There is a big push to sell free range poultry and eggs, also labeled as free roaming, cage free, and pasture raised, at highly marked up prices. The image of chickens running free in a pasture eating a variety of plants, natural seeds, and bugs is used to convey the goodness of their products. Unfortunately, the reality is far from the ‘farm roaming’ birds. According to the USDA’s requirements for labeling eggs and poultry meat free range, there is absolutely no requirement that the birds have access to open grass land. The only requirement is that the barn, typically housing thousands of birds, has a ‘door’ to outside. In most cases, only the birds close to the door can get out. The outside can be gravel, cement, rocks, or whatever. It does not have to be grass, and no specific minimum size of the outside space is specified by USDA. To be classified free range, the product doesn’t have to meet stringent legal requirements. To be sure that you are getting your money’s worth, find a local farmer, visit the farm, and see how the birds are being raised. Other than that, Buyer Beware. Do you buy free range eggs and poultry and how do you know that they really are free range?