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In Search Of The Organic Chicken

By HERWriter
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Healthy Eating related image Photo: Getty Images

If you are trying to avoid ingesting ever more chemicals with your meals, thoughts of organic chicken may whet your appetite. Chicken that tastes like chicken used to taste.

But do your homework first before you strike out on your search for the untreated bird. It may not be as simple as going to a local farm where you can see the chickens scratching in the dirt outside of their chicken coop. It's a good idea to do some research before you buy your poultry.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is an advisory board made up of retailers, consumers and producers as well as other groups involved in the production and sale of organic food. The NOSB makes its recommendations to the USDA. The USDA makes the rules that regulate the industry.

The terminology used in labeling chickens as "Organic" or as "Free Range" may be misleading so you need to know what you're up against.

A Free Range label for instance, does not ensure that the chicken in question has been outside catching its own bugs. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allows chickens that only had five minutes' worth of open air a day to be termed Free Range.

As for the "Organic" label, be aware that the USDA allows companies to regulate themselves when it comes to raising their poultry without antibiotics.

For a chicken to be considered organic, it must eat organic chicken feed that does not contain any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or antibiotics. Poultry feed must not contain plastic pellets. These plastic pellets can be used as roughage in the feed for non-organic chickens.

Organic feed can not contain hormones, manure (yes, you read that correctly) or urea (a chemical compound found in urine. Yep. Urine.) Organic feed can not contain heavy metals which may be found in some commercial feed.

According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, you should know that all chickens in the US are free of hormones. So don't be fooled into paying extra for this feature just because "Hormone-Free" is stuck on the label.

Back in the day every chicken was an organic chicken. But those days are long in the past.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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