Animal Raising Label Claims

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September 30, 2020 - Author: , & ,

These labeling terms are used on products to describe the environment in which animals were raised during their lifespan. Animal raising claims describe the care the animals receive and how the producer maintains the land and environment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for overseeing that meat, poultry and egg product (not shell eggs) label claims are truthful and not misleading. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates shell eggs and their labels.

Free Range & Free Roaming

Poultry have continuous, free access to an outdoor area during production and throughout their laying cycle. These claims are regulated by the USDA for poultry but not for beef, pork or lamb production.

Cage Free or Crate Free

Animal products labeled Cage Free or Crate Free have been able to freely move around without restriction in a building, enclosure or on pasture and have unrestricted access to food and fresh water throughout their production cycle.

Third Party Certification

Animal welfare and environmental stewardship claims can also be certified by third party organizations if the organization publicly posts the standards they use to define the claim. Two examples of third party certified claims include “Humanely Raised” and “Sustainably Farmed”.

Pasture Raised

Naturally Raised refers to live production practices and cannot be used on meat and poultry labels as it could easily be confused with Natural. Naturally raised typically indicates that production practices such as antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones were not administered to the animal.

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Tags: agriculture, animal agriculture, breakfast on the farm, consumer info, food label, food label claims, labeling and regulation, organic agriculture


Authors

Mary Dunckel

Mary Dunckel
dunckelm@msu.edu

Jeannine Schweihofer

Jeannine Schweihofer
grobbelj@msu.edu

Ashley Kuschel

Ashley Kuschel
kuschela@msu.edu


For more information visit:

MSU Extension

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