Consumer Reports GreenerChoices Consumer Reports GreenerChoices
GreenerChoices.org -- Join our FREE e-mail newsletter
HOME FOOD SAFETY & SUSTAINABILITY ECO-LABELS BUYING GUIDES BABIES & KIDS SUPPORT US

Greener Choices Home > Eco-labels center > A deep dive into chicken labels

A deep dive into chicken labels

As consumers become increasingly concerned with how food is produced and how farm animals are raised and treated, farmers and companies are responding with various labels and claims. Labels or claims generally aim to assure consumers that the food was produced in a better way - whether it be more humane, sustainable or healthy - but they can vary widely in how meaningful they are and in what is actually required.

The chart below is designed to help you better understand the different labels and claims you'll find on chicken. We looked at 23 different labels you might find on a package of chicken, and what they actually require for 17 different areas that affect either animal welfare (e.g., whether the chickens can go outdoors), public health (e.g., prudent antibiotic use) and sustainability (e.g., whether the chicken feed contains genetically engineered crops).

Click on the heading of each label column to see details on what the colors mean for that particular criteria

CHICKEN LABELS REPORT
Label Prudent antibiotic use Prohibits growth hormones Prohibits animal byproducts in the diet GMOs in feed Prohibits synthetic pesticides/ fertilizers in feed production Prohibits synthetic amino acids Limit on rapid weight gain Outdoor access Indoor enrichment Indoor space Air quality Artificial light and darkness Catching and crating Transport time limit Natural v. dim light Slaughter treatment Slaughter line speed
Conventional
Rating 1 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
American Humane Association Certified
Rating 2 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 2 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 2 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 3 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 3 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 3 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 2 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 2 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 3 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 2 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Animal Welfare Approved
Rating 4 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 2 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 3 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 4 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 4 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 4 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 3 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 4 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 4 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 4 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 2 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Certified Humane
Rating 2 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 2 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 2 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 3 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 3 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 3 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 3 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 3 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 3 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 2 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Certified Naturally Grown
Rating 3 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 3 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 4 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Demeter Biodynamic
Rating 4 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 4 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
Yes
Yes
Rating 4 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 4 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 4 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 4 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 2 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 2 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 4 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 2 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 2 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Food Alliance
Rating 2 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 2 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 2 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 2 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 2 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 3 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 3 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Free Range
Rating 1 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 2 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
GAP Step 1
Rating 2 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 2 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 2 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 3 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 2 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 3 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 3 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
GAP Step 2
Rating 2 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 2 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 3 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 2 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 3 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 2 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 3 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 3 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
GAP Step 3
Rating 2 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 2 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 2 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 2 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 3 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 4 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 2 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 3 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 4 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
GAP Step 4
Rating 2 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 2 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 3 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 2 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 3 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 4 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 2 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 4 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 4 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
GAP Step 5
Rating 2 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 2 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 4 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 4 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 4 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 3 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 4 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 4 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
GAP Step 5+
Rating 2 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 2 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 4 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 4 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 4 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 4 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 4 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 4 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 4 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Natural or All Natural
Rating 1 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
No antibiotics administered
Rating 4 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
USDA Organic
Rating 3 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 3 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 2 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Vegetarian Fed or No Animal By-Products
Rating 1 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Humanely Raised
Rating 1 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
No growth hormones
Rating 1 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Kosher
Rating 1 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 2 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 4 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
USDA Process Verified - Never Ever 3
Rating 4 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
Yes
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
USDA Process Verified - Humanely Raised (National Chicken Council Welfare Standards)
Rating 1 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Non-GMO Project Verified
Rating 1 out of 4 for Prudent antibiotic use
Yes
No
Rating 4 out of 4 for GMOs in feed
No
No
Rating 1 out of 4 for Limit on rapid weight gain
Rating 1 out of 4 for Outdoor access
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor enrichment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Indoor space
Rating 1 out of 4 for Air quality
Rating 1 out of 4 for Artificial light and darkness
Rating 1 out of 4 for Catching and crating
Rating 1 out of 4 for Transport time limit
Rating 1 out of 4 for Natural v. dim light
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter treatment
Rating 1 out of 4 for Slaughter line speed
Label Prudent antibiotic use Prohibits growth hormones Prohibits animal byproducts in the diet GMOs in feed Prohibits synthetic pesticides/ fertilizers in feed production Prohibits synthetic amino acids Limit on rapid weight gain Outdoor access Indoor enrichment Indoor space Air quality Artificial light and darkness Catching and crating Transport time limit Natural v. dim light Slaughter treatment Slaughter line speed


About GreenerChoices.org   |   Newsroom   |   Your privacy rights   |   Security   |   Contact us
Copyright © 2007-2014 by Consumers Union of United States., Inc., 101 Truman Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10703, a nonprofit organization. No downloading, transmission, photocopying, or commercial use permitted. Visit www.GreenerChoices.org.