Unfortunately, the new year comes with a new food label that takes advantage of consumer concerns for animal welfare. Misleading food labeling scheme known as One Health Certified™ (OHC) was recently approved for use in chicken and turkey products and is currently used by several grocery chains including Aldi and BJ’s.
The program integrates the World Health Organization’s respected One Health concept of protecting animal, human and environmental health, but in practice it is nothing more than a stamp of standard, inhuman and unsustainable livestock farming practices. Today, the ASPCA, together with a coalition of animal, consumer, public health and environmental organizations, released a joint statement against the program, as well as a multisectoral consensus statement outlining a true and meaningful approach to One Health.
Despite One Health Certified claims that animal welfare is a fundamental principle, this misleading label does not set any meaningful animal welfare requirements. Chicken and turkey brands using the label can choose from three poorly regulated welfare standards: American Humane Certified ™ (audit program) or voluntary industry guidelines set by the National Chicken Council or the Turkish National Federation. None of these standards require animals to have adequate movement space or enrichment of the environment, and they all allow the use of breeds selected for their extreme growth rates, resulting in injury and infection. OHC standards also allow for the use of medically important antibiotics as a form of disease prevention instead of treating unhealthy conditions that cause rampant disease on industrial farms. Any certification that claims to be a “one health” approach must avoid activities that threaten animal welfare, endanger public health, or harm the environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised public awareness of the many dangers of industrial farming, and now more consumers are looking for humane, healthy and organic food. A recent ASPCA study found that 89% of Americans are concerned about industrial animal husbandry, citing animal welfare, worker safety, or public health risks. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed who learned about livestock in the media during the pandemic said they are now looking for alternatives to industrial-grown meat, eggs and dairy products.
The ASPCA Shop With Your Heart program provides resources for interested consumers looking to leverage their farm animal food budget, including a One Health Certified breakdown label guide and other approvals and certifications consumers may find regarding meat. eggs and dairy products.