The only way to purchase chicken or eggs that are the healthiest is to understand the language that is on the labeling of these packages.
We all want chicken that has been “PASTURE RAISED”, “ANTIBIOTIC FREE”, “NON GMO”, “CERTIFIED ORGANIC”. If you know what you want, then you only have to find where they sell it once & you can purchase the healthiest chicken that your body can receive the best nutrients from.
Here are some terms that might fool you in your quest for healthy choices … DON’T BE FOOLED!
UNDERSTANDING THE TERMS ON THE CHICKEN YOU PURCHASE:
FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING:
Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside. Even if it is a concrete patio only capable of holding a small percentage of birds.
“Fresh” means whole poultry and cuts have never been below 26 °F (the temperature at which poultry freezes).
NATURAL …the most misleading term in all food.
A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”). Basically … the term has nothing to do with how a chicken is raised. It simply means that nothing has been added to the bird after slaughter.
NO HORMONES (pork or poultry):
Hormones are not allowed in raising of poultry. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”
NO ANTIBIOTICS (red meat and poultry):
The terms “no antibiotics added” may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics.
Birds are actually kept in coops at night, but are left to forage on grass, seeds, worms, etc., during the day. Unfortunately, “pastured” isn’t a legal term yet, so consumers have to do their own research on the brands that use this label.
The birds are un-caged inside barns, and are required to have outdoor access, but the amount, duration, and quality of outdoor access is undefined.
100 percent of its feed (except maybe mineral supplements) must be certified organic, which means in itself that it has been grown in a field that has not seen chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides or genetically modified organisms for at least three years.
As the term implies, hens laying eggs labeled as “cage free” are uncaged inside barns, but they generally do not have access to the outdoors.
These birds’ feed does not contain animal byproducts, but this label does not have significant relevance to the animals’ living conditions. In fact, this label often signifies that the hens spend no time outside foraging.
This label claim has no relevance to animal welfare.
These eggs were laid by hens who lived with roosters, meaning they most likely were not caged.
This label claim has no relevance to animal welfare