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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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What are sustainable options for purchasing dairy, eggs, meat, and seafood?

Certified Humane Raised and Handled

This label is a third party certification of humane treatment and can be found on eggs, dairy products, beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey. Growth hormones are prohibited and animals are raised on a diet without antibiotics. Animals are provided with clean and sufficient water, shelter, resting areas, and adequate space for them to move naturally. Managers and caretakers must be thoroughly trained, skilled and competent in animal husbandry and welfare and processors must comply with higher humane slaughter standards than those required by federal (search for "certified humane")

Organic (eggs, dairy products, and meat)

The USDA's organic certification program requires certain standards be met for animals used for meat, milk, and eggs. All feed must be 100 percent organic and animals may not be given hormones to promote growth, or antibiotics for any reason. Animals must have access to the outdoors, including access to pasture for ruminants (cattle and sheep), and cages are not allowed for egg laying hens. These guidelines assure higher humane treatment standards than conventional industry standards but are not as stringent or comprehensive as the Certified Humane Raised and Handled guidelines.

rBGH-Free or rBST-Free (Dairy Products)

The genetically-engineered hormone rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone-also called rBST-is given to dairy cows to increase milk production. Concerns about the negative effects of rBGH include increased health problems in cows and the resulting increase of antibiotic usage, and detrimental effects in humans and the environment from hormone and antibiotic residue. Many countries, including Japan, Canada, and much of Europe have chosen not to approve the use of rBGH. In the United States, milk, or milk products, that are produced without growth hormones are often labeled "rBGH-Free" or "rBST-Free."

Free Range, Free Roaming, Cage Free, Pasture Raised, Grass Fed (Eggs and Meat)

Unfortunately, the use of "free range" and similar labels on eggs and beef is unregulated. The USDA regulates the use of these labels for poultry, but it approves the use of "free range" even in cases where birds have as little as five-minutes of open-air access each day. It is therefore necessary to contact the manufacturer (or local farmer or rancher) who produces the meat, poultry or eggs, to determine whether the animals are truly "free roaming" or not.


The Monterey Bay Aquarium produces a consumer's guide to sustainable seafood listing what types of fish are sustainable and what fish should be avoided due to over-fishing or environmentally harmful fishing or farming practices. A free pocket-sized Seafood Guide can be downloaded from the Monterey Bay Aquarium website.


The Northwest is well-known for its salmon and there are many organizations involved in preserving salmon habitat and increasing severely diminished salmon populations.