Labels that describe foods as natural, organic or free range can be confusing, especially for consumers in search of that perfect turkey this week.

USDA offers the following tips about what some of those labels mean, legally speaking.

Fresh: Means the turkey has never been chilled below 26 degrees F. Check the “sell by” or “use by” date to know how fresh it truly is.

Frozen: means any turkey that has ever been cooled to zero degrees F. or lower.

Natural:  The turkey has been minimally processed and contains no artificial ingredients or added coloring.

Kosher: The bird was raised only on grain and not given antibiotics.  It was also soaked in salt brine and processed and inspected under a rabbi’s supervision.

Free Range:  The turkey has had continuous, free access to the outdoors for more than 51 percent of its life.

Organic:  The turkey grower met animal health and welfare standards, did not use antibiotics or growth hormones, used 100 percent organic feed, and provided the birds with access to the outdoors.

Happy cooking!

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