Organic Egg Scorecard

Chino Valley hen houses, identified by the Cornucopia Institute as “ethically deficient.”

The Cornucopia Institute has released an “Organic Egg Scorecard” to assist in the ethical minefield that is shopping for a dozen eggs. The scorecard identifies 29 “exemplary” and, not surprisingly given recent news, a whole bunch of “ethically deficient” organic egg producers. The study used a 0 to 2200 point scoring system, rating farmers on hen’s access to outdoor spaces, pasture and the quality of housing among other factors.

And, a memo to Trader Joe’s–take a look at that scorecard–you guys get a big “0.”

Via the Official Poultry Bookstore Blog.

Leave a comment


  1. Interesting and thanks for the link. If I were a producer being judged by the scorecard’s criteria, my score would be 2020. I’d lose points for lack of organic certification, for not having any other animals in my rotational grazing system, not producing all my own feed, not raising my own replacement hens, and letting the hens die of old age. I’m pretty impressed with any producer that scores higher than I would. Too bad I don’t recognize any of those brands.

  2. Interesting. Well, I don’t meet all their criteria and don’t really care for some of them. My eggs are good, I know, I eat them every day, that is all I need to know. If I have to I buy eggs from the store too, don’t really care which brand, I buy whatever looks good that day but I seldom have to buy eggs.

  3. First, let me say: I buy as much as I can at the farmers market. My family raises chickens. I take food ethics very seriously. On the other hand, I work at Trader Joe’s — in the dairy section, in fact — and get pretty tired of the one-dimensional way people approach their food choices.

    First, Trader Joe’s is on the list for a lack of transparency, not because their eggs are a documented disaster. We just don’t know where their stuff is coming from — which you should note is also true of Whole Foods, Wild Harvest, Costco, and others. Boycotting one industrial grocer’s eggs in favor of another faceless source is, well, pretty pointless. So don’t hate on Trader Joe’s unless you’re willing to buy your eggs at a farmers market or small grocer. Whole Foods and other hippie-dippy stores can be just as bad.

    Another point: Trader Joe’s 6-packs of organic eggs (in the Northeast, at least) are Pete & Gerry’s — a producer that earned 3 “eggs” on the scale. It’s not too hard to find out which companies are behind the store brand at Trader Joe’s — just ask in the office. Sometimes you can be surprised. (The organic yogurt, for instance, is Stonyfield, just cheaper.)

    Track down all the facts before making your decision — and opt for the choice that gives you the most information.

  4. This is so frustrating. I hope to be producing a good majority of my own food – someday. In the meantime I have to buy it. It’s disheartning to find out that I can’t trust the Organic just like I can’t trust the other products. Is there one place you can go to find out HONEST products? I buy much from my farmers markets but do go to Trader Joes and the local Co-op for the rest. Can I trust anybody?

  5. Thanks for the link. Kind of depressing though because I don’t think there is anywhere in my region to buy any of the eggs for the 5 or 4 egg companies. Hopefully my chickens will produce many eggs in the spring for our family and I won’t have to worry much about it.

  6. @anon. Trader Joe’s employee:

    Just wanted to note that we don’t believe Whole Foods or CostCo organics or any of the rest of them are any better than Joe’s. Erik was just pointing at Joe’s because we shop there–not at the other places–and we’re disappointed that they chose not to be transparent.

    So yes, to answer your challenge, we’re committed to 1) raising our own eggs and 2) when we’re short, shopping at farmers markets or better, getting eggs from neighbors. We haven’t bought eggs at TJs or any other store for years, precisely because we feel so strongly about the issue. Wish we could buy eggs more conveniently, frankly, but the stores aren’t offering us the quality of product we demand.

    But we’ll take your suggestion and ask at the desk at our Silver Lake TJ’s and see if they’ll tell us the name of their egg supplier.

  7. Thanks for sharing this. I was glad to find that the Cornucopia Institute also reviews organic milk.

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