they stating there is no need for human trials?
    Should there be human trials for the tomatoes you eat right now?  You do realize 100% of the tomatoes you eat were genetically modified, right? Aside from hiring 1 million new government employees to start 'trials' of all food, during which period no one can eat anything, it accomplishes nothing.

    You would only need a 'trial' if any change were not known to be safe.  If I want to make banana-flavored corn, I can do it without a 'trial', just like a purple rose or anything else.   Banana is not unsafe so no one requires a trial. If you buy a tomato today, it does not say "GENETICALLY MODIFIED" on it - including all of the so-called organic tomatoes that are modified.

    Believe me, I would love if all food were accurately labeled.  As I said, organic food shysters are out of business the minute food is accurately labeled.  You simply choose to not know how many inorganic ingredients are allowed in 'organic' food and how unsafe their process is and don't want to recognize that, since so much of the 'organic' food sold is imported, fully 25% of it is not even remotely organic despite claims.  And that is without even trying.

    So I agree with you on labeling all food if we are going to label any of it.  There is a 100% chance the cottage industry that has sprung up around promoting food hysteria will collapse the minute science gets introduced into thinking.
    There are many reports from farmers 
    In her crackpot book, Rachel Carson also said a woman sprayed her basement with DDT and immediately got cancer and died.  If you want to believe anything at all that matches your world view, you will.  No amount of science studies will change that.
    You make a good point that applies to both of us, neither your world view or mine will change with out some serious hard evidence. I do beg to differ though, should you show me some real human trials on these specific crops round up ready and BT , I would have no problem eating them. I have no problem eating the said tomatoes and other products you are talking about and still have no issue buying standard farm grown produce.

    However, I'm not concerned about all GMO's, I don't buy into the every GMO is bad theory either. I did specify Round Up Ready and BT for a reason. As I said, I'm not worried about every GMO crop ever made, I am however worried that these two seem to be having some possible residual affects. BT is a naturally occurring poison found in small trace amounts naturally, far less then are currently being produced inside the BT crops. There is a difference on something being on the outside of a crop then produced high levels with in it.

    I understand that almost every tomato variety has been crossed with frog genes to make more cold resistant. I understand that there are a lot of modifications that take place in food that are known to be safe. These have been around for a long time. But when we start making plants resistant to chemicals that kill other plants by adding chemicals or compounds or what ever into their structure or produce chemicals in a far greater amounts then naturally occurs outside the plant, and then see any possible signs of trouble we should then do a study.

    I try not to hold on to the Dogma of science any more then the Dogma of religion. Both are the same and put blinders on their followers.

    Hank
    You make a good point that applies to both of us, neither your world view or mine will change with out some serious hard evidence. 
    The key difference is you want science to disprove a negative. 'Prove that no harm can come from GM food' - which is impossible, like I cannot prove you are not an alien from Mars.  I also cannot prove no harm can come from a car or aspirin.  No medicine can exist, no technology can exist, when you frame it the way you frame it.

    GM has been around since 1972 and not a single stomachache has occurred.  Do you have the list of people poisoned and who have died from eating organic food?  Tens of thousands.
    Good to know. I've always been a skeptic of "organic" foods, in general, but in this case I'm more interested in the ratio of n-3 to n-6 fatty acids. While the abstract states no appreciable difference between range and shell eggs, I'm curious about the 3-to-6 ratio. Where you able to find this information in the body of the paper?

    Are there papers with this central thesis for grass-fed vs. conventional meat?

    Also, I'm curious as to why these nutrients were the only ones reported. Surely there are more nutrients in eggs than the ones they measured. "Nutrients" is pretty broad. Reporting on a few may make this study a bit incomplete, don't you think?

    Hank
    Not at all. Cholesterol, n-3 fatty acids, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, β-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E is pretty comprehensive.  Protein was already established as inconsequential between them but if someone claims there is a meaningful choline or calcium difference, they would get laughed at.