Sunday, September 27, 2009

A sale on chicken I won't be shopping

A package of Readington Farms chicken thighs (July 2012).



By VICTOR E. SASSON
Editor


On Saturday afternoon, I stopped at the ShopRite in Rochelle Park to take a closer look at the Perdue chicken being sold for 50% off today through Oct. 3. 

What I saw convinced me that this is among the worst chicken you can buy.

For example, a Perdue pre-seasoned roaster is "enhanced" with up to 17% seasoned chicken broth. That means you are paying 17% of the price for broth, not poultry. 

This 6-pound bird is going for a mere $4.99, but it likely was raised on antibiotics and there's nothing on the label about a vegetarian diet. So it might have eaten feed with bits of dead chicken.

Yet the label has the meaningless phrase "All natural," and notes the chicken contains no hormones or steroids, which are barred by federal rules anyway, so why is it on the label if not to deceive the consumer?

The unseasoned Perdue roaster was selling for less than half the price of the Readington Farms roaster ($1.89 a pound), which is fed a vegetarian diet and raised without antibiotics. 

ShopRite rarely puts Readington Farms poultry on sale. A Coleman organic roaster was selling for $2.99 a pound on Saturday with a $2 off coupon attached.

Update

In 2014, Consumer Reports magazine investigated antibiotics and arsenic in food.

Here are links to this blog's discussion of the articles:

Snowy Atlantic cod, arsenic in food and more

Consumer Reports: Buy only antibiotic-free chicken


64 comments:

  1. Unfortunately its probably far from the worst chicken, there are a couple brands of chicken I have seen at Shoprite that could easily be mistaken for turkey due to the size. Amick Farms brand is one name that sticks out in particular. There is no way a naturally fed chicken that is not on antibiotics and hormones can grow this big.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amick and Perdue are great brands which sell great chicken! You "food whiners" should grow up and get jobs!

      Delete
    2. Amick and Perdue do not have "great chicken". Not only does it not taste good, but these companies' cheap "business practices" (i.e. treating chickens horribly) are bad for both the humans who eat them and the environment. Open your eyes and pay attention. One simple google search on Perdue chicken farms is evidence enough.

      Delete
    3. Oh and I am grown up and have a job. Not sure what that has to do with anything. Even if I were in grade school I should still be allowed to have an opinion on the type of food I eat and the evils of factory farming.

      Delete
    4. Here's a clue. Nobody is going to grow up. You can't open a closed mind. The ignorant will remain ignorant because the choose to. The amount of knowledge necessary to actually understand anything is too intimidating for such small minds. Not worth arguing with a simple mind

      Delete
  2. Amick. That's a new one on me. I guess Perdue isn't the worst. Maybe Tyson holds that title. Last year, I think it was, they were ordered to stop saying on their labels that the chickens didn't receive antibiotics, when they did.

    ReplyDelete
  3. About 2 years ago I bought a family pack of Amick Farms boneless chicken breast at Shoprite in Lodi. The first night I tried to make a stir fry out of it. The meat was so tough it was unreal. Of course the size of each breast was huge. Next I tried making chicken parm out of it, figuring between being shallow fried in olive oil and baked in the oven for 25 minutes it wouldnt be so tough. It was to no avail, same result, chicken so pumped up with so much growth hormones that its tough as nails.

    http://www.amickfarms.com/amickfarms/consumer.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a nightmare. Readington Farms chickens are relatively small, and my wife prefers the taste to those from Murray's, the drug-free brand sold at Fairway Market.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have had both Readington and Murray's as well, but I prefer the Murray's. I guess Perdue is the best of the worst.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Although Readington Farms chicken is the only poultry I buy, I can't seem to find any company information. With the deception of most brands kept in mind, this makes me wonder where the chickens are farmed. If anyone knows, I would love to find out.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've actually seen a Readington Farms truck on one or two occasions around here. The chickens are farmed in Pennsylvania.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, was doing my own research and thought I could help answer a few questions.

