Talk the talk

Last reviewed: January 2010

Certified Humane Raised and Handled

For starters, the chicken had access to clean food and water, according to third-party inspectors with expertise in animal welfare.

Free-range, free-roaming

The chicken has had access to the outdoors, even if that means only that the door to the chicken house was left open briefly each day.

Fresh

The carcass's internal temperature hasn't dropped below 24° F. Still, the chicken might be partly frozen.

Kosher

The chicken was prepared according to Jewish dietary laws. Salt was added as part of the process.

Natural

The chicken was "minimally processed" in a way that didn't fundamentally alter the raw product. It has no artificial ingredients, preservatives, or added color.

No antibiotics administered

Don't assume this was verified unless you also see the label "USDA organic."

No hormones

Pointless; the USDA prohibits the use of hormones in raising poultry.

USDA organic

A USDA-accredited certifier has checked that the chicken company followed standards: Chickens were raised without antibiotics, ate 100 percent organic feed with no animal byproducts, and could go outdoors (though they might not have). For more about labels, go to our affiliate Web site at www.GreenerChoices.org.