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What Makes Organic Chicken Organic?

Nowadays many people are concerned about where their food comes from, how it’s been raised and what it’s been fed. But sometimes, walking into the grocery store can feel overwhelming with all the different food labels on display.  If you're tempted to buy organic chicken, but you're not sure what it means, read on! In order to be certified organic, chicken farms must follow a strict set of guidelines and be inspected annually by a third-party certification body to ensure those standards are met.

These standards include:

  • The birds must be raised organically no later than two days after they hatch;
  • They must be fed certified organic feed for their entire lives. Organic feed cannot contain animal by-products, antibiotics or genetically engineered grains and cannot be grown using persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
  • It is prohibited to give drugs, antibiotics and hormones to organic birds (please note: federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones in raising poultry).
  • All birds must have outdoor access.

Plus, organic chicken sold at Whole Foods Market has also been certified to the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program! If that’s not enough to tempt you, our organic chicken will be featured from August 12th to the 14th. So, next time you are in your local store, why don’t you try our flavorful organic chicken and tell us what you think!

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163 comments

Comments

rosebud92107 says …

I wish wholefoods would carry FreeBird organic chicken. Of all the brands of organic chicken that I've used for my recipes, FreeBird has the best tasting organic chicken. I still have to travel 20 miles to get to the store selling this brand. I buy at whoelfoods all the time, it's just a couple miles away from my place and I love organic food.

D. M says …

Does the Waugh Dr store or any area Houston store, carry organic chicken that has not been fed soy?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@DM - I would suggest reaching out to the store directly. More than likely they will only have a small amount (if any) chickens that are soy-free. The meat team will be happy to help!

maryannleonard says …

I am very concerned about the USDA's recent approval of allowing chickens raised in the USA to be processed and cooked in China, then shipped back to the USA. I believe this to be a danger to our citizens. I am a Whole Foods shopper and I buy only organic products. Thank you for continuing to uphold safe food standards.

Karen Berg says …

Are the chickens fed any soy, gmo or otherwise?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@KAREN - One of the bullet points in the post talks about the feed: "They must be fed certified organic feed for their entire lives. Organic feed cannot contain animal by-products, antibiotics or genetically engineered grains and cannot be grown using persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers." This means that it is possible the chickens are fed soy, but it must be certified non-GMO soy feed. With anything organic, USDA standards prohibit the use of any GMOs.

Lea Daigneault says …

Please carry Organic Step 5 Chicken Breasts. I used to purchase Step 4 Organic Chicken Breasts from Whole Foods every week, but now you have switched to a Step 3. Preferably, I would like to be able to buy only Organic, Fully Pastured Chicken Breasts at Whole Foods.

ruth says …

thanks for the info.'Free range' is as important to me personally because of the quality of life for the birds. Why isn't it advertised along with the word 'organic' in the packaging. I think many people are confused as to whether 'organic' naturally involves free range. An does 'access to outdoors' mean the same as 'free range'?

Biswajit Chakraborty says …

Dear, I am very enthused to know about organic chicken. Kindly give me some vast idea about organic chicken make procedure & preservation technique. Thanks & regards, Biswajit chakraborty

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@RUTH - According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Standards, all organic livestock are required to have access to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, and direct sunlight suitable to the species, the climate, and the environment.

Hilda Liegl says …

My son suffers from gout and has had episodes for 10 years. I switched his meat to organic chicken breast and give him once or twice a month organic beef. He has not had an episode in over three years. He eats as much organic fruits, vegetables and grains and nuts as he can. The difference is amazing. I just like organic because it tastes better. I love Whote Foods for having such a wide selection. Thanks.

Ann Marie Dowd says …

what are the chickens fed? is it corn or soy?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ANN - It will vary between vendors. Overall, all feed would have to be certified organic regardless of the type.

cheryl nashbar says …

I buy your organic chicken and it is very good.... but it always has a smell like it's not fresh.... should I bring it back .... It's opened days before the expiration date. Also If you are so passionate about your organic meats and chicken then WHY do you sell the "other" chicken ... it makes me very uncomfortable when I see this ALSO Why do you sell beef labeled "Grass Fed" and when I ask if it's 100% grass fed the answer is no .... and you put them so close together in the case ... Why sell the "other" beef ?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CHERYL - If you are concerned about the meat you purchase I would suggest reaching out to your store to touch base. Also, we carry a wide variety of meats to provide options for our wide customer base.

Cynthia Foran says …

Thanks for all your good information on your products! It helps us to make educated decisions on what we eat.

Phrygian says …

Do you sell the bones from these chickens? I have a hard time finding them to make stock with.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PHRYGIAN - I would suggest checking with your local butcher to see if they can set some of the bones aside for you.

Sue says …

I have breast cancer and wonder if your organic chickens are fed soybeans? Thanks.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SUE - If the chicken is certified organic, it can still be fed soy, but it would just be organic soy. Check with your local store to see if they have soy free options.

Jake Ritchie says …

Hello, I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions. The Organic Chicken that is on display at your store (in the blue packaging), I was wondering if you had any plans to change the plastic container that it comes in? Is this plastic safe? I usually notice the chicken has an immediate strange smell from the packaging after opening and it contains a lot "slime". Any information would be great! Thank you!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JAKE - Our meat vendors will differ between stores. Check with the meat team at your local store to see if they can find out if there is alternative packaging. The meat team might be able to package organic chicken they have in the case in paper wrapping.

gary mendoza says …

Thank you for your information, I'm a single father trying to raise my daughter , as healthy as i can.as they say healthy body healthy mind.

