How to Avoid Confusing Chicken labels
I was so confused; there was something new in the meat case, Non GMO chicken. OK, is it organic? Is Pasture raised, organic? The accompanying brochures didn’t help. The natural chicken is fed gluten free GMO feed and the organic chicken feed contained wheat. Does a person on a gluten free diet need to be concerned about the feed of the chicken? Or is this like labeling sugar, fat-free or bananas, cholesterol-free? Doesn’t the chicken’s body turn the feed into muscle (if I remember my 1970’s biochemistry course correctly)? We aren’t drinking chicken milk which may contain the gluten if chickens were mammals and made milk, but they aren’t and they don’t. I went to the company’s web site and had even more questions. Read on for the untangling of my confusion, and how you can avoid confusing chicken labels.
After more research and a phone call with Mary’s Chicken (the grower) I can now help you avoid the same confusion. Organic remains the easiest way to ensure no GMO’s are in your food.
1. Pasture raised, Organic is the best choice. This choice is not available from Mary’s Chicken. Look for a local grower or if you’re adventurous and local laws allow, raise your own!
2. Organic chicken (free range) have total access to the outdoors in a non-cultivated field, grow faster, are a more fragile, large breasted bird, has A/C and heat in coops. Eats Vegetarian Organic Non GMO feed.
3. Pasture raise chicken from France, are a Rhode Island Red variety. A hardier bird that lives outdoors 24/7 with no coop, grows slower, is less tender and gamier tasting. Consumes Non GMO field grains and Non GMO feed. The feed is not organic. This is not an organic chicken.
4. Non GMO Chicken (free range) is the same breed and growing conditions as the organic chicken. The difference is the feed: consumes non GMO feed. The feed is not organic. This is not an organic chicken.
5. Chicken (free range) – consumes GMO feed. Other brands often label this type of chicken Natural. This is not an organic chicken.
Mary’s Chicken feed contains corn, soybeans, vitamins and minerals. The feed no longer contains wheat, although I’m not sure without doing some research if this is really a concern for gluten free eating. All Mary’s poultry products are free range that is the chicken has access to the outdoors. The organic chicken and Non GMO chicken have enhanced outdoor access and the Pasture raised chicken live their entire lives on the pastured farm. Mary’s uses Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS), and all birds are air chilled to provide a better chicken product. The birds are grown on separate farms for each type of bird in the Central Valley of California. The main farm is in Sanger and most of the farms are within 30 miles of Fresno. And I’m happy to say their website is easier to understand since my phone call!
The feed, breed and growing conditions are what define the different type of poultry products offered.
1. First Choice: Pasture Raised, Organic
2. Second Choice: Organic
You have a choice in your food purchases. Within your budget choose organic real foods (read not processed). Organic by definition is non-GMO.
Share your chicken choices available in your area in the comments section. Your research will definitely help save someone else a lot of time!
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An introduction to GMO:
GMO = Genetically Modified Organisms. This is not the same as hybridization which is done to improve plants and has been done successfully, without harm to the human physical body. GMO’s were introduced into our food supply in the 1990’s. In my opinion it’s a grand experiment on a large scale. Research is only now starting to come out on the effects of eating GMO containing food. This is another blog topic! Let me know if you want to know more. Comment here or email me.