Difference Between Free Range and Organic

Free Range vs Organic

People have become very health conscious and also do not want to be a part of the cruelty being committed towards animals, especially those that are slaughtered to obtain meat. This awareness has given rise to terms like Free Range and Organic that apply to eggs and meat obtained from animals. The two terms can often be confusing for common people as they cannot decide between products bearing the label free range and those labeled organic. This article attempts to highlight the differences between free range and organic labels.


In this age of so many diseases and increasing levels of pollution, it is natural for people to be attracted to food items that are grown organically. The term is also being applied to animals raised in a natural manner, and the eggs obtained from organically raised hens are labeled organic. More and more people today are turning towards organic eggs and meat in the hope that they get to eat foods that are better quality and not contaminated in any manner. The aim in organic farming is to give the animals natural food items and to give them a natural environment to grow and live as far as possible. To be called organic, poultry must not be fed food that contains antibiotics. Their food must also not contain growth hormones. The standards for the organic label are different in different countries and also different in US than they are in EU.

Free Range

Free range chicken, as the name implies, refers to poultry animals that have been raised in a natural environment that does not pose restrictions for them. Though it is literally impossible to raise chickens so as to allow them to roam scot free, fencing is done in such a manner that chickens get a large area to move and do not feel any restriction imposed on their behavior. Hens are raised in sheds but are allowed to roam in the day time. Free range is a label that basically informs the consumer that the meat or eggs have been obtained from the animal that had access to outdoors and was not raised in an inhumane fashion. However, the label does not tell how frequently the animals were allowed access to outdoors. It also does not tell about the duration for which animal could roam freely. The consumer also does not know how big an area was provided outdoors to animals to roam.

What is the difference between Free Range and Organic?

• Organic is a term that applies to poultry animal that has been raised in a human manner and given natural food that does not contain antibiotics and growth hormones.

• Free range is a term that applies to poultry animals that have been given access to outdoors rather than keeping confined in indoor sheds.

• Organic animals include free range animals but not all free range animals are raised organically.

• There are no set standards for free range animals, and there is no way to know for how long and how frequently the animals have been given access to outdoors.