Free-range eggs may not be as healthy as consumers think, with new research showing alarmingly high levels of dioxins in free-range eggs compared to cage laid eggs. The Taiwanese study, published in theJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that free-range eggs in Taiwan contain at least five times higher levels of certain pollutants than regular eggs.
Study author Pao-Chi Liao classified free-range chickens as those that have continuous access to fresh air, sunshine and exercise. But Liao and his colleagues suspect that free-range chickens may risk getting higher levels of exposure to environmental pollutants, particularly PCDDs and PCDFs, potentially toxic substances that are produced as by-products of burning waste. Also known as dioxins, these substances are linked to a wide range of health problems in humans.