Category Archives: Myths

Four key facts about Australian meat chickens

With Christmas and a new year just around the corner, it seems a good time to remind readers of some of the key facts about Australian meat chickens, including what they look like and how they are reared.

Since this is about the chickens themselves, I’m going to focus on four key facts…the ones that in visual depictions and in words meat chickens are most often misrepresented.

Key Facts Infographic

1. In Australia, if its red or brown, it’s not a meat chicken

How often do you see news articles or other stories about the Australian chicken industry with images depicting red or brown coloured chickens (often in cages as well, another sign that they’ve got the wrong bird; more on that later).
Well, guess what? Those red or brown birds are almost certainly egg laying hens, not meat chickens.

Current Australian meat chicken strains are almost exclusively white feathered – at least they are after they shed their fluffy yellow baby down, a process which starts from about a week of age.

Why are they white? Well, partly it’s to do with the original breeds that were selected to be crossed to create a heavier, meatier chicken hybrid strain specifically for meat production. These efforts commenced in the 1950s when white Plymouth Rock chickens were crossed with white Cornish chickens to produce the original hybrid meat chicken strains. However, white feathering has, in itself, been seen as a desirable characteristic for a meat chicken (and has generally been preferentially selected for over the years) because it results in a more visually appealing carcass. As it is almost impossible to remove 100% of pin feathers from all birds during processing, and because coloured feathers contrast so much with the skin colour, they are undesirable from a customer appeal perspective. It’s worth noting that it’s conceivable that different coloured breeds of meat chicken may be adopted in Australia in the future, but for now, pretty much all meat chickens in Australia are white.

In appearance, today’s meat chickens also look ‘chunkier’ than egg laying chickens as they have been bred, using conventional genetic selection techniques, to carry more meat.

For more information about the breeds used by the two industries see my earlier blog: meat chickens vs laying chickens.

2. Both male and female chickens are used

Both male and female chickens are used to produce chicken meat, as is the case right around the world.

Unlike the case for the egg industry, where only hens are required to lay the eggs that are sold for human consumption, both male and female meat chickens can be, and are grown for meat and are equally valued by the chicken meat industry.

More information on the differences between male and female meat chickens in terms of how they look or how they grow can be found in a previous blog: Are meat chickens male or female?

3. No hormones are used

How many times have you heard people talk about hormones in chicken meat? …that hormones are ‘fed’ to chickens? … that the hormones in chicken meat are causing an epidemic of early maturity/puberty in our young kids today?
Well, guess what? All the above are simply UNTRUE!
The origin of the “hormones in chicken” myth, and why they are neither used or useful in chicken production are explained in the blog: The Hormone Myth.

4. Meat chickens are never reared in cages

Australian meat chickens are grown on the floor of large sheds or barns. The floor of the barn will always be covered with a bedding material (the industry calls this bedding ‘litter’), which comprises some form of absorbent material, for example wood shavings, rice hulls or chopped straw.

If you would like to get an idea of what an Australian chicken farm looks like, there are plenty of photos on the ACMF website of both the exterior and inside a typical chicken shed (see http://www.chicken.org.au/page.php?id=200&gallery=Broiler%20Farm for some examples).

What about the photos you see in the media and elsewhere of chickens confined to cages? They are photos of egg laying chickens. Cages are often used in the egg industry.

For more explanation of how Australian meat chickens are housed, have a look at this earlier blog: Meat chickens and cages?

Thanks for your interest in my blog this year and for sharing it with your online communities.

Wishing all my blog readers and their loved ones a safe and happy Christmas. Chook Chat will return in February 2017.

Are meat chickens male or female?

The simple answer to this commonly asked question is: “both”.

Both male and female chickens are used to produce chicken meat. That’s the case right around the world.

Unlike the case for the egg industry, where only hens are required to lay the eggs that are sold for human consumption, both male and female meat chickens can be and are grown for meat and are equally valued by the chicken meat industry. This is just one of many differences between the two industries…. other differences include that meat chickens are never grown in cages and come from completely different breeds of chickens than egg laying chickens (for more information about the breeds used by the two industries see my earlier blog: no cages for meat chickens).

While it’s not possible to know whether the meat that you buy has come from a male or a female chicken (they will look and taste the same), roughly 50% of the meat chickens grown in Australia will be males and 50% females.

Are they grown differently? Do they look different?

