If you have been a long time reader of my blog, you may have figured out that I have a pretty great relationship with Foster Farms. They are the the West Coast’s leading producer of Organic Chicken raised without antibiotics or GMOs and the brand of chicken I EXCLUSIVELY buy for my family. I’ve created nearly a half dozen recipes on their behalf and I honestly love ALL of their products. So when they asked me if I would be willing to blog about their line of Certified Organic chicken, of course I immediately said ‘sure!’
You may or my not know that before my career as a DIY blogger and stay at home mom I actually was a research scientist with a bachelor's degree in Meat and Animal Science (Yes! That is a real thing!) I spent more than 15 years at the lab bench and working hands on with poultry and livestock (I spent a few of my college summers in poultry barns and hatcheries). I also completed coursework in Agricultural Biotechnology right here in the state of California so I am suprisingly qualified to speak about the differences between conventional and organic chicken.
Of course, I am going to cut right to the chase and answer the question that everyone wants to know:
Is Foster Farms certified organic chicken really worth it?
What exactly does “antibiotic free" mean?
Antibiotic-free means no antibiotics were used. Ever.
Foster Farms doesn’t use antibiotics in their hatcheries or for growth promotion (as the birds grow they don’t give them antibiotics to speed up the process). When antibiotics are required for animal health and flock safety they are only used under veterinary supervision and any animals treated with antibiotics are not sold under the organic or Simply Raised labels.
Are there any other benefits of Certified Organic Chicken?
Foster Farms Certified Organic chicken is raised without GMOs and is Non-GMO Project Verified. It is also locally grown right here in California.
In compliance with USDA standards, Foster Farms Organic chicken is also free of added hormones or steroids. But wait for it…all Foster Farms fresh chicken is too! All Foster Farms fresh chicken is 100% natural, minimally processed with no added salt or artificial ingredients.
What about animal husbandry? How are the animals treated?
All Foster Farms fresh chicken farms are independently audited and certified by the American Humane Association following the animal welfare guidelines set forth by the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation.
What are these guidelines?
What are these guidelines?
To earn American Humane certification Foster Farms ranches have passed a
rigorous, 200-plus item audit that covers living conditions, diet and natural
behaviors. Foster Farms poultry flocks are never raised in cages and their organic
flocks are USDA Certified and raised free-range. Chickens are housed in large
climate controlled barns with plenty of air circulation and enough space for the
birds to move about freely and with access to the outdoors.
What do the chickens eat?
All of Foster Farms poultry is fed a vegetarian diet, but certified organic chickens are
only fed a USDA certified ORGANIC vegetarian diet. This also means that all the feed
given to Foster Farms organic chickens is GMO free. Foster Farms even recently
announced that their organic chicken is Non-GMO Project verified for maximum
Do you really buy Foster Farms chicken for your own family?
Yes. It is truly important to me that the chicken I feed my children has not been treated with antibiotics, and I like that it’s locally farmed. Living in the Bay Area, I am really lucky that Foster Farms products are carried in all the major grocery store chains, including Bay Area Safeway stores (which is the nearest store to me). You can also find it at many warehouse clubs and big box stores. I would encourage you to do your own research about whether or not organic chicken is right for your family. You don’t need a Meat and Animal Science degree in order to understand what you are eating if you just take a little time to educate yourself on what is and isn’t going in your food. You’ll be glad you did.