It may seem that every food group in the grocery store has its own unique labeling system, making it difficult to tell which item has the highest nutritional value.
Chicken products are no different, whether consumers are purchasing drumsticks or eggs. Some of the labels consumers are confronted with include "organic," "free range," "pastured," "cage-free" and "natural."
In a recent article for the Arbitus Patch, Emily Lowe attempts to clarify what the labels mean, especially when they all seem to be positive descriptors. "Natural," Lowe claims, is the most meaningless, whereas labels like "free range," "cage-free" and "pastured" imply that chickens have room to roam, yet are laxly regulated.
For Lowe, "organic" labels are the winner. "This is the most clearly defined label, since it's sanctioned by the USDA and enforced through scheduled and random inspections," she explains. "Any chicken bearing the 'organic' label must be fed organic feed, which means it isn't grown with pesticides or genetic modifications."
However, shoppers who are still skeptical may want to try hunting out products at local farmers' markets, which could give them face time with the individuals who raised the chickens.