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The Chicken Squad Investigates: Chicken Labels

The Chicken Squad is a fictional agency inspired by the real team of provincial inspectors at the British Columbia Chicken Marketing Board who enforce the Chicken Farmers of Canada Standards in food safety, animal care, and biosecurity. 

Do you know the differences between free range and free fun? Ever wonder what all those different labels are chicken mean?

Getting to Know the Different Types of Chicken Labels

Here is a description of some of the different chicken labels.

Raised by a Canadian Farmer

All chicken raised in Canada are raised according to national standards in animal care and food safety, and are fed a diet of over 85% grain without any added hormones or steroids. If the chicken must receive antibiotics, they must go through a withdrawal period to make sure there are no antibiotics in the chicken you eat.

Free Run

All Canadian chicken raised for meat are considered to be free run and are not raised in cages.  

Vegetarian Grain Fed 

Chicken that are considered vegetarian grain fed are raised on feed that only contains vegetable protein, such as soy.

Raised Without Antibiotics

Raised without antibiotics is a term used for chicken that have never been given antibiotics at any point in their lifetime.


Kosher chicken refers to the way the chicken was processed rather than the way it was raised. All kosher chicken products follow the strict Jewish laws of kashruth in order to ensure that they are considered fit or proper for specific dietary restrictions.

Hormone/Steroid Free

All Canadian chicken are raised without added hormones or steroids. Commonly, this term will be used in chicken labels as a marketing tactic by some brands of chicken. 


Halal chicken is raised to follow specific Muslim customs for food processing. All chicken products that are considered halal mean that the animal was well-rested and handled in a way that minimizes their suffering. 

Air Chilled 

Air chilled is a European meat processing method. Rather than immersing the freshly processed chicken in cold water, the chicken is passed through cold air or cold air is blown on it.

Free Range

Free range chicken has been given access to the outdoors.

Grain Fed

Since all Canadian chicken are fed a diet of over 85% grain, this term is often used by brands as another marketing tactic; however, some brands will include mentions of special types of grains in order to inform consumers about the chicken’s overall diet.


Chicken labelled organic must be raised to standards set by an organic certification board. Most organic chicken is fed a diet that does not contain any animal by-products or antibiotics, and is only given supplements that are approved by an organic certification body.

If you would like to learn more about the Chicken Squad or about chicken labels, please contact the British Columbia Marketing Board at 604-859-2811 or by filling out a contact form on our website. You can also stay up to date with the latest news by following us on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.