There are so many things to think about when buying eggs, including the different grades, different colors, different ways the chicken is raised and the date on the carton. Here are a few answers to your questions.
• Grades – USDA Grade A eggs are the most common eggs sold in stores. Grade A eggs have characteristics of Grade AA eggs except that the whites are “reasonably” firm. Grade B eggs have thinner whites, flatter yolks and may have stains on the shells. They are typically used for liquid, frozen and dried products.
• Colors – the shell of the egg may be white or brown. It’s the breed of the chicken that determines the color. Brown hens typically lay brown eggs, and since these chickens are usually larger and require more food, brown eggs are sometimes more expensive. However, brown eggs are not any more nutritious than white eggs; their nutrition content is very similar.
• Cage-free – these eggs are produced by hens raised on cage-free farms; they can roam around but are housed indoors.
• Free range – there is no federal definition of free range but USDA usually permits the term to be used if hens have some access to the outdoors.
• Organic – organic eggs are from uncaged hens that have been raised according to the USDA’s National Organic Program guidelines. They must be free range and fed an organic diet consisting of feed that wasn’t treated with conventional pesticides or fertilizers.