These days, both male and female meat chickens are generally grown together in the same barns. Indeed, it’s impossible to distinguish between them when they are day old chicks delivered to farms around Australia. However, from about 30 days of age physical differences between the two sexes start to emerge, and by the time they are collected for processing for human consumption (which is before they have reached sexual maturity), it is possible to differentiate between young male and female meat chickens in a flock.

Males are a bit ‘meatier’ in their breasts, their legs and feet are thicker and their combs and wattles (the red floppy fleshy bits on top of their head and below their chin respectively) are bigger, brighter and more noticeable.

Blog Sketch_MaleFemale Chickens_160822F (002)

Male chickens tend to grow a bit faster, and at the same age will be a bit bigger than their female counterparts. Therefore, while the ratio of males to females when they hatch is roughly 50:50 (slightly more males, for some reason), when we look at which of the sexes contributes the most meat, it probably works out more like and 55% from males : 45% for females.

Are any of the meat chicks that hatch not placed on farms?

A small percentage of chicks (less than 1%) that hatch may be too weak or otherwise unfit to survive the first few days after hatching, and it is the responsibility of hatchery staff to identify these and euthanise them at the hatchery so that they do not suffer.

All fit and healthy day old meat chickens that are hatched are sent out to farms.

Male or female? Can you pick the difference?

The meat chickens in the foreground of the photos below are the same age and from the same flock. Can you tell what sex they are?

Male and female-1

If you are interested in hearing more from the industry then follow our monthly blog posts and regular #MythBustingMonday tweets @chookinfoline

Myth Busting #1: Is it safe to refreeze chicken?

Do you ever take some chicken out of the freezer to defrost before leaving for work in the morning, only to get home and not feel like cooking? I know I do!

A question we get asked often is whether it is safe to put the defrosted chicken back into the freezer, and the answer is YES! But, only if the chicken was defrosted below 5 degrees Celsius (usually means in the fridge), and wasn’t ‘defrosting’ for longer than 24 hours at this temperature.

The myth that it is not safe to re-freeze chicken meat that has been defrosted is a mix between two issues: quality and safety. While it is safe to put chicken that has been defrosted below 5 degrees, back into the freezer, freezing and re-freezing chicken may deteriorate the quality of the meat. The reduction in quality can be caused by a number of things, but it includes the formation of ice crystals in the cells of the meat that can ‘break down’ the meat so that it no longer looks as good as it did when it was bought. This affects the look of the chicken meat much more than the taste, and definitely does not affect the safety of the chicken – it is still fine to cook for dinner!

Any time chicken meat is defrosted, it is very important that it is defrosted in the fridge, below 5 degrees, and it is best to store defrosting meat on the lowest shelf in the fridge.

Why defrost in the fridge? If you defrost on the kitchen bench then re-freeze it, you’ll be storing any bacteria that have multiplied during thawing at room temperature, which can start growing again next time you defrost it! And the more bacteria that are present, the greater the risk that someone might get sick. Thorough cooking will destroy the bacteria though, so it is important to always ensure that chicken meat is cooked through, and that raw meat doesn’t come into contact with anything already cooked or that will be eaten raw (like some veggies).

Why the lowest shelf of the fridge? Well there are two reasons for this: 1. It is coldest at the bottom of the fridge and 2. It avoids any water or ‘meat juice’ from the defrosting chicken from dripping onto foods lower in the fridge. These reasons are really important for food safety, because any bacteria that might be present on the chicken meat (and therefore also in the juices) can grow at temperatures outside the fridge and this is when it can go ‘off’ and potentially make people sick if it isn’t handled correctly and cooked thoroughly.

So remember it is safe to re-freeze chicken meat that has been defrosted but always remember in the fridge and not for longer than a day.

Busted!

For more information on busting this myth and food safety advice visit http://www.chicken.org.au/foodsafety/ and http://www.foodsafety.asn.au

Food Safety

Selective breeding – why is it important and what does it mean?

Selective breeding – why is it important and what does it mean?

In an earlier blog, I described how modern meat chickens have been selectively bred to grow well and put on a lot of muscle (meat), in the context of explaining that these characteristics have been achieved without the use of hormones (hormones not having ever been fed or in any way administered to meat chickens in Australia for over 50 years) – see: Chookchat – the hormone myth

In another blog, I explained how different selective breeding paths had led to separate chicken breeds for commercial meat chickens and egg laying chickens which not only perform very differently (one grows to a large body size and carries lots of meat; the other produces lots of eggs), but which also look quite different too.