    According to Free Farmed, Readington Farms is part of a larger farming group called Springer Mountain farms. They're listed on the American Humane site as the only certified poultry producer in the country, which jives with the Certified labels I've seen on Readington Farms chicken.

    I also found a list of environmental releases for them, including one that puts them in the best 10% of producers in the country for toxic releases and waste.

    http://www.freefarmed.org/producers.htm
    http://thehumanetouch.org/certified-producers
    http://scorecard.goodguide.com/env-releases/facility.tcl?tri_id=08888DRLNGPOBOX

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you so much for this information.

    The environmental angle is important, given all the pollution in the Delmarva Peninsula from chicken waste that is improperly disposed of.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Why everyone is an expert. I am a chicken farmer and I am on the Delmarva Peninsula. I grow for Perdue. My farm is spotless, my nutrient management and my comprehensive nutrient management are complete and my farm participates in all Natural Resources Conservation Service programs we are eligible for. My chicken waste is stored inside in an approved EPA/MDE/MDA structure and every time I move, apply, transport or move one "particle" of manure it has to be logged and accounted for. I am subject to environmental inspections from Perdue, as well as a host state and federal agencies. As part of my contract with Perdue they spell out equipment I need to have in place, to heat, cool, feed, water and generally make life comfortable for our birds. We utilize computers to constantly adjust the birds environment to maximize it's comfort. Why, because we want the chickens to eat and drink to obtain it's ideal broiler weight. And growth hormones are not used and no chicken products are in the feed. Bio-security is paramount. So please, knock off the irresponsible comments. Bashing the traditional farming community has become all too frequent due to the fact that only 1% of our country's population is involved in agriculture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous, can you tell me if the grain includes the GMO Roundup corn that all of the farmers seem to be using now and if your birds get antibiotics? Can you also tell us what you do with your baby male chicks? I'm desperately seeking a humane and GMO free resource for chicken.
      Thank you.

      Delete
  11. The birds get antibiotics, of course. You don't address that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. A few days ago I bought Amick chicken breasts from Kroger because it was a good sale. I am usually very careful about buying meat but it looked good and I figured I'd give it a try. Never again!

    The package I bought was close to 2 lbs. I was shocked when I opened it to find only 2 very large chicken breasts. I began to feel quite unsettled when realizing that most human females don't have breasts this large!

    I tried fixing one as oven BBQ chicken. It was like eating rubber. So the other one I sliced into tenders, soaked in buttermilk, and breaded with corn flake crumbs. Sure to be tender and tasty! Still nothing but awful rubber texture!

    All of it's going in the garbage and I will never buy Amick again. The worst chicken I've ever purchased. Shame on Kroger for selling such inferior products!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree...I will never buy Amick chicken again. It glisten after cooking and just didn't taste right at all!!

      Delete
  13. Agree with 'Anonymous' on 9/19/11. Just made some Amick boneless skinless breasts tonight. The consistency was rubbery, yet too soft. Just very strange--something I'd never experienced with any meat before.

    It seemed odd when I took it out of the package. It was coated in a gelatinous/gummy film type thing, sort of translucent in color. I rinsed it off the breasts, but still didn't feel good about cooking it.

    Mind you, I only bought this package of chicken breasts yesterday at Kroger, and the sell by date is a week from now! So, I doubt freshness is the issue.

    There's just something incredibly funky about the consistency and texture of Amick chicken breasts. Never again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its nice to know I am not crazy, I noticed the exact same thing you guys are talking about. I want to know what they are doing to the chickens, has to be something they give them or feed them. I won't be eating chicken breasts for a long long time.

      Delete
  14. Breasts can only get that big if the chicken is raised with antibiotics. What you describe is alarming.

    I looked at the Amick Farms Web site and about the only things it says are that chickens are grain fed and after they're killed the meat is pumped full of a phosphate solution, which is basically salted water, what Amick Farms calls a marination process.

    Usually, the percentage of water is listed on the label.

    The chickens are referred to as "premium," but that's not backed up in any way.

