Whenever I buy chicken for my family, I do feel a tinge of guilt that it’s not the organic variety. In fact, it’s very rare that I purchase even just the regular type that comes in ‘pretty’ packaging – I option for the best bang for my buck.
Of course, I’ve worried that the stuff I’ve been serving my family isn’t the healthiest option.
But, like countless fellow Canadians out there, I’ve been worrying needlessly. I recently learned that it’s just one more thing to add to the old ‘mom guilt checklist.
According to research from The BC Chicken Growers’ Association, 64% of British Columbians believe that hormones and steroids are added to the chicken they eat.
With so many people believing it, there must be some truth to it, right?
Wrong, according to Raymond Bredenhof and Daryl Arnold – two BC Chicken Farmers who were at the Save on Foods in South Surrey last week to dispel this myth and talk about chicken growing practices in the province.
While the two farmers may come from two different chicken farms in the Fraser Valley, they share a common goal – to keep their chickens comfortable and healthy because that’s the best way to deliver a nutritious, tasty product.
“The use of hormones and steroids in Canadian poultry has been banned for over fifty years,” explained Bredenhof, who stands by his product –quite literally.
Sporting black t-shirts with the words ‘BC Chicken Squad’ printed boldly across the front, the pair of poultry pros were stationed in the meat section, right next to the product they’ve supplied the store themselves over the years.
Arnold, the owner of the Moonlight Chicken Farm in Surrey at 168 and 66th Ave., noted that customers were curious, but happy to chat with them and learn the truth about their chicken once and for all.
“We’re here today to meet with the customers and let them know about where they buy their chicken from. There may be a lot of misconceptions, but I’ve got nothing to hide – I’m proud of what we do!”
Aside from being unhealthy for both the consumer and the chickens, the act of injecting hormones would create a whole lot of unnecessary work for chicken farmers, according to Bredenhof, who owns R & T Poultry with his wife Tracey and four children.
“I have 40,000 chickens on my farm. Can you imagine having to inject each and every one of them by hand with 40,000 viles of hormones?”
While it’s usually the media that gets blasted for propagating fear, Arnold says the World Wide Web is to blame.
“There’s a lot of bad info on the Internet. However, a lot of celebrities will stand by it and say it’s the gospel, so people listen.”
When asked if the chicken without all the fancy labelling is just as safe as its more costly neighbours in the meat cooler, Arnold smiled and went over to the cooler to pick up a package of chicken breasts.
“This is exactly the stuff that we produce – it’s grown and consumer here in the Fraser Valley and is what I feed my own family.”
Strict guidelines in Canada for the care and handling of poultry are enforced by a team of dedicated inspectors ensuring that the chicken we eat is raised according to the highest standards. Learn more about those standards at http://www.chickensquad.ca