In this month’s blog, I’ll explain a little bit more about how traditional selective breeding works in the modern chicken meat industry, why we do it, and what the impacts are for the chickens, the industry and consumers.

Selective breeding – why?

First, a bit of background.

Since the time man first domesticated animals, selective breeding has been used to develop better or more useful strains (or breeds) of the animals from the genetic diversity that naturally exists in the population of a single species.

Heard of Charles Darwin? Well, he was the first to describe the connection between domestication, selection and evolution. In the first chapter of his famous book, “On the Origin of the Species”, Darwin discussed how domestication and selective breeding had produced significant changes over time in a range of animals, including dogs, cattle and pigeons. He went on to expand on how deliberate selective breeding by man has been used to create desired changes in domesticated animals in his 1868 book “The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication”.

Just consider what we’ve done with the following animals:

Dogs – Through selection and cross breeding, a vast diversity of breeds of dog has been developed over the centuries, including breeds which are highly suited for:

  • Herding livestock – e.g. Border Collies, Cattle Dogs and Corgis (yes, Corgis were bred for herding cattle and sheep!)
  • Hauling and pulling – e.g. Siberian Huskies
  • Hunting – e.g. Retrievers to retrieve kills during a hunt, Spaniels for flushing birds out of bushes, Rhodesian Ridgebacks for hunting lions, and Terriers for finding, digging out and killing rats and other vermin
  • Guarding and protection – e.g. Doberman Pinscher
  • Lapdogs – for, well, keeping your lap warm I guess!

Dog breeds

Photography: www.istockphoto.com

Horses – some were developed for heavy work like ploughing or pulling carts (e.g. Clydesdales), some for carrying men to war, some for speed and racing (e.g. Thoroughbreds).

Cattle – like all domesticated animals, cattle have been bred to be quieter and more manageable. Different breeds of cattle have also been developed which either produce more milk (e.g. Friesians and Jerseys) or more meat (e.g. Charolais).

Chickens – different breeds have been developed that are smaller (bantams), or produce more eggs, or which are larger and more ‘meaty’, or just aesthetically unique!

Some fancy breeds of chicken were just bred for their good looks!

Some fancy breeds of chicken were just bred for their good looks!

A modern hybrid meat chicken

A modern hybrid meat chicken

All of this has been achieved using a very simple ‘tool’ – and that is selective breeding.


How is it done?

The principle of selective breeding is simple – it relies on the selection of individual animals which show the most desirable characteristics as the parents for the next generation in the breeding program, and repeating this process over many generations.

Selective breeding is particularly effective for animals that have a short reproductive cycle, the number of offspring are high and the breeding effort is focused and involves a large number of animals. This fits the chicken perfectly because a chicken becomes sexually mature within less than 6 months and can produce more than 200 eggs in one year. There are currently a small number of specialised breeding companies that undertake programs for meat chickens as part of an international effort to produce the ideal meat chicken! These efforts have been going on for decades, so it is easy to see why selective breeding has been so successful in the meat chicken industry.

Does selective breeding make something a Genetically Modified Organism?

No!

Genetic engineering, often referred to as genetic modification, is the direct manipulation of an organism’s genome (set of genes) using biotechnology. It could, for example, involve extracting the genes from one plant or animal and inserting them into the genome of a totally different species. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are generally defined as organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or recombination.

Traditional selective breeding, on the other hand, leads to gradual but cumulative changes in a population of animals over time using natural processes. Selective breeding therefore does not make an animal a Genetically Modified Organism, and modern breeds of chickens are no more Genetically Modified than your pet Poodle or Labrador.

So, the breeding of modern meat chickens isn’t something out of science fiction; but is it rocket science? Well, the answer is yes and no! No, because the principle is so simple – just mate the animals with the most desirable characteristics with each other to produce the next generation. And yes? Because the technologies used to choose the best parents to produce the next generation from can be cutting edge. For example, chicken breeding companies have used an X-ray unit called a lixiscope to identify subclinical leg bone abnormalities in meat chicken breeding stock, allowing them to actively select against its presence in breeding stock, thereby improving overall leg health in meat chicken breeds – funnily enough, the lixiscope was in fact developed by NASA scientists! Meat chicken breeding companies have also used a technique called pulse oximetry to measure the oxygen saturation levels in the blood of chickens, an important indicator of susceptibility to several metabolic diseases, in order to develop breeds which have stronger cardio-vascular and respiratory systems.

