When it comes to marketing, many of us have become cynical—and for good reason! Take the food labels commonly found on chicken, for example. Below are some of these labels and what they really mean:[1]

  • usda organic chicken requirements“Natural” – This means absolutely nothing! “Natural” is not a regulated term by the FDA.
  • “No antibiotics” – While the chicken was never given antibiotics, there is no inspection process for verification.
  • “No hormones” – This is a bogus term considering the fact that that it is illegal to use hormones in the production of chickens in the US.
  • “Cage-Free” – This terms is also misleading, since chickens raised for consumption are never kept in cages. All this means is that chickens have some access to the outdoors.
  • “Free-Range” – Again, this merely signifies that chickens have access to the out-of-doors. But there are no standards to determine how large this “free-range” area must be.
  • “No GMOs” – This is a controlled label indicating that the chicken’s feed cannot contain more than 0.9% of GMO crops.

What “Organic” Means

In contrast to many of the other labels, “USDA Organic” chicken requires the following elements:[2]

  • Chickens must be raised organically within two days of hatching.
  • The chicken must be fed a non-GMO vegetarian diet free of pesticides its whole life.
  • No drugs, hormones or antibiotics are given to the chickens.
  • Chickens must have access to the out-of-doors.
  • An organic facility is subject to an annual, third-party inspection and certification.

Why Buy Organic Chicken?

Organic chicken can cost anywhere from twice as much to several times more per pound than the average commercially raised variety. So why buy organic? Here are just 6 reasons:

1. Organic chickens are more humanely raised.

Particularly because these birds are grown for human consumption, we should be concerned about the way they are treated.[3]

2. Organic chickens are more stress-free.

The idea here is not that of a chicken with too much on its plate! The problem with the mass-production of chickens is a cramped environment that stresses the chicken and “stunts” the meat. To counter the effects of “stunting” often requires adding chemicals to enhance the flavor and texture.[4]

why buy organic chicken3. Organic chickens are not cannibals.

Yes, you read that right! Some factory-like chicken farms feed their chickens chicken parts.[5]

4. Organic chickens are not laden with heavy metals and chemicals.

Reports of chicken-mills feeding their chickens food contaminated with chemicals and heavy metals are boosting sales of organic chicken.[6]

5. Organic chickens are free from antibiotics.

The rampant use of antibiotics in non-organic chickens has been linked to the increase in bacterial strains that are resistant to antibiotics in both chickens and humans who consume them.[7] The World Health Organization is calling for a stop to this practice.[8]

6. Organic chicken is an ideal source of clean, healthy protein.

Organic chicken contains essential amino acids necessary for optimum health and it tastes great![9]

Think about it, if you were in the market for a used car, would you just go to any old used car lot and buy a “generic” car without concern for its brand, who previously owned it, or how they cared for it? Of course not! How much more important is it to know what you’re eating?

Just for the fun of it, next time you go to the grocery store, wander over to the meat section and browse through the labels on the chicken. See if you can find some of the labeling we talked about in this article and recall what the claims mean.

And if you’re craving chicken for dinner, buy organic and see what you think!


Rob_FischerRob Fischer has been writing professionally for over 35 years. His experience includes writing curricula, study guides, articles, blogs, newsletters, manuals, workbooks, training courses, workshops, and books. Rob has written for numerous churches, for Burlington Northern Railroad, Kaiser Aluminum, and Barton Publishing. He has also trained managers in effective business writing. Rob holds two Master’s degrees, both focused heavily on writing. Rob has published eleven books and serves as an editor and ghostwriter for other authors.



[1] Chris Morran, “’Organic’ Chicken Is Different than ‘Antibiotic-Free’ and ‘Natural’ Means Nothing,” Consumerist, December 19, 2013, http://consumerist.com/2013/12/19/organic-chicken-is-different-than-antibiotic-free-and-natural-means-nothing/.
[2] Frances Flower, “What Makes Organic Chicken Organic?” Whole Foods Market, August 4, 2011, http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/whole-story/what-makes-organic-chicken-organic.
[3] Dr. Mercola, “Certified 100% Organic Free-Range Chicken: An Exceptionally Clean, Healthy and Delicious Source of Essential Protein!” nd, http://products.mercola.com/organic-chicken/.
[4] Dr. Mercola.
[5] Leah Zerbe, “7 Things You Need to Start Buying Organic,” Rodale News, February 14, 2012, http://www.rodalenews.com/organic-benefits-0.
[6] Leah Zerbe.
[7] Dr. Fred Pescatore, MD, “This Is Your Chicken. This Is Your Chicken on Drugs. Any Questions?” October 7, 2014, http://drpescatore.com/this-is-your-chicken-this-is-your-chicken-on-drugs-any-questions.
[8] Dr. Mercola.
[9] Dr. Mercola.