Seal: One Health Certified

Main benefits: Independently verified annually.
Limitations: Antibiotics and other types of drugs can be used, and meat from animals treated with antibiotics can be sold with the label. • Weak animal welfare requirements. • Standards do not adequately address air and water pollution caused by crowded, confined animal feeding operations.
Overview: One Health Certified is a label developed primarily by meat and poultry industry experts and currently used only on packages of chicken and turkey meat. It's meant to demonstrate a company's commitment to animal welfare, environmental issues, and responsible antibiotic use. The companies are audited for compliance, but the standards largely reflect the industry norm of raising animals in crowded indoor conditions, with the use of antibiotics to address health problems that may arise. Restrictions on the use of antibiotics are minimal, and meat from animals treated with antibiotics can be sold with the One Health Certified label. In addition, under the label's Life Cycle Assessment requirement, producers must measure their carbon footprint but don't have to take any action to reduce it. One Health Certified should not be confused with the concept of One Health, the premise of which is that the health of humans, animals, and the environment are all interrelated.
Ratings Criteria
Animal Welfare: Poultry Raised for Meat

To meet the animal welfare standards, the One Health Certified program allows producers to use National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, or American Humane Certified guidelines.

The chicken and turkey organization standards essentially represent the norm in chicken and turkey production. For chickens, the indoor space requirements are minimal—less than 1 square foot per bird—and the birds don't have to have access to the outdoors. Farms aren't required to equip indoor living spaces with perches or other features that allow chickens and turkeys to engage in natural behaviors. There's also no requirement to control ammonia levels (produced by animal waste) in birds' indoor living quarters; high ammonia levels can cause illness. In the chicken industry, it's common to keep the lights on continuously in the chicken house. This promotes faster growth by preventing the birds from sleeping, so they eat more, and the practice is a major animal welfare issue in chicken production. Under One Health Certified standards, the birds must get at least 4 hours of darkness; however, it doesn't have to be continual—the lights can be turned on and off in 1-hour increments. Together, these conditions not only create a poor environment for the animals' well-being but also generate conditions conducive to disease, which may lead to producers needing to use antibiotics.

The American Humane Certified standards are slightly better than the chicken and turkey organizations' standards. (CR rates the American Humane Certified label as Good.) For example, ammonia levels in poultry houses must be controlled and chickens must get 4 hours of continual darkness. However, the presence of the One Health Certified label alone doesn't tell a consumer which standards the producer decided to use.

Read Why Animal Welfare Matters.

Reducing the Use of Drugs in Farm Animals

Using antibiotics only to treat sick animals, and not for growth promotion or disease prevention, is key to reducing the health threat of antibiotic resistance, which is when the bacteria that cause infections become resistant to the effects of the drugs designed to kill them. The One Health Certified standards place some restrictions on the use of antibiotics but do not prohibit them. They still allow the meat from animals treated with antibiotics to be sold with the label. (This takes away the incentive to producers to truly reduce the use of antibiotics and address root causes of animal illness in a meaningful way.) Medically important antibiotics (those used to treat illness in people) can't be used for growth promotion or disease prevention. This is a slight improvement over the Food and Drug Administration restrictions on antibiotic use in farming, which prohibit the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion but permit their use for disease prevention.

Antibiotics that are not considered medically important, such as ionophores, can be used without limitations, including to speed up the animals' growth.

The standards do not address the use of other growth-promoting drugs, such as ractopamine in turkey production. The Department of Agriculture doesn't allow the use of these drugs in chicken, and giving hormones to any type of poultry is prohibited by law.

Read Why Reducing the Use of Drugs in Farm Animals Matters.


This label is verified by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, through its Process Verified Program. This program allows companies to write their own standards for a label, which the USDA then verifies for a fee. The USDA audits the company's relevant paperwork annually, and visits some of the facilities where the animals are raised. These visits are always announced, and not every facility housing animals is inspected.

Read Why Verification Matters.

Behind Our Ratings: Food-Label Seals & Claims

Consumer Reports takes a detailed look at the requirements, definitions, standards, and verification procedures behind food labeling seals and claims, and distills this information into CR ratings. Our goal is to inform and empower consumers so they can act to create demand for a healthier, safer food system.