WASHINGTON — Perdue Foods LLC submitted a petition to the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to clarify the difference between “free-range” and “pasture-raised” production claims for meat and poultry products.

The poultry company asked in its petition to amend labeling compliance under the Poultry Products Inspection Act to remove any product that is “pasture-raised” that would be considered synonymous with “free range.”

The petition also asked for the FSIS to update its guidance on claims related to living and/or raising conditions to make sure claims align with consumer expectations rather than the current practice of using the terms interchangeably.

“Given that all animal raising claims on labels must be evaluated by FSIS on a case-by-case basis, each advertiser must show that its raising claim meets consumer perception (that all chickens spend the majority of their lives on pasture for “pasture-raised” claims) so that consumers are not deceived or otherwise misled by the advertising claim,” Perdue wrote in its petition.

On March 23, the FSIS responded that it received Perdue’s petition and that it would be referred to the Office of Policy and Program Development. 

The petition can be found here