How to pick the best eggs at market

While the color of an egg’s shell may not say much about its quality, that doesn’t mean all the eggs in your supermarket are created equal.

“It’s all about the kind of environment the chickens are raised in,”

Everything from what the chickens eat to whether they live in indoor cages or out on a pasture matters. (Research suggests that chickens who get plenty of sunshine produce eggs that contain higher levels of vitamin D.)

To pick out the healthiest carton, look for terms like:

USDA Organic: This means that your eggs came from chickens raised without exposure to pesticides, commercial fertilizers, GMO feed, or antibiotics (unless they’re sick).
Omega-3 Enriched: According to Taub-Dix, these eggs come from chickens fed algae or fish oil to boost the amount of omega-3s in their eggs.
Certified Humane: This non-profit certification promises that “food products have come from facilities that meet precise, objective standards for farm animal treatment.”

Sad but true: A lot of the other buzzy terms you see on egg cartons aren’t regulated by the government, says Taub-Dix, which means that although they may sound great, they don’t necessarily mean much. A few to be wary of:

  • Natural
  • Cage-free
  • Free-range
  • Ultimately, the only way to know where your eggs come from (and their resulting quality) is to scrutinize that carton—not the color of what’s inside.