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A deep dive into chicken labels: Criteria

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   -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

Slaughter line speed

Federal regulations limit the speed of the slaughter line to 140 birds per minute (more than 2 birds per second), although that could be raised to 175 birds per minute if proposed regulations take effect. When the slaughter line moves at 140 birds per minute, it can cause health problems such as carpel tunnel syndrome in slaughterhouse workers, and is too fast for inspectors to properly inspect each bird.

A limit on the slaughter line speed could help ensure that workers have adequate time to properly handle the birds and ensure they are properly stunned and slaughtered, and for inspectors to properly inspect each bird for proper slaughter and fecal matter contamination.

Slaughter line speed: Criteria key

industry baseline

standards encourage a slower ("appropriate") slaughter line speed but there are no requirements.

a limit on the speed of the slaughter line

slower slaughter line speed is guaranteed because automated slaughter is prohibited

Slaughter line speed: How labels stack up against criteria

CHICKEN LABELS REPORT - Criteria: Slaughter line speed
Label Slaughter line speed How label stacks up against criteria

American Humane Association Certified

no limit on slaughter line speed; an Animal Welfare Officer must occasionally check birds leaving the stunner to ensure they are adequately stunned
Animal Welfare Approved

the use of slaughter lines with shackles is prohibited, except when such slaughterhouses are not available.
Certified Humane

the program requires "an appropriate slaughter line speed" but there is no specific standard
Certified Naturally Grown

Demeter Biodynamic

animals must be "handled in a way that reduces fear and stress" but there is no specific limit on slaughter line speed
Food Alliance

there are no slaughter standards
Free Range

GAP Step 1

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 2

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 3

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 4

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 5

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 5+

There are no slaughter standards
Natural or All Natural

No antibiotics administered

USDA Organic

Vegetarian Fed or No Animal By-Products

Humanely Raised

No growth hormones


Kosher chicken was slaughtered by a trained kosher slaughterer/rabbi. Automated slaughtering is prohibited.
USDA Process Verified - Never Ever 3

USDA Process Verified - Humanely Raised (National Chicken Council Welfare Standards)

Non-GMO Project Verified

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