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Supermarket Guide to Buying Chicken

What do packaging labels on poultry really mean for consumers?

As consumers demand ever more information about their chicken, producers and government regulators have responded with labels that are supposed to take the mystique out of your bird. Unfortunately, deciphering these labels can make even the most Zen among us feel like a chicken with its head cut off. Here is our guide to truth in poultry labeling.

Certified Humane Raised & Handled

Overseen by a nonprofit endorsed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States, this label ensures your chicken received basic standards of care. For instance, CHRH producers must provide at least six continuous hours of darkness per 24-hour period (many birds live in round-the-clock light to hasten growth). Feed must be fresh. Original guidelines required producers to provide about 1 square foot per chicken; however, this is currently under review. This third-party certification does not have any rules about access to pasture.

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