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Understanding Turkey Label Jargon

A recent survey from Lake Research Partners revealed that 77% of American shoppers are concerned about the welfare of farm animals. So if you’re checking the labels on your turkey before making a purchase, do you know what all that information means?

Labels such as ‘Cage Free’ and ‘Hormone Free’ are not very helpful considering all turkeys in the U.S. are never caged and the use of hormones is prohibited by the USDA. ‘Natural’, ‘Naturally Raised’, or ‘All Natural’ means the turkeys were minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients or added colorings. If the turkey is labeled ‘Young,’ this means they were bred for less time and may have had a better quality of life.

‘Humanely Raised’ or ‘Humanely Handled’ is a vague term unless it has a certified audited labeling program to provide further information.


The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ASPCA, provided 3 voluntary labeling programs they approve of: Certified Humane, Global Animal Partnership (GAP), and Animal Welfare Approved (AWA). These labels allow the turkeys full access to pastures, prohibit hormone use and preventative antibiotics.

Will you be purchasing one of these turkeys for your Thanksgiving meal?


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