Welcome!

News Feed Item

"Free Range" and "Pasture Raised" Officially Defined By HFAC For Certified Humane® Label

HERNDON, Va., Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) announces new standards for products that are labeled Certified Humane® and either "Free Range" or "Pasture Raised."  There is currently no legal definition for "Free Range" or "Pasture Raised" in the United States, therefore these terms are often used on poultry packaging with no unilateral definitions for the consumer to trust.  HFAC's 28-member Scientific Committee has spent nearly two years reviewing all of the current research, which has resulted in new standards for the Certified Humane® label. 

Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) has revised their laying hen standards, which now divide the "Free Range" section of the standards into "Pasture Raised" and "Free Range."  The "Free Range" section was originally written for what is now defined as a "Pasture Raised" system; the revised standards add a third category for birds which are outdoors seasonally.  This change in standards means that Certified Humane® producers wishing to use the terms "Pasture Raised" or "Free Range" on packages must now meet the requirements of the newly defined categories.

Dr. Ruth Newberry, Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, chaired the Poultry Committee within HFAC's Scientific Committee. The Scientific Committee, and the producers had input and the Standards Committee did the final review.  That process included review of animal research and visits to farms to review various outdoor systems. 

The USDA's (and industry standard) definition for "Free Range" is that birds must have "outdoor access" or "access to the outdoors."  In some cases, this can mean access only through a "pop hole," with no full-body access to the outdoors and no minimum space requirement.

HFAC's Certified Humane® "Free Range" requirement is 2 sq. ft. per bird.  The hens must be outdoors, weather permitting (in some areas of the country, seasonal), and when they are outdoors they must be outdoors for at least 6 hours per day.  All other standards must be met.

HFAC's Certified Humane® "Pasture Raised" requirement is 1000 birds per 2.5 acres (108 sq. ft. per bird) and the fields must be rotated.  The hens must be outdoors year-round, with mobile or fixed housing where the hens can go inside at night to protect themselves from predators, or for up to two weeks out of the year, due only to very inclement weather. All additional standards must be met.   

Pasture Raised and Free Range producers must meet all the standards in addition to those specific to the Pasture Raised and Free Range housing systems.

"Any product labeling terms that are important to consumers need to be clearly defined. The Certified Humane® labeling program is in place to assure a trusted product for consumers who care about how animals are raised and slaughtered for food." said Adele Douglass, HFAC's Executive Director.  "While it takes time for the entire industry to adapt best practices, we at HFAC have the opportunity to break ground, and we do so every year as we revise and raise our standards." 

Without any legal definitions for the terms, HFAC's previous "Free Range" standards were written for what is now defined as "Pasture Raised" standards and had a requirement of 2.5 acres per 1000 birds (108 sq. ft per bird), which is the standard space requirement based on the British Free Range Standard and was a recommendation of the "Soil Association," an organization founded in 1946, which focuses on sustainable farming and preventing soil degradation.  As consumer demand has increased for Certified Humane® products, HFAC realized a need to separate the terms to define farms that had "outdoor access" and create a standard for "Free Range" versus those that were actually "Pasture Raised."

Currently, there are already three "Pasture Raised" egg companies on the program: Vital Farms (Austin, TX), White Oak Pastures (Bluffton, GA) and Ayrshire Farm (Upperville, VA).  The only 100% "Free Range" company to be on the program, so far, is Happy Egg Company (San Francisco, CA). 

In addition to the revised best science-based standards that encompass both "Free Range" and "Pasture Raised" hens, HFAC's current Animal Care Standards for Laying Hens include standards for the rearing of laying hens in barns either with or without outdoor access.  Cages of any type (including furnished cages) have always been prohibited.   The minimum space requirements for barn-raised chickens include clean air (less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of ammonia), 15% of the floor space must have litter for the hens to dust-bathe, perches must be provided at 6" per bird and at least 20% of those perches must be elevated.  There are requirements for feeder space and drinker space, as well.  All animal byproducts are prohibited, as are antibiotics.

INDUSTRY DEFINITIONS & FINDINGS:
HR 3798 Legislation, written and supported by both the United Egg Producers (UEP) and the Humane Society of the US (HSUS), and introduced in the last Congress, defines "Free Range" as: 

(1) 'Eggs from free-range hens' to indicate that the egg-laying hens from which the eggs or egg products were derived were, during egg production - - (A) not housed in caging devices; and (B) provided with outdoor access. 

Consumer Reports - Greener Choices evaluation of the claim "Free Range" states: 

WHAT THIS GENERAL CLAIM MEANS: The USDA has defined "free range" or "free roaming" for poultry products but not for eggs.  For other products carrying the "free range" label, there is no standard definition for this term. 

