Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bye Bye Commerically Raised-Chicken

Hubby and I have been watching WAY too many documentaries on Chickens and how they are raised for meat.
It started with Food, INC and then we watched a few documentaries online about food and food production that it made us decide we couldn't be purchasing chicken unless it was raised humanely and in an organic or semi-organic manner.

Did you know that most chicken produced for our consumption is housed in huge long building typically without windows and the chickens just walk around in their own filth? They drink from little waterers that have steroids in it and antibiotics in it to make them fatten quickly. If the chicken dies it just dies and the other chickens walk all over them! Its disgusting and totally inhumane. The chickens become so fat so fast they can't even hardly take 2 steps before collapsing. Their legs cannot support their own weight because we as Americans want bigger, fatter, cheaper chicken. So the industry supplies it, but at what cost?
It was horrible to watch those chickens just try to walk and breathe and all I could think of was the giant bag of Frozen Fatted Chicken in my Freezer. That's when I said no more.

So what does the label on your chicken really mean?

"100% Natural" Chicken: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - "100 percent natural" means the poultry doesn't contain artificial ingredients like preservatives. But experts warn - there are no guarantees.

"100 percent natural - remember - no inspections are done. So we don't know if those claims are really true," says Shannon Wallace, R.D., registered dietitian with Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.

Organic Chicken: Chicken labeled as "organic" must meet much stricter standards. Inspections are conducted and organic chicken cannot contain artificial ingredients, hormones or antibiotics. But are those really harmful to consumers?

"The USDA does not make any claims that organically produced food is any safer or more nutritious than conventionally produced food," adds Wallace.

Grain fed Chicken: This is supposed to mean the chicken was not fed animal by-products, but just like "100 percent natural" and "free range," there is no outside monitoring for this claim.

Free Range Chicken: And probably the most confusing label of them all - "free range." Chicken labeled as "free range is supposed to be leaner, but again, experts warn the claim can be deceiving.

"Free range does not always mean that the animal has been in an open area its whole life. It may only mean they were in a restricted area and let out into that open area one time during their life," says Wallace


Obviously just because you purchase meat labeled Organic or Free-Range doesn't get you guarantees, but its a start and it sends a vote out that says This is What I Want to manufactures. If we all bought more Organic items it wouldn't be so expensive, but instead we literally flock to the cheap meat assuming its just as good as the expensive stuff.
But if you knew that your chicken might be laced with Arsenic would you think differently??
I'm serious people, read the article.
Sure, it was approved by the FDA, but we all know many items are approved by the FDA and they are not good for us! Think of those Twinkies in your cabinet that can survive for the next 40 yrs. That is not right. Ick.

So I used up the last of the bagged chicken today. Now I do have some chicken still left, but that giant bag is finally gone. I might just have to stop eating chicken all together eventually and I don't eat it on a daily basis anyway so it wouldn't be all that hard. I'm pretty into being a flexitarian as much as I can.

Before you go shopping for that mega-bag of chicken at Costco consider the cost of its price. Its not all its cracked up to be really. HA! Cracked! Pun intended.

Picture from HERE.


Kjerste said...

Hi! I found your blog via google. My family and I are interested in moving away from Costco chicken breast and all that they entail as well. Have you found a local farmer since this post that you trust to buy fresh free range chicken from?

Marcie Kahler-Davis said...

Hi Kjerste!

I wrote about it in a different post here:

Those are local meat options surrounding the Puyallup area that are recommended by my Organic Delivery Service.
At this time, we haven't bought from any of these options above BUT I have dropped my chicken purchases to almost none or I buy chicken from Top Foods where they have organic, Free Range chicken for sale.
Check it out!

Kjerste said...

Thanks! We're reading "The Omnivor's Dilema" right now, and after the chapter on the truth behind "free range" chicken from the grocery store, I think we've decided to buy from a local farmer. I just have too many ethical problems with what is happening. Just looking for a good farmer we can trust and support now...

I'll click over to your other post. thanks!