    You'll find a phone number on the site. Call to complain, ask for a refund and see what happens. Then, buy a brand that says it is raised without antibiotics and raised on vegetarian feed. You'll love it.

    http://www.amickfarms.com/amickfarms/consumer.html

    ReplyDelete
  15. I worked at Amick Farms a while back. Unconfirmed, but I was told they feed the hormones (or whatever they use) to the "parent" birds, so they can say that the ones sold to you aren't. These "parent" birds (for lack of a better term) are "not cleared for public consumption", when their "usefulness" has run its course, they are killed and "disposed of". (Typically that process is done by another company/location, but last year they did this using many of the same machines that process the chickens you buy and eat.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think you mean antibiotics, because growth hormones are barred by the federal government.

    The problem comes from eating chicken that have been given antibiotics to keep them from growing sick in the close quarters in which they're raised.

    The more animal antibiotics you eat, the more resistant you become to antibiotics that might be prescribed by a doctor.

    I don't see Amick Farms chicken in the North Jersey stores I visit.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've bought different brands of chicken from several local stores.
    the meat was rubbery, translucent after cooking and just strange tasting. The legs were hugh and when cooked gave off puddles of water rendering the juices useless for gravy. The breasts were massive resembling turkey breasts in size. I finally narrowed down one of the offensive brands; Amick Farms, purchased at Pricerite. Yuck. We call it mutant chicken or rubber chicken. I now buy only Purdue which may be bad but still tastes like chicken. I've tried some of the local natural chicken but they also look and taste like mutant chicken. I suppose we'll have to raise our own backyard chickens or become vegetarians.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Can someone tell me if Readington Farms chicken is fed with GMO or non-GMO corn/soy feed? Doesn't matter if it is rated the best ever if it is fed Bt toxins. Anyone? It is hard to afford organic chicken...so if I can find that this chicken is not fed GMO feed, then I would like to purchase it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks, K-Dex. Just looked at Springer Mountain's page and it says they do thier best to source GMO-Feed but just can't assure it is 100% because unfortunately, so much corn and soy is GMO in the US. But it seems their practices and certifications are even better than those used for "organic" poultry.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I purchased Amick Farm chicken legs from Walmart (against my better judgement!) a few days ago. At dinnertime, me, hubbie, and my 4 children all sat down to eat them.....That night will forever be the night we became vegetarians!! As I was eating, looking at all those sweet little faces across from me, the smell of AMMONIA hit me like a truck. I was mortified to say the very least! Every one of those legs reeked of ammonia. I am so mad! Why can't companies do what is right, make good food, and sell it a reasonable price?? And isn't it funny how the word "Amick" is soo close to the word Amish? Dirty, dirty, dirty!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I learned today that the company was owned by the Amick family, from 1941 to 2006. The last owner was named Bill Amick, so the name of the company has nothing to do with marketing.

