Five things you need to know about free-range claims
Founders of the SPCA Blue Tick have released their tips to think about when it comes to buying free-range products.
The SPCA Blue Tick is an independent animal welfare accreditation scheme for farmed meat and egg products.
With no specific laws in New Zealand controlling the definition of ‘free-range’ or similar marketing terms making purchases based on animal welfare can be confusing for people (HFG, December 2016).
We tend to think that because a product says it is ‘free range’ it is good, a media release from SPCA Blue Tick says.
Blue Tick top tips
1. Free range is good, right?
Free range is only a style of farming. Be alert to how this is measured and whether the product ticks other, very important animal welfare boxes.
2. Know the law
There are no regulations that control the definition of free-range produce or other marketing terms. Free range and free-to-roam can easily be used as marketing terms, but free-to-roam for how many hours per day and for how many days a year? Without an independent third party certification, you could be paying more for free range products with no assurance of good animal welfare.
3. Look for independent accreditation
Bodies that are independent from the production and sale of meat and egg products, such as the SPCA, are free to have animal welfare as their bottom line. Look for certification from independent auditors you can trust such as the Blue tick, AsureQuality Organic and BioGro.
4. Do your homework
Always look beyond the marketing and the pretty pictures. Ask the right questions such as: How has the product been certified as free range? Is it an independent and regular audit? Audited against what standards? Who writes those standards? Have the standards been written by animal welfare? Does the product meet the minimal standards of the animal welfare codes or do the standards go beyond that?
5. Trust is instilled by independent accreditation
Ensure the product lives up to its claims by looking for a trusted, independent accreditation certification logo on the packaging.
For more on free-range claims check out the December 2016 issue of Healthy Food Guide.
Related link: spcabluetick.org.nz
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