Verified Food Labels
The following verified food labels are the only claims that require compliance with a defined set of standards and are verified by a third-party audit.
CERTIFIED HUMANE (Dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, lamb, goat, pork)
This certification refers to producers providing minimum space allowances and indoor environmental enrichment for the meat birds, egg-laying hens and pigs. Cattle can be raised on feedlots or factory farms. Pigs tails can be docked. Hens and turkeys can have their beaks de-beaked. Access to the outdoors is not required for meat birds, pigs and hens. Specific standards do refer to breeding the animals, transporting the animals and slaughtering the animals. The non-profit Humane Farm Animal Care is a third-party welfare certification program that oversees the application.
AMERICAN HUMANE CERTIFIED (Dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, lamb, goat, pork)
The American Humane Association administers this third-party welfare certification program that provides the lowest or least amount of space allowances of all the humane certification programs, and does permit the use of battery cages for housing egg-laying hens. Also allowed are tail docking for pigs and de-beaking hens without any pain medication. Access to the outdoors is not required. Specific standards do refer to breeding the animals, transporting the animals and slaughtering the animals.
CERTIFIED ORGANIC (Dairy, eggs, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, lamb, goat, pork)
The National Organic Program sets the standards and regulations for this certification. The standards do not address most animal care issues like weaning, minimum space requirements, handling, physical alterations, transport or slaughter. They only standards with this certification refer to providing access to the outdoors for all animals, access to pasture and grass for ruminants (cattle, goats and sheep), fresh air and sunlight, and the ability for the animal to move. The USDA agrees that there is an inconsistency problem amongst the certifiers, and compliance of standards is verified by a USDA accredited organic certifying agency.
ANIMAL GRASSFED CERTIFIED (Dairy, beef, lamb and goat)
This certification requires continuous access to pasture and a diet of 100% grass and forage. The animal cannot be finished on a feedlot. Confinement, hormones and antibiotics are prohibited. Verification of standards is done by a third-party certification program administered by the American Grassfed Association. There are no standards for the animals for breeding, transport or slaughter.
ANIMAL WELFARE APPROVED (Dairy, Eggs, Chicken, Goose, Duck, Turkey, Beef, Bison, Lamb, Goat, Pork, Rabbit)
This program is administered by the non-profit Animal Welfare Institute, a USDA-approved third-party label, and supports family farmers to raise their animals with the highest welfare standards possible, outdoors in a pasture or range. The standards do not allow or permit tail docking of pigs and cattle, beak cutting of poultry, and pain relief is required for removing horns from cattle. There are also set standards for breeding, transport and slaughter.
FOOD ALLIANCE CERTIFIED (Dairy, eggs, chicken, beef, lamb, pork)
This certification supports “safe and fair working conditions, humane treatment of animals, and good environmental stewardship.” Access to the outdoors and pain relief is not required. Certification is based on an “average” score and not all standards must be met. The program is administered by a non-profit sustainable agriculture organization.
GLOBAL ANIMAL PARTNERSHIP (Chicken, turkey, beef and pork)
This is not a humane certification program, but an animal welfare rating program. It is a six-tier scale that maintains higher animal welfare standards toward the top end of the scales, and includes standards for access to outdoors and pasture, treatment of animals, transport, but not for breeding nor slaughter.