      Delete
  21. On two occasions I have bought Amick Farms chicken breasts/tenders. Both times I have had problems with the chicken being soft and rubbery. It's really gross to eat. The second time purchasing the chicken from Amick I cooked half of it and it turned out fine, and froze the second half. When I thawed and cooked the second half is when I had problems with it being rubbery. I wonder if freezing has anything to do with it. I have never had problems thawing chicken before. It makes sense now that it is the chicken and not my method of cooking.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm sure it is the chicken. I have not heard one good word about Amick.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous, can you tell me if the grain includes the GMO Roundup corn that all of the farmers seem to be using now and if your birds get antibiotics? Can you also tell us what you do with your baby male chicks? I'm desperately seeking a humane and GMO free resource for chicken.
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am glad that you might be a responsible grower, but many are not, and I have children that I am responsible for; not you, or your fellow 1%. As a consumer, I am tired of being offered crap, just because I have no other choice. The label can state whatever it wants until the producer gets caught. And sometimes the fines levied are less in the long run than the money made from the larger sized chicken sold. Sort of like Big Pharma and all there so called product testing. Cheaper to pay the lawsuits than ditch the drug.
    Answer me this, Why are you angry with consumers who dont want to eat unhealthy food? We have a right to get upset with chicken being sold to us full of hormones antibiotics, fillers, pumped full of fluids, not fed veg. diets, etc. You might not do it but many others do.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Anonymous March 30 , 2013 at 12:01 a.m.
    I just cooked some chicken from WalMart labeled Amick Farm. It was described perfectly by some others, rubbery, yet soft, slimy,seems to consist of everything except chicken. Chicken is a souTrce of protein, but there is no indication of protein on the label. It does not even have the texture of chicken flesh. It is the worst stuff that I have ever tried to eat. It doesn't even smell like chicken. This is the end for me. I will now become the vegetarian
    that I have anticipated for several years. It seems impossible to trust anyone due to the importance of the $$$$ in this society. Thanks for the blog. Most of us who have eaten chicken for most of our lives do know what chicken is supposed be based on the three "T's" (taste, texture,touch). The Amick chicken fails miserably. I am in my seventies and wide-awake to the deceptive society in which we now live,and since they are telling us that this product is all natural, no anti-biotics, vegetarian fed, as they claim, then, what in Sam hill are they NOT telling us?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Have I just wasted my time s that my comment should be considered as unapproved? I just spoke the truth like all other commenters.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I've been eating only fish for more than 3 years and feel great. My cholesterol is way down, too.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Are you the person who praised Amick and Perdue? I tried to publish the comment from my iPhone, but there was a malfunction.

    My response was going to be those brands suck and so do ....

    ReplyDelete
  29. Actually, I see your comment somehow ended up among the first comments from 2009. Scroll up to see it and be embarrassed that you would say something so stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Everyone is talking about the taste and consistaincy how about the actual product. Huge gloobs of fat on every piece tucked under so you don,t see it until open the package. Rib bones in at least half the pieces, veins, and cartilage. All extra that you get for the low price.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I cook for my little dog 1/2 her food. she became ill in may and it cost us over $2,000.00 and she was eating this chicken. I did not put a finger on it until I cooked more last night. this chicken said no antibiotics or growth hormones. its huge and my pup started to act funny after eating it. I am throwing it out. I have fed her organic and Amish and Purdue and she is fine. $22.00 wasted on 2 chickens. I just can't take a chance. I don't want to eat it either.

    ReplyDelete
  33. I got a package of Amick Farms chicken legs from Walmart; 10 in the package and it only cost about $5.50. Most of them were very large and looked like turkey legs. I cooked the 3 largest ones that evening. They came out slightly tough because I wanted to cook them in the same amount of time as I would cook a small chicken leg, so I had the heat turned up a little higher. The taste was on par with every other "natural" and regular chicken leg brand I've ever had - and I am extremely picky with flavor. A few nights later, I cooked 3 more legs, which were about medium sized. I turned the temperature back down for them, somewhere in the range of 325-350 degrees F. Cooked them for exactly one hour and glazed them with some BBQ sauce near the end. PERFECT. Tender, juicy, flavorful. There is nothing wrong with the chicken; either the previous posters had bad luck selecting a good package, didn't cook the chicken correctly, or they are experiencing a placebo effect due to the chicken's unusually large size and think that it has nasty chemicals and hormones in it.

    The trick to good chicken is how you season it and how long/hot it's cooked... and not letting mr. placebo fool you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, there is no question those legs came from chickens raised on animal antibiotics; they are not "natural" by any stretch of the imagination. And they are not vegetarian fed, I seem to recall, so they eat kitchen scraps and bits of dead animals. Just because you liked them is meaningless, if you are comparing them to Petdue and all the other cheap, crappy chicken sold at low prices in supermarkets.

      Delete
    2. I am thrilled when I find the Amick Farms roasters on sale. I cook chicken to feed my cats and we all prefer the flavor and texture of Amick roasters way above Perdue and Tyson. Another thing I noticed about the Amick roasters is that the broth left in the pan after roasting has an exceptionally high collagen level. After refrigeration the broth is not runny at all but very gelatinous and fragrant. Much more appealing than Perdue or Tyson.

