Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What do "cage free" and "free range" mean?

"The USDA doesn't regulate the use of the term 'cage free' at all," Consumer Reports On Health reported in its February 2009 newsletter. "And it uses 'free range' only for poultry, not other meat or eggs. Even for chicken, the term doesn't mean much -- 5 minutes of open-air access daily is all it takes to qualify."

This raises a couple of questions. Why is Murray's chicken, the drug-free brand sold at Fairway Market, called "free-roaming" and not "free-range"? Shop-Rite advertises Australian beef as "free range," which would seem to be a violation of USDA rules. Or is Australian beef exempt from U.S. rules, even though it is sold here?

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