In the field of agriculture, pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals were once unanimously cheered as scientific breakthroughs that would increase yields and protect the stability of the American food supply. Today, the fear of negative health impacts and other unintended consequences from these chemicals has many consumers searching for a more natural approach. Organically produced foods are a popular choice among health-conscious consumers, but what does it really mean to be organic? The standard is set by the United States Department of Agriculture. For example, a farmer raising chickens cannot simply market the eggs or meat they produce as organic. Poultry producers must meet the USDA organic chicken standards if they want to sell their products as organic.
USDA Organic Chicken Standards
The current USDA organic chicken standards define which chickens have the potential to be labeled organic and how the birds must be fed, housed, and managed. To be part of an organic poultry program, a chicken must meet the following criteria:
- Produced with no genetic engineering, sewage sludge, or ionizing radiation
- Managed organically in a way that conserves biodiversity and natural resources from the second day of its life
- Fed 100% certified organic feed that may be supplemented with appropriate trace minerals and vitamins
- Raised on certified organic land that meets the standards set for organic crop production
- Allowed year-round access to the outdoors as the weather permits
- Managed in accordance with the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, which means that no antibiotics, added growth hormones, avian or mammalian byproducts, or other prohibited ingredients are utilized
- Raised in accordance with all USDA organic chicken standards under the oversight of a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent
In January 2017, additional requirements were announced that will set stricter requirements for housing poultry, including space requirements for both indoor and outdoor spaces. Many organic poultry producers are already in compliance with these new requirements; the others will have time to make changes. Farmers will have several years before they are required to meet all of the new standards.
Why Choose Organic Chicken?
What makes organic chicken a good choice for savvy shoppers? There are potential benefits for both human health and the environment that are worth considering.
Protein and More
Organic or not, chicken is an excellent choice for people interested in eating a nutritious, healthy diet. This affordable, lean meat is a complete protein that offers all of the essential amino acids, so it provides the fuel or building blocks that the body needs to build and repair muscle. Chicken also has a high biological value, which means that its protein can be easily utilized by the body with little waste.
Of course, chicken offers more than just protein. It also delivers several important vitamins and minerals. Magnesium and zinc are used for a multitude of bodily processes, including energy metabolism. Calcium and phosphorus help keep bones strong. Tryptophan and vitamin B5 both promote calm, so they excel at reducing stress. In addition, chicken is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and iron.
The Benefits of Organic Chicken
Chicken is clearly a good nutritional choice. What makes chicken raised in accordance with the USDA organic chicken standards an even better choice? Organic chicken delivers all the benefits of commercially produced chicken as well as a few extra merits, including the following:
- Higher Quality Meat. Organically raised chickens generally have access to a wider array of food, resulting in meat that is nutritionally rich.
- Fewer Toxins. Commercially raised poultry can contain antibiotics and trace amounts of pesticides. The presence of these chemicals in food can be linked to some cancers, early puberty, and other health concerns in people. With organic chicken, these potential threats are minimized.
- Better Taste. Organic chicken is often described as more tender and flavorful.
For those concerned about the environment, organic chicken is also a greener choice. Organic farmers utilize sustainable, eco-friendly practices that safeguard the environment. The animals benefit as well; organically raised chickens have access to the outdoors, opportunities to exercise and behave naturally, and exposure to sunlight and fresh air.
The Availability of Organic Chicken Products
With a healthy demand for more natural foods, it’s easier than ever to find organic chicken products. Organic eggs and meat can be found in many grocery stores. Protein powder made from organic chicken is also available for those who want a convenient way to incorporate more healthy protein into their diet.
Whether you love scrambled eggs, enjoy grilled chicken breasts, or want to utilize a high-quality chicken protein powder to lose weight or build muscle mass, organic chicken is a smart choice. Buying organic offers tangible benefits that discerning, health-conscious consumers value.
If you’re in the market for an organic protein power, we encourage you to check out CHiKPURE™ Organic Chicken Protein. This high-quality, convenient protein powder is composed of 100% real chicken, so you won’t need to worry about superfluous fillers or unnatural additions. It checks all the boxes: USDA-certified organic, non-allergenic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. Plus, it is fully cooked and ready to eat. To learn more about CHiKPURE™ Organic Chicken Protein, please send us an e-mail. Finally, be sure to check out our website for some scrumptious recipes that incorporate chicken protein powder.