Will we ever see GM chickens used commercially?

I preface my comments here by saying that I’m personally not opposed to the use of Genetic Modification (GM) technologies to improve agricultural productivity, if it can produce significant benefits in a shorter time frame, and so long as the products are properly evaluated so that they pose no risk to the environment, human health or food safety and animal welfare.

But will the Australian chicken industry ever use breeds of chicken derived from GM technologies? Well, maybe, but I believe it would only do so if the outcome wasn’t just about improvements in productivity (i.e. something in it for the producers); it would have to be for some characteristic which has broader community or social benefit, for example, birds resistant to avian influenza.

What are meat chickens selected for?

The focus of meat chicken breeding programs has itself evolved quite dramatically over the years. In the 1960s, the goal of selective breeding in meat chickens was basically all about increased growth rate and increased meat production (i.e. producing larger chickens in less time). These days, the approach is much more balanced, with health and welfare very important breeding targets. This is illustrated in the figure below, which I have extracted from the ACMF website and which compares the 1960 breeding goals of a major meat chicken breeding company with its goals in 2013. This shows that the focus has changed from growth and yield to a broad spectrum of outcomes, with a clear emphasis on improving animal welfare, reproduction and fitness outcomes.selective breeding targets

Why is it important to the chicken industry?

It is estimated that somewhere between 60 – 80% of the significant gains in meat chicken performance that have been made over the past 60 years are due to genetic improvements made in the breeds that are available and used commercially.

These have all been made possible by traditional selective breeding.

Why should it be important to consumers of chicken meat?

Consumers have benefitted from the improvements in productivity that have resulted from the gains made through selective breeding, particularly in terms of lower prices for chicken meat, greater availability of chicken meat, and more consistent quality. It’s selective breeding that’s allowed chicken to become a regular part of our Australian diet, rather than a special treat, only affordable on special occasions (which was the case when I was a child).

And what about the chickens themselves?

You’ll have to wait and see, because in next month’s blog I’m going to discuss something that’s very close to my heart…and that’s chicken behaviour, and whether and how it might have been changed in the course of the development of modern meat chicken breeds.

So join me next month for a journey through the behavioural repertoire of a modern meat chicken.

Australian Chicken – truly home grown!

Why new Country of Origin labelling?

Remember the frozen berry recall in February this year? If so, you may also recall that this incident led to widespread calls for better information to be provided on the label of food products sold in Australia so that consumers could understand where the food had been produced and/or where the ingredients in it had been grown. In reality, this matter had been under consideration by the Australian government for some time – indeed a report on an inquiry into country of origin labelling of foods had been released in October 2014. Nevertheless, the frozen berry incident undoubtedly provided significant impetus for the development of a system for country of origin labelling of food in Australia.

The outcome of this is that the Australian Government is proposing a new labelling system to deliver clearer and more consistent messages regarding the country of origin of foods sold in Australia. The proposed new system was announced in July.

The new labeling system is a big step towards ending the confusion around country of origin labeling, especially for consumers who want to know how much of a product was manufactured or grown locally.

ChookChat_Infographic#6_780x1420px_Final

How will it affect chicken meat?

Three years ago, the ACMF undertook a survey which revealed that widespread misconceptions out there in the community about the origin of chicken meat sold in Australia, with over 65 percent of Australians believing that some, most or even all of chicken meat in Australia is imported ((Ref: Galaxy Research, Australians aged 18-64 years, sample 1,218 respondents, July, 2012). This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, as I explained in my blog back in March:
All fresh and frozen raw chicken meat and virtually all further processed and cooked chicken products that are offered for sale in Australia have been produced in Australia (and I mean the chickens have been grown on Australian farms, and processed in Australian processing plants, to Australian standards). Some cooked chicken meat (probably less than half a percent of all chicken meat sold in Australia), is imported, but only if the chicken meat has been processed in accordance with the required protocols (which include prolonged exposure to high temperatures) to destroy viruses and bacteria of concern and to ensure that there is no unacceptable risk to consumers or Australian poultry. This product mainly ends up as an ingredient to processed food (e.g. in canned chicken, soups or animal food). A small amount of cooked chicken meat is also imported from New Zealand.