CONSUMER UNION EVALUATION:  Free range (or free roaming) is a general claim that implies that a meat or poultry product, including eggs, comes from an animal that was raised in the open air or was free to roam.  Its use on beef is unregulated and there is no standard definition of this term.  "Free Range" is regulated by the USDA for use on poultry, only, (not eggs) and the USDA requires that birds have been given access to the outdoors but for an undetermined period each day.  USDA considers five minutes of open-air access each day to be adequate for it to approve use of the "Free Range" claim on a poultry product.  "Free range" claims on eggs are not regulated at all.  To learn more about what is meant by this term, consumers must contact the manufacturer. 

"FREE RANGE" LABEL REPORT CARD:

 

LABEL REPORT CARD

How meaningful is the label?

Is the label verified?

Is the meaning of the label consistent?

Are the label standards publicly available?

Is information about the organization publicly available?

Is the organization free from conflict of interest?

Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?

No

No

No

No1

No2

No3

No

 

1. There are no standards for the free range label.
2. There are no standards for the free range label.
3. The producer or manufacturer decides whether to use the claim and is not free from its own self-interest.

PHOTOS AVAILABLE:

Pasture Raised - 108 sq. ft / bird, outdoors year-round.

 

Free Range - Min of 2 sq. ft/ hens, outdoors (weather permitting).

 

Cage free / barn-raised - 1.5 sq. ft / bird.

 

Barn-raised birds in front of nest boxes.

Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals by certifying their humane treatment. Supported by more than 65 humane organizations, the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program is nationally recognized as the Gold Standard for certifying animal welfare from birth through slaughter. Since the program was founded in February 2003, more than 111 companies, representing thousands of farms and millions of farm animals, have been certified.

HFAC's Animal Care Standards were developed by a veritable "Who's Who" of national and international animal scientists and farm-animal welfare experts. Producer compliance with the HFAC standards is verified through annual on-site visits by HFAC's third-party inspectors. To read the newly revised Laying Hen Standards, visit http://bit.ly/Kw9TSd. To locate Certified Humane® products, visit HFAC's "Where to Buy" page at http://bit.ly/18EyU3E.

Video with caption: "B-ROLL: "FREE RANGE" and "PASTURE RAISED" OFFICIALLY DEFINED BY HFAC FOR CERTIFIED HUMANE LABEL." Video available at: http://origin-qps.onstreammedia.com/origin/multivu_archive/PRNA/ENR/FX-MM47755-20140116-01.mp4

Image with caption: "Pasture Raised - 108 sq. ft / bird, outdoors year-round." Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140116/MM47755-a

Image with caption: "Free Range - Min of 2 sq. ft/ hens, outdoors (weather permitting)." Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140116/MM47755-b

Image with caption: "Cage free / barn-raised - 1.5 sq. ft / bird." Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140116/MM47755-c

Image with caption: "Barn-raised birds in front of nest boxes." Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140116/MM47755-d

SOURCE Humane Farm Animal Care

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
As ridesharing competitors and enhanced services increase, notable changes are occurring in the transportation model. Despite the cost-effective means and flexibility of ridesharing, both drivers and users will need to be aware of the connected environment and how it will impact the ridesharing experience. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Timothy Evavold, Executive Director Automotive at Covisint, will discuss key challenges and solutions to powering a ride sharing and/or multimodal model in the a...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lea...
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Businesses are struggling to manage the information flow and interactions between all of these new devices and things jumping on their network, and the apps and IT systems they control. The data businesses gather is only helpful if they can do something with it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Witeck, Principal Technology Strategist at Citrix, will discuss how different the impact of IoT will be for large businesses, expanding how IoT will allow large organizations to make their legacy ap...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management solutions, helping companies worldwide activate their data to drive more value and business insight and to transform moder...
Creating replica copies to tolerate a certain number of failures is easy, but very expensive at cloud-scale. Conventional RAID has lower overhead, but it is limited in the number of failures it can tolerate. And the management is like herding cats (overseeing capacity, rebuilds, migrations, and degraded performance). Download Slide Deck: ▸ Here In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing for the HGST Cloud Infrastructure Business Unit, discusse...
Whether they’re located in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment, cloud technologies are constantly evolving. While the innovation is exciting, the end mission of delivering business value and rapidly producing incremental product features is paramount. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Kiran Chitturi, CTO Architect at Sungard AS, will discuss DevOps culture, its evolution of frameworks and technologies, and how it is achieving maturity. He will also cover various st...