Thursday, February 3, 2011

How most chicken and beef are raised

OODNADATTA, AUSTRALIA - MAY 07:  A drover keep...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Verde Farms imports organic beef from Australia and other countries.

My wife went to ShopRite in Englewood looking for antibiotic-free Readington Farms chicken legs and thighs she planned to prepare for a church member, but the store only had breast meat. So she came home with "jumbo" drumsticks, wings and thighs from Perdue.

I took a look at the words on the Perdue package, claiming the chicken is all natural and "fresh from family farms." Nowhere does it say how the chickens got to be "jumbo."

Perdue says its chickens are raised on an all-vegetarian diet and are "cage free." They receive no animal by-products (bits of dead animals, kitchen scraps and so forth), the package says.

But the package and Perdue's TV ads are silent on antibiotics, which prevent the chickens from getting sick in crowded conditions. Some get too heavy for their legs, and fall over in the chicken houses. The Perdue pieces are noticeably bigger than Readington Farms' chicken parts.

A human who eats a steady diet of meat and poultry raised with antibiotics will be more resistant to prescribed antibiotics.

The Perdue chicken my wife bought on Wednesday was on sale. It's typical for ShopRite to put Perdue on sale, while rarely cutting the price on Readington Farms or organic chicken.

Turning to beef, the Web site of Costco supplier Verde Farms compares how its organic beef is raised to how most other beef is raised. Chef Martin C. Chai explains how he founded the company:
"Verde Farms was conceived at an estancia, or ranch, in the pampas while living in Argentina. Watching the cows roam in the open countryside, I rode alongside a gaucho on horseback experiencing a world so different than my life in the States. After the ride, when we sat down to eat a traditional meal of beef, red wine, more beef, and more wine, I realized that not only did the cattle grazing on the open pasture create a picturesque setting but it also resulted in scrumptious, flavorful beef.
"My interest had been piqued. Upon returning to the States, I began to educate myself about the cattle industry in the US. Unfortunately, the more I learned, the more dismayed I became about the conditions in which the majority of the cattle were raised. Cattle, after a quick stint on the open-range, are quickly relocated into massive feedlots of 50,000-100,000 cattle. Rushed from birth to slaughter in factory-based feedlot systems using government-subsidized corn, pesticides, artificial fertilizers, growth hormones, and antibiotics results in cheap, mass-produced fatty meat that has little inherent flavor. There had to be consumers, like myself, who demanded better. Fortunately, the stars of the Southern Hemisphere aligned. My familiarity with South America and my passion for food soon intersected, and I launched Verde Farms, the premiere brand of free-range organic beef.
"Verde Farm's commitment to importing beef from Uruguay [and other countries] has created the opportunity for American consumers to eat a great-tasting product while also supporting small farmers from a developing economy. When you purchase a product from Verde Farms, you are directly supporting a traditional way of life that has existed for generations and that, with your support, will continue to thrive."

Web site of Costco supplier Verde Farms

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  1. Thanks for asking about how our chickens are raised. The size and growth of our chickens is the natural result of our proprietary breed, optimal nutrition and ideal housing conditions. That combination enables us to efficiently raise a chicken that is both meaty and healthy without relying on genetic engineering, added hormones or steroids (which are prohibited by Federal law), or antibiotics for growth promotion. And, as a result of raising our chickens in a healthy environment, we do not need to rely on the continuous use of antibiotics to keep our chickens healthy. For more information, visit

    - Joe Forsthoffer, Corporate Communications Manager, Perdue

  2. The claim that you don't use antibiotics isn't credible.

    Why wouldn't you say that on the package, if that is the case?

  3. I think ill just stop eating meat because how can u honestly trust any of these companies.. FDA approved seal is full of baloney.. they only really investgate after a problem is found.. I don't trust them either.. I need to buy a farm and raise my own animals and harvest my fruits and veggies..


Please try to stay on topic.