- Food and Cooking»
- Farms & Farming
Organic Chicken...It's Your Call
With the prices of everything going so high these days, it is a wonder we can afford to eat right anymore. Lately we have had to trim our grocery budget to be able to afford to buy gasoline to get to work to be able to buy the groceries. It is a vicious cycle. So we start thinking of ways to trim our grocery budget. Sometimes that is not a good idea.
For those of you that are on an organic diet, think of the options. Organics are much pricier than its non-organic counterparts, but what is the difference?
Let’s use chicken as an example. There are several brands of chicken out there that give the illusion that they are organic, but are not really. They are merely “all natural”. But what fresh meat product isn’t “all natural” (unless you are eating the cloned meat that may soon be in our supermarket cases)?. There are some very good brands of all natural chicken out there. The difference between organic and natural is all in the way they were raised. Organic chicken farmers are legally prohibited from using sewage goop as fertilizer, or any synthetic chemicals that are not approved by the USDA Organics program, or feeding them any genetically altered plant or animal matter. Chickens that are considered to be “all natural” do not necessarily meet those criteria.
The majority of commercial non-organic chicken farmers crowd as many chickens as possible into a small, confined space, usually indoors. When chickens are raised this way, they are more likely to produce and share infectious bacteria with each other. These non-organic birds are fed antibiotics to fight off any infections, but then the constant exposure to the antibiotics serves to create strains of drug-resistant bacteria, which makes it necessary to thoroughly cook chicken before consumption. USDA Organic chickens are allowed access to the outdoors (free range), but if any of them develop an infection and require antibiotics, then they are no longer considered organic. Not all free range chickens are organic.
While organic chickens can be considered a healthy dinner fare, eating them can also reduce your risk of ingesting salmonella. Studies have shown that non-organic birds can carry more than 6 times the amount of salmonella as their organic counterparts. Aside from that, there is no real nutritional difference between natural and organic. They are both an excellent source of protein.
As far as processing goes, the “natural” birds are injected with water, salt and other additives that make the meat juicy, plumper and enhance the flavor (This is also done with pork).
It is your call. Being in the meat business since 1975, I have seen a lot of changes in the industry. I have seen WOG’s (Whole Organically Grown chickens) sell as much as $12.00 a piece for a small bird. Is it worth it to spend that much on one chicken during these trying times? You may want the best for your family, but when you can get a whole “natural” fryer for $3.00 that is just as nutritionally sound as an organic bird, you may want to rethink your options. Is it worth it to you? Do some more research on your own. You may be surprised.
Copyright 2011By Del Banks