Organic, Non-GMO, Natural, Free-Range??


Don't be chicken when picking your chicken. Chose with confidence. I'm trying to take more meat out of my diet but in the process of cutting it out, whatever meats I do buy I want to make sure its the healthiest. I'd like to help you distinguish the difference between what I call "fluffer" labels. Fluffer labels are meant to make the product seem more healthy therefore leading us to overspending. Like many people, I used to walk into a grocery store and pick any packaged chicken but now you have all these labels to sort through. Thats a lot of labels and they all sound healthy but I did some research and heres the break down of what I found.

No Antibiotics:

Farmers use antibiotics to keep chickens healthy, but there are other methods that can be used instead of antibiotics. When a chicken has a label of “No Antibiotics,” that means the chicken never ever had antibiotics administered, including while in the egg.

Cage-Free:

The term doesn't hold much value in terms of spending more for healthier poultry since this is industry standard. Typically the term cage-free is used fHens that lay eggs are typically classified as cage-free

This label means nothing, since this is the industry standard. Most of the time, the cage-free label is only used for egg-laying hens. Also, this doesn’t guarantee that your chicken ever went outside, or even had access to the outside.

Free-Range:

Officially, Bird "producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside". The term free-range is vague and so loosely used. In my opinion another fluffer label

Non-GMO-Verified Project:

Less than 0.9 percent of the bird's feed can be genetically modified.

No Hormones:

All chickens have zero hormones injected in their bodies so this label is a fluffer label

USDA Organic: Every item on the following list needs to be checked off before it’s labeled “USDA Organic:”

  • Vegetarian diet

  • Non-GMO

  • No antibiotics (only after the shell breaks open or if it’s deemed medically necessary. Farmers can give chickens antibiotics during their first day of life.)

  • Annual inspections

  • Access to the outdoors (no specific standards on size of door, size of outdoor area or amount of time spent outdoors—sounds a lot like the free-range definition)

This means every organic chicken is free-range, but again, the opposite is not necessarily true.

Natural:

This label is useless and misleading. All chickens come from nature, so this just means no artificial flavoring or preservatives were added to the chicken.

Naturally Raised:

This basically means the chicken was fed organic feed (vegetarian diet, no GMOs, no antibiotics, no hormones).

Made In the USA:

Another useless label. All chickens bought in America are patriotic chickens who stay at home. There are a select few Canadian chickens that come to the U.S., and zero chickens are coming over from Asia.

*Not all free-range chickens are organic.


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