In recent years, people have become more health conscious and concerned about animal welfare, resulting in a rise in popularity for free range and organic products. These terms can often be confusing, making it difficult for consumers to decide between products labeled free range or organic. Here, we will explore the key differences between these two labels.
- Organic refers to poultry raised in a humane manner and given natural food without antibiotics and growth hormones.
- Free range applies to poultry that has access to the outdoors, rather than being confined to indoor sheds.
- Organic animals are usually free range, but not all free range animals are raised organically.
In the midst of increasing pollution and disease, many people are attracted to food items grown organically. This term also applies to animals raised in a natural manner, such as hens producing organic eggs. Organic farming aims to provide animals with natural food items and environments in which to grow and live. To be labeled organic, poultry must not be fed food containing antibiotics or growth hormones. However, organic standards vary between countries and differ between the US and EU.
Free range chicken refers to poultry raised in a natural environment without restrictions. While it’s impossible to allow chickens to roam completely freely, fencing is often used to provide a large area for movement. Hens may be raised in sheds but are allowed to roam during the day. The free range label informs consumers that the meat or eggs come from animals with outdoor access, raised more humanely. However, this label does not specify how often or for how long the animals were allowed outdoors, nor the size of the outdoor area provided.
In conclusion, the main difference between free range and organic labels lies in the food and environments provided for the animals. Organic animals are raised with natural food and no growth hormones or antibiotics, while free range animals have access to outdoor spaces. It is important for consumers to understand these distinctions when making choices about the products they purchase.