Free range eggs not all they're cracked up to be

How free are the hens that lay free-range eggs? Have big producers redefined free range to suit themselves?
 
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  • Updated:20 Jun 2008
 

06.Egg freshness results table

We tested more than 650 eggs across all production systems, using an internationally recognised measure of egg freshness and quality, to see which ones were the freshest.

Full results for all brands are shown in the table below.

 

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Choice's egg freshness test

Brand (in rank order of freshness) Fail rate (%) Haugh units range Number of boxes tested City where bought Price per dozen ($)
Free-range
Essential Foods 0 71-92 1 M 5:37
Family Homestead (A) 0 70–89 1
M
7.45
Field Fresh 0 62–90 1
S
5.27
Nature’s Best 0 66–85 1
S
5.52
Golden Eggs 20 58–76 2
P
6.2
Pace Farm Organic 20 47–78 1
B
8.73
Woolworths Select 32 30–88 5
B, M, P, S
4.69
Sunny Queen Farms Organic 35 48–76 4
B, M, S
8.33
Farm Pride 40 45–80 2
B, S
5.61
Manning Valley 40 46–69 1
S
5.55
Pace Farm Body Egg 40 40–94 3
B, S
5.7
Sunny Queen Farms 40 34–83 4
B, P
6.23
You’ll Love Coles 50 38–84 2
B, S
5.29
Ecoeggs 53 38–73 3
B, S
6.35
Pace Farm 58 45-78 4
B, S
6.09
Jumbo Eggs 60 51-74 1
S
5.25
Margaret River 60 47-70 1
P
7.29
Barn-laid
Golden Eggs (B) 0 62-79 2
P
6.99
Sunny Queen Farms (B) 0 70-85 1
B
6.34
Veggs for Families 10 54-79 2
M, S
5.65
Woolworths Select 40 44-82 4
B, P, S
5.35
Pace Farm (B) 47 42-76 3
M, S
3.94
You’ll Love Coles (B) 47 12-84 3
B, M, S
5.42
Farm Pride 100 34-47 3
B, M, S
4.74
Cage
Boost Vegetarian 0 74-93 1
B
4.25
Golden Eggs 5 59-92 4
P
4.69
Sunny Queen Farms 14 41-84 9
B, M, P
4.39
Homebrand 20 36-96 4
B, M, P, S
2.82
Woolworths Select 25 49-81 4
B, M, P, S
4.55
Coles Smart Buy 32 46-87 5
B, M, P, S
2.74
Wattle Ridge 40 46-94 6
B, M, S
4.93
You’ll Love Coles 45 34-80 4
B, M, P, S
2.95
Farm Pride 50 51-88 2
M
3.89
Pace Farm 60 17-79 5 B,M,S, 4.60
 

Table notes

(A) Certified by FREPAA.
(B) Certified by the RSPCA.
Fail rate The percentage of all tested eggs of that brand and production method with Haugh unit values below 60.
Haugh units range The overall range of Haugh values for all the tested eggs of that brand and production method.
City B is Brisbane, M Melbourne, P Perth and S Sydney.
Price per dozen Prices varied with store and location. This is the average of the prices we paid.