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cage free Archives - Greener Choices

Posts Tagged ‘cage free’

America’s Most Wanted Food Labels Conference

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Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center has prepared a guide to third-party certification labels commonly found on meat and poultry products. Labels have several advantages: publicly available standards, independent verification, and meaningful requirements for animal welfare that go beyond industry norms (e.g. prohibiting gestation crates, increasing living space requirements). In this way, meaningful, certified labels provide the highest level of assurance for consumers.

The Center’s guide highlights the policies of third-party labels regarding routine uses of all antibiotics, including those important in human medicine as well as animal antibiotics like ionophores, and other drugs like beta-agonists and hormones. We also review their animal welfare and farm management standards. You can use this detailed guide to make more informed decisions about the health, safety and sustainability of the meat and poultry you buy, and help move the marketplace in a better direction.

Food Labels

Americas Most Wanted

What consumers can do to take action against misleading labels. A comprehensive list of the facts about labels and the need to differentiate between the facts and the lies.



The Organic Label on Food is highly meaningful and in manyways meets consumer expectations.It is backed by federal regulations which encourage sustainable farming practices...

What makes a good Label?

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Did you know?

Did you know?

Nearly half of consumers think the "natural" label is verified.

It isn't.


Makes a Good Label?

Generally, the best labels are seals or logos indicating that an independent organization has verified that the producer met a set of meaningful and consistent standards for environmental stewardship, animal welfare and/or social justice.

Rating labels

Criteria We Use to Evaluate Labels

When we evaluate and rate labels, we use the following criteria:


Labels should be backed by a set of meaningful standards. The standards should have requirements that go beyond the industry norm or basic legal requirements. These standards should be verifiable by the certifying group or another independent inspection organization.

A label used on one product should have the same meaning if it used on other products. Standards should be verifiable in a consistent manner for different products.

The organization behind a label should make information about its organizational structure, funding, board of directors, and certification standards available to the public.

Certifying organizations and their employees should not have any ties to, and should not receive any funding, sales fees, or contributions, from logo users except fees for certification. Employees of companies whose products are certified, or who are applying for certification, should not be affiliated in any way with the certifier.

All standards should be developed with input from multiple stakeholders including consumers, industry, environmentalists and social representatives in a way that doesn't compromise the independence of the certifier. Industry representatives, for example, can play an important advisory role without having direct financial, decision making or management ties to the certifier.

Celebrating World Egg Day

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Celebrating World Egg Day

October 9th was the 20th annual World Egg Day. Rather than celebrate by sharing facts about eggs, we prepared some facts about hens that lay eggs. We also prepared a guide to various labels and what they tell you about how the hens were raised.
There are roughly 273 million hens in the U.S. producing eggs for people to eat. More than three-quarters live on farms with 100,000 or more birds. According to the American Egg Board, there are also approximately 62 egg-producing companies with more than 1 million laying hens and 17 companies with more than 5 million hens.

The vast majority of egg-laying chickens (93.6%) spend their entire lives in a cage shared with others. Each bird is generally given 67 to 86 square inches of space – as little as the size of a sheet of paper. Throughout her entire life, she can stand upright, but taking steps or flapping her wings is impossible. Cage-free laying hens make up 6.4% of the laying hen population. A henhouse without cages is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t mean the chickens had ample room to roam and engage in natural scratching and pecking behaviors inside the henhouse.

LABEL 3rd-party verified? No cages Meaningful outdoor access No routine antibiotic use No beak trimming
Farm Fresh
United Egg Producers Certified
Grade AA, Grade A or Grade B
No added hormones
No antibiotics
American Humane Certified *
Certified Humane
USDA Organic
American Humane + Free-Range *
Certified Humane + Free Range
Pastured or Pasture-raised
American Humane + Pastured *
Certified Humane + Pastured
Animal Welfare Approved
Demeter Biodynamic
The label does not mean this Likely means this but not verified The label means this and is verified

Federal Law

Hens can be raised in cage-free houses with tens of thousands of other birds, and in a henhouse with perches, the egg industry recommends giving each hen 1 square foot of floor space for a white hen or 1.2 square feet of floor space for a brown hen. That’s roughly the size of two sheets of paper for each bird. When they’re raised in crowded henhouses with thousands of other birds, hens are susceptible to disease and parasites, and disease can spread quickly. Rather than build a healthy system by improving hygiene and animal welfare, egg producers can prevent disease by adding antibiotics to the chickens’ feed. Chickens can also be given antibiotics on a routine basis to promote growth and increase egg production.

Federal Law

Another unintended consequence of crowded indoor confinement is feather pecking. In tightly-packed henhouses and without the opportunity to engage in natural pecking behaviors, chickens are likely to peck at each other. Feather pecking can lead to serious injury, even cannibalism. Rather than address the root cause of this aggressive behavior and give chickens more room and the opportunity to peck for insects and seeds outdoors, egg producers will routinely trim each hen’s sharp beak to minimize the damage. Ideally, chicken producers give birds access to a spacious and vegetated outdoor run or pasture. This gives the animals access to fresh air, sunlight, and the opportunity to engage in natural behaviors such as dustbathing and foraging (scratching-and-pecking).

Consumers Union Ban

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Call for Complete Ban

Know your Labels

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Consumer Reports

Food Safety and Sustainability

Know Your Labels

Don't fall for menu labeling traps. Make sure you know what the terms mean

The organic claim on wine can be tricky! 100% Organic, Organic, and made with Organic Grapes all have different official meanings.

Foodborne Illness

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Consumer Reports

Food Safety and Sustainability

July 2014

Statement from Dr. Urvashi Rangan, on Foster Farms Recall

We do not believe the current action taken to recall Foster Farms’ contaminated chicken goes far enough to protect the public’s health. We are calling on the government and the company to do more by widening the dates of the recall to the beginning of...

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November 2015

Our Shrimp Report

The Secretary of Agriculture responded to our request to start the process of prohibiting antibiotics in organic chicken hatcheries. Currently, chickens that will be raised and sold as “organic” can be given antibiotics until the second day of life.