Certified Humane food label unveiled

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HERNDON, Va. – Citing growing consumer concern over the treatment of farm animals, Humane Farm Animal Care, an independent nonprofit organization, unveiled the Certified Humane Raised and Handled labeling and certification program.

Assurance. The new Certified Humane label on food packaging is meant to assure consumers that meat, poultry, egg or dairy products come from animals raised at facilities meeting humane standards for farm animal treatment.

The coalition also unveiled a Web site dedicated to the program at www.certifiedhumane.com.

Standards. A team of veterinarians and animal scientists developed these standards to ensure that producers and processors keep animals in conditions that:

* Offer sufficient space, shelter, and company of same-species animals to limit stress.

* Protect an animal’s health through disease prevention.

* Assure good nutrition, including ready access to fresh water and a diet that maintains full health and vigor.

Hormones. Under the system, added growth hormones are prohibited, and animals are raised on a regular diet of quality feed, free of antibiotics. Producers also must comply with environmental standards.

Processors must comply with the American Meat Institute Standards, a higher standard for slaughtering farm animals than the Federal Humane Slaughter Act.

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