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Agriculture

Japan's eco-friendly chicken and eggs receive new label

Poultry farmers expect to benefit from push for local breeds, humanely raised

The new certification will be granted to Japanese chicken breeds raised at humane and environmentally conscious farms. (Photo courtesy of Daizen Farm)

TOKYO -- Japan will help shoppers pick out environmentally friendly groceries by creating a new certification for domestic chicken and eggs farmed through sustainable means.

The new label under the Japanese Agricultural Standard system will be granted to chicken meat and eggs from indigenous breeds, raised at farms that meet requirements on odor control and recycling. Farms also will need to reduce stress on the chickens and convert their waste into fertilizer and fuel.

The label, which could debut before the fiscal year ends in March, responds to demand from private-sector poultry farmers and could help their products compete better in the market.

More than 90% of chicken meat and eggs farmed in Japan comes from birds bred by foreign companies. These birds grow quickly, making them cost effective. But with a limited number of sources, farmers are at the mercy of wild price fluctuations.

Japan looks to reduce external risks in poultry and egg production. To qualify for the new label, farmers also will have to curb their dependence on foreign feeds, such as by giving their birds more Japanese-grown rice.

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