Here at Jamie Oliver we really care about the food we buy, cook and eat. We care about where it comes from, how it’s farmed, and what goes into it. But even the most savvy of us can find it hard to decipher the labels and language that are used to describe food provenance.

So, with the help of our Food Standards team, we’ve pulled together a clear list of what’s important to us, and what you can look for when you’re shopping (★) .

EGGS

Higher welfare - eggs

★ RSPCA Assured barn or free-range eggs
★ Free-range
★ Organic

We want to ensure the eggs we eat come from happy hens who do not live in cages. It’s important to us that the birds have access to natural light, as well as natural darkness during the night. Although barn eggs are definitely preferable to caged eggs; we recommend choosing free-range or organic eggs whenever possible, as these are from birds that spend time outside.

POULTRY (CHICKEN, TURKEY, DUCK)

★ RSPCA Assured (indoor or outdoor)
★ Free-range
★ Organic

Similarly, we want to eat happy birds who have had space to stretch their wings and have lived a healthy life. The label standards below ensure that the stocking density is never too high, the birds have room to move freely, and have enrichment (such as toys or perches) to encourage natural behaviours and reduce stress.

DAIRY (MILK, CREAM, YOGHURT)

Higher welfare - milk

★ Free-range
★ Pasture Promise
★ Organic

It’s important to buy milk from systems that ensure the cows, the land, and the farmers are well looked after. Free-range or organic milk comes from systems where the cows are guaranteed to spend at least a third of the year outdoors on pasture. The Pasture Promise programme and the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCO) both ensure that farmers are receiving a fair price for their milk. Several UK supermarkets also have similar fair-payment schemes in place.

BEEF, VEAL, LAMB

Higher welfare - beef

★ Grass-fed/pasture based
★ RSPCA Assured
★ Free-range
★ Organic

Buying British or Irish means supporting farmers close to home, and it supports a good level of animal welfare. Generally, standards in the UK and the EU are high, with the majority of animals fed on pasture rather than grain. We avoid meat from animals that are housed permanently indoors, and look for grass-fed wherever possible. British or Irish beef will never have received hormone growth promoters.

PORK (INCLUDING BACON AND SAUSAGES)

Higher welfare - pork

★ RSPCA Assured (indoor or outdoor)
★ Free-range
★ Organic

Pigs are really inquisitive animals, and it’s important to keep them mentally and physically healthy. We look for pork from pigs who are kept in clean and comfortable housing with enrichment to keep them occupied. Free-range pork is usually preferred, as these pigs can express their natural behaviours such as rooting and wallowing in the mud.

SEAFOOD (WILD)

Higher welfare - mussels★ Certified by Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
★ Rated as sustainable (score 1-3) by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS)

Overfishing and depleted species numbers are the main issues that affect wild seafood. We avoid fish and seafood we know is unsustainable, such as bluefin tuna, eel, shark, skate, dogfish, wild sturgeon caviar and swordfish. Buying MSC is a great choice, as it’s from a fishery that has been certified as operating sustainably.

SEAFOOD (FARMED)

Higher welfare - salmon

★ RSPCA Assured
★ ASC certified
★ BAP certified, 2 star or higher
★ Global GAP certified
★ Organic

Farmed seafood can be a good alternative to wild seafood, providing it’s from a well-managed system. We look for fish that has been farmed in a way that doesn’t damage the environment, and respects the welfare of the fish.

For more information on welfare and food standards, as well as sustainability and waste, check out our guides to ethical shopping (part one, and part two). You can also read about the higher welfare meat standards at Jamie’s Italian restaurants, and our amazing Fish2Fork rating.