Charles Banks says …

I tried your organic chicken breast for the first time, and I love it. From now on, Organic is for me. Thanks!

W Menendez says …

Is your organic chicken sold in Hawaii free of soy? Are they fed any soy or flax?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@W MENEDEZ - I would suggest calling the store directly as our exact vendors differ between locations. If an item is organic it doesn't necessarily mean that it does not contain soy, it means that if they are fed soy, it must be certified organic soy. Most products will state if they are soy free on the package. Your meat department will be happy to help!

Ava Ascher says …

I shop at the Davis, Ca Whole Foods and I have been buying step 4 chicken for some time and about a year ago it changed to step 3. Why is this? I am disappointed to see no step 4 or step 5. I would love to buy some but it is not at your store. Don't you want to be the best of the best I think if you have it people will buy it. Also I am interested in organic pork and I have never seen it. Do you have any suggestions. Thank you

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@AVA - Since our buying is done at the store/regional level, the best point to answer these questions would be to follow up with the meat department. They can let you know if there is an option for organic pork and if they recently switch vendors which could be why there was a Step rating change.

Philip Foddrell says …

Is it true that organic farms used chicken manure from non-organic farms as fertilizer?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PHILIP - Yes, manure from non-organic operations may be used as a fertilizer on organic farms. Here is some additional background from OTA about how and why manure is used: http://www.ota.com/organic/foodsafety/manure.html

Ol says …

Hi, I am highly allergic to corn-derived citric & lactic acids, corn-derived white vinegar, chlorine. Are your chickens washed using any of these substances, or are they washed only with pure water?

Patricia (Patti) Johnson says …

i live in clearfield, pa were can i buy oreanic chix

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@PATTI - You can run a zip code search on our website to see where your closest store is located: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list. Typically our stores will carry organic chicken but you can always call to double check they have it in stock!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@OL - Since our vendors differ between stores, I would suggest check with your local store's meat department so they can check directly with the vendor.

Bill Keeney says …

Can organic chicken contain gmo's or does organic mean GMO free as well?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@BILL - All organic foods sold in the US must be certified to the USDA National Organic Standards, which prohibit the use of GMOs.

Colleen Baker says …

I live next to an organic chicken/egg factory here in WI and seeing what I see I would never waste my money on organic eggs. I would buy local or from a company that I can be sure does not purchase from a factory. Just because they say organic or free range dues not mean they have a wonderful life of pecking for food outside it just means they have a DOOR so they could go outside.

janet says …

I want to buy organic chicken, turkey that has not been fed corn or soy? Thank you

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JANET - If meat is labeled as organic, it does not mean that it is not fed corn or soy but if it they are, it must be certified organic feed. Check with your local store to see if they offer any soy or corn free options.

tom j turrisi says …

have already tried the chicken, it is the best chicken I have ever cooked and tasted. we need some frozen,organic,grass fed beef burger patties!!!! I shop at maple ave Vienna Va. store.

JJ says …

Why do you sell anything other than organic? 'Natural' can mean anything & you should be leading the way in doing away with misleading labeling & the selling of anything other than proper food.

D. says …

The organic chicken required a lot of stuff like raising free range one f the most important I been organic for years but not idiot everything have to be free range and organic the chicken of Wholeffood the organic is not really good have fat the free range chicken do not have it you have to try the white oak pastures is selling from Wholefood and the one from cherry grove organic farm those are really true ly the ones is double the price but we love it mad pay for real quality, no everything is organic follow all the rules......D.

ron says …

Do you sell sides or 1/4 sides of organic beef, whole organic hog, same for chickens/turkeys. If no, can you recommend some ranchers in Colorado or good ones to buy online? Want to buy enough chickens/turkeys for large freezer along with beef/pork. Can't find organic corn fed meet? Grass doesn't have the flavor and with little fat, hard to cook right without ruining . . . like wild game, too lean and the flavor is in the fat. Prefer Prime if we can find it. thanks. Ron

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@RON - Our exact cuts will differ between stores. Check with the meat team at your local store to see if they offer a variety of cuts or if they can special order them for you!

corceye says …

so does that mean you can guarantee that the egg was produced by an organic chicken ..cause to me thats what an organic chicken means in my definition...

Jax says …

Are your chickens fed soy?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CORCEYE - Yes, for organic eggs, hens must have access to the outdoors, are raised on organic feed, and meet USDA Organic Standards. You can find detailed info about the labels on eggs at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/food-guides/eggs.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JAX - Organic chickens can be fed soy but it must be certified organic. I would suggest looking for any items that are labeled as soy free if you're looking to avoid soy.

Susie says …

I was in Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago (I make a special trip from Simsbury once a month to shop) and none of your chicken had a number 5 label on it. Do you not carry it? Thanks.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@SUSIE - Since our exact vendors differ between stores, I would suggest checking with the meat team at your local store to find out if they ever have a Step 5 in stock. There might not be a local vendor that meets that step in your area but they can definitely check for you!

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