Understanding Egg Labels

When it comes to ensuring better lives for laying hens, don’t be duped by meaningless labels. Look for the labels with a checkmark and take our Shop With Your Heart pledge to access more resources like lists of welfare-certified brands and farms. 

AWA
Animal Welfare Approved
checkmark

Certified Humane
Ceritfied Humane
checkmark

Global Animal Partners
GAP 5-Step Program
checkmark

American Humane Certified
American Humane Certified

USDA Organic
USDA Organic*

Cage-Free

Free Range

No Antibiotics Ever

Natural

Cages Prohibited

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Indoor Space Minimums

1.8 ft2 per bird

1.5 ft2 per bird

1.5 ft2 per bird

Less than 1 ft2  in cages

No

No

No

No

No

Perches Required

Yes

Yes

Yes

Inadequate

No

No

No

No

No

Nest Boxes Required

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

No

Dustbathing Opportunities

Yes

Yes

Yes

No in cages Yes in cage free

Inadequate

No

No

No

No

Outdoor Access Required

Yes, pasture access

Only if free-range**

Step 3 and higher

Only if free-range**

Yes, but undefined

No

Yes but undefined

No

No

Prohibits Routine Antibiotic Use

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

On-Farm Audits

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Detailed On-Farm Standards

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

100% Compliance with Standards

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

* The USDA Organic program recently released new, stronger animal welfare standards that will set indoor and outdoor space requirements, among many other improvements to the program. However, they have not been officially implemented yet.

** Certified Humane and American Humane Certified only require outdoor access under their free-range and/or pasture programs. Therefore, only eggs that have both the certification and a free-ranger pasture label come from hens with outdoor access.