      Delete
    3. So you're saying Amick roasters make good cat food.

      Delete
  34. I am here as a first timer and was curious about Amick because I bought a roaster the other day and cooked it in my usual way, skinned, spiced, and breaded and cooked well because I do not like raw meat to eat. It was delicious, moist and tender.
    I pan fried the skin separately for my friend's cat and even that was delicious!
    So, naturally I am suspicious, but not disappointed.

    ReplyDelete
  35. OK, thanks. So the Amick reviews are mixed. I saw a Perdue TV as this week, and the use of harmful antibiotics isn't even mentioned, as you'd expect, while the vegetarian feed gets top billing.

    ReplyDelete
  36. As a grower for Amick farms I can tell you the main reason the chickens are larger but its going to shock you. We have a longer grow out period than most brands. Meaning the birds are a couple of weeks older when processed. 8 to 9 weeks rather than 5 to 7. Shocking isn't it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you're saying the antibiotics don't influence how big they grow? How are the antibiotics administered, in the water, in the feed or in another way?

      Delete
  37. I am no vet but common sense would tell us that the healthier the bird the faster it will grow and gain weight. Proper use of antibiotics helps us achieve that, same as humans. I am saying that more antibiotics does not translate into more weight. Have you ever gained weight by using antibiotics?
    The single biggest factor in the size of a chicken is the age at which it is processed.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I forgot to answer your other question. Antibiotics are administered through the feed and all usage must be discontinued (by law) several weeks before processing.

    ReplyDelete
  39. The February 2014 issue of Consumer Reports, which recommends buying only chicken raised without antibiotics, says:

    "In the 1940s, farmers noticed that poultry that had been fed antibiotics grew faster than those raised without them. That discovery led them to start feeding chickens low doses of antibiotics to promote growth, not just to treat sick ones, and thus allowed farmers to increase production."

    See my Jan. 7 post:

    http://doyoureallyknowwhatyoureeating.blogspot.com/2014/01/consumer-reports-buy-only-antibiotic.html

    ReplyDelete
  40. I bought Amick farms chicken today and attempted to fry it to make chicken Alfredo. ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE!!! First thing I noticed was that for over two pounds of chicken there was only to chicken breasts, weird. I should of stopped there I decided to give it a chance. It turned pink instead of the normal white color that chicken turns to when it cooks, and no matter what I did it wouldn't brown. I tried every trick I know of and nothing. It tasted awful and was super rubbery. Ruined the whole dish. Needless to say I will never buy this nasty chicken again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for adding to the anecdotal and other evidence that Amick, Perdue, Tyson and others are pedaling crappy chicken.

      Delete
  41. Just grilled some Amick farms chicken. As others have mentioned, the meat seemed full of broth and never turned white. It was very salty and did not have the texture of chicken breast. Husband refused to eat it. Never again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, thanks. Sorry you got burnt.

      Delete
    2. My family grows chicken for Amick Farms. Y'all are very ignorant when it comes to growing chicken. That's the best chicken money can buy.

      Delete
    3. You said it. Amick is cheap shit. The best chicken money can buy costs more.

      Delete
  42. That is too funny but absolutely true. When I came home from the hospital, I spent a few months recuperating at my mother's house. She shops only at Price Rite, & usually buys Perdue chicken. Each time my mother served chicken, it was rubbery but also had a gamey taste to it. Really weird tasting! Everyone kept telling me it was me because I had been sick. NOT TRUE! I discovered it was the chicken purchased at Price Rite. Not to mention the stringy pork chops & weird hamburger (another meat with a strange sort of gamey flavor). Their meats were really awful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I stopped eating poultry and meat more than four years ago, and feel great. Fish and other seafood are enough.

      Delete
  43. I think those of you that are so concerned with how humanly the birds are treated and how they are fed, should grow your own birds and maybe you won't have anybody else to criticize, It is ridiculous how stupid people are becoming in this country which happens to grow and harvest the best food on Earth, maybe some of you should move to another country and try the crap that people eat there. Stop whining already!

    ReplyDelete