What will the consumer see in store?

Once introduced, consumers will see statements about where the food was produced, grown, made or packaged. Most Australian food will carry the familiar green kangaroo symbol and an indication of the proportion of Australian ingredients through a statement and a bar graph on the packaging. The new system will also provide clearer rules around when food labels can carry ‘made in’ or ‘packed in’ statements.

The new labelling system is expected to be rolled out in 2016.

What about chicken labels specifically?

Because virtually all chicken meat on sale in Australia has been grown and produced in Australia, you could expect:
• On all fresh chicken, consumers could expect to see ‘Grown In’ Australia country of origin claims.
• On frozen value added chicken products, consumers could expect to see ‘Packed In’ statements and ‘Made In’ Australia claims from 100% Australian chicken / or xx% Australian ingredients.
• On the small range of products containing imported chicken (for example some canned chicken products), consumers will see statements regarding the country of origin eg ‘Made in New Zealand’.

So, will the proposed new country of origin labelling system help to correct existing misconceptions? I hope it will provide reassurance and a reminder to Australian consumers that, whether it is frozen, fresh or value added, close to 100% of all chicken sold in Australia is locally grown. Look out for familiar green and gold on pack!

Halal Chicken – what does it really mean?

One issue that continues to be raised regularly by consumers surrounds the production and supply of Halal chicken. Questions raised with the ACMF include where can I buy Halal chicken? where can I buy non-Halal chicken? why do chicken producers supply it? why don’t they produce or supply it? and, what does the production of Halal chicken entail?

There’s certainly a lot of confusion out there amongst consumers (and often a lot of emotion behind it), but also a lot of misconceptions about what Halal chicken means, how it is produced and what it means in terms of bird welfare, price and many other aspects.

I hope to be able to provide a bit more clarity in this blog about what Halal chicken in Australia really means.

What is Halal Chicken?

Halal food is food which adheres to Islamic law, and is therefore acceptable for Muslims to eat. Halal food laws specify not only what types of foods and beverages are allowed to be eaten, but also how the food is prepared.

Therefore, Halal chicken has been processed and prepared according to Islamic law.

In practice, in Australia this means the following:
• a prayer is spoken at the commencement of slaughtering in the processing plant;
• the person supervising the slaughtering process must be of Muslim faith; and
• the processing plant has to be accredited by the local Muslim cleric.

If you actually went to a Halal accredited processing plant and witnessed the processing of chickens, you would not be able to distinguish it from what happens in a non-Halal plant. All birds are stunned prior to slaughter. For bird welfare and product quality reasons, all plants need to have at least one person supervising the slaughtering process, whether Halal or not, so staffing levels are identical whether producing Halal chicken or not.

Oh yes! And by the way, the way that the chickens are farmed and managed prior to their arrival at the processing plant is no different from any other chicken.

What’s Halal certification?

As inferred above, companies who want to be able to label all or some of their chicken as Halal pay a fee to have their processing plant accredited by their local Muslim certification body, and they may also be subjected to and pay for periodic audits to ensure that they are complying with the certification requirements.

Accreditation guarantees to those wanting to buy Halal chicken that nothing in the product has any forbidden ingredients and that the birds have been slaughtered according to Halal principles.

Is all of the product coming out of an Halal accredited processing plant labelled and sold as Halal?

Not necessarily. There are some processing plants that only produce and market Halal chicken. There are other processing plants that do not have a Halal market and so do not therefore need Halal certification. However, many processing plants will supply the Halal market as a small component of their overall market. Because the logistics of processing the chickens is the same for both Halal and non-Halal products and there is not an overall additional cost involved, approved plants may process a whole day’s birds observing the Halal requirements, with only some of the product being required to be Halal certified and labelled as such.

Some common misconceptions:

1. The Halal slaughter process is somehow ‘cruel’

WRONG!

This misconception seems to stem from an incorrect belief that chickens killed in Halal in Australia have not been stunned prior to slaughter. This misconception has possibly arisen because the procedures for Halal slaughter can vary from place to place due to differing interpretations of the Koran, and Halal slaughter in overseas abattoirs may not always include stunning. However, in Australia it in all cases does.

All Halal slaughter of chickens in Australia includes prior stunning.

The stunning process doesn’t kill the birds; it is a process used to render the chickens instantaneously unconscious and insensible to pain prior to them being killed. Perhaps not a subject many people want to hear about, but the birds are actually slaughtered by severing of the blood vessels in their necks, so that they die from blood loss (exsanguination). However, the stunning process ensures that they do not regain consciousness prior to their actual death by exsanguination.

2. All consumers of chicken meat end up paying more because of the costs of Halal accreditation, even if they don’t want Halal chicken themselves

NO!

To meet the Halal accreditation requirements imposes minimal additional costs on chicken processors. For a start, chicken processors have to have someone supervising the killing process – so there are no additional staff involved. For a plant which has both an Halal and non-Halal market, to change staff and segregate product based just on the minimal requirements involved just wouldn’t make commercial sense – it is simply more efficient to apply the practices required across the whole production run than to change staff / practices and segregate product.

In reality, processing plants are subject to or participate in a range of certification and auditing programs covering a range of product attributes such as bird welfare and product safety or quality. Some of these are required by different customers or the various market sectors they supply. The bigger the plant, generally the more diverse the market it serves and the greater the number of certification and auditing programs it will need to adhere to. In most cases it is more cost effective to simply run the practices required by the each program across the entire production run, so that all product qualifies to be labelled and marketed as complying with the requirements of a range of different customers or market segments, even though not all products will actually be labelled as complying with each program.

Being able to access an expanded market in this way means that the processor is able to spread its plant fixed and operating costs over more chickens processed. This means that any relatively minor costs involved in complying with a program (such as Halal certification fees) are more than compensated for by the additional market that can be serviced. Consequently, in the case of Halal accredited chicken, neither the Muslim customer buying certified Halal products nor the customer buying product that is not certified Halal is paying any more for chicken meat.

What to do if you are wanting to source Halal chicken meat

If you are wanting to buy guaranteed Halal chicken meat, simply check that the product you are buying is labelled as Halal, or ask the shop where you are buying from to confirm that the product you wish to purchase has come from a Halal accredited processing plant. There are also some websites that provide information on where Halal meat is sold and butcher shops in areas with a high Muslim population often advertise their meat, including chicken, as being Halal.

What to do if you are wanting to source chicken meat from a plant which is non-Halal

While I personally can see no reason not to buy chicken meat that has been supplied from a processing plant that also supplies Halal chicken meat, I understand that there are some consumers who have a different view. If that’s the case, then I suggest you ask your chicken retailer to check whether their supplier plants are Halal accredited.

More information?

For more information on Halal from an Australian perspective, check out the range of FAQs on this subject on the ACMF website: http://www.chicken.org.au/page.php?id=150

Chicken feed – what’s in it?

We’re commonly asked what meat chickens are fed in Australia. Well, chickens are fed diets that are formulated from a broad range of potential feed ingredients (predominantly grains) that are mixed together to meet the precise nutrient profile required by the bird at its different stages of growth.

As a result, chicken diets are primarily made up of macro ingredients such as cereal grains (eg wheat, barley and sorghum) and oilseed meals (such as soya bean or canola meal) or animal by-product meals.

Cereal grains make up between 60-70% of the diet and are the major source of energy in the diet. Other energy sources, such as plant or animal fats and oils, may be added to achieve the desired energy content of the diet.

Chicken Feed Infographic Continue reading

Farm tours shift perceptions around industry secrecy

So, you may have seen photos of a chicken farm – even driven past one at some point – and seen the large sheds…maybe even a sign at the farm gate advising that there is no entry…that you need to call the farmer first, and you may have thought “but where are the chickens?” and “why can’t we see them?”. Some people have taken that further to think that this means there is some big secret hidden behind that farm gate and inside the grey shed walls…the more imaginative have even gone so far as to suggest that there must be something sinister going on inside.

Chook Chat - Industry Tour

 Not so! Continue reading

The Hormone Myth

How many times have you heard people talk about hormones in chicken meat? …that hormones are ‘fed’ to chickens? … that the hormones in chicken meat are causing an epidemic of early maturity/puberty in our young kids today?

Well, guess what? All the above are simply UNTRUE!  In fact, hormones haven’t been fed or in any other way administered to chickens here in Australia for over 50 years!

Despite this reality, around 80% of Australians continue to believe the industry feeds hormones to its chickens. How can this urban myth be so firmly ingrained in our beliefs?

No Hormones Infographic

No Hormones

Well, here’s my take on this. Continue reading