What is in chicken meat?

By | February 4, 2016


There is a growing awareness of people asking what is in chicken meat and more specifically what is in chicken nuggets or other processed meat.  There is a rising concern about the way chicken is being raised in large confinement factory farms and is it safe to eat.

What are you buying at the store?

When we pick up a package of chicken at the store do we really know were it came from?  Was it even raised in the US?  TheGrocery store meat selection thing with buying chicken meat in the store is that we don’t really know what that chicken has gone through to get there from the growing to the processing.  I will share a few of the many concerns we need to look at to determine if the chicken in the grocery store is as good as it should be.

Look at how a commercial chicken lives.

Most commercial/industrial chicken farms raise the birds in large Factory broiler farmingbarns where they are so crowded that each bird literally only has about as much room as a standard sheet of paper.  The air quality is poor due to the high concentration of manure and that creates ammonia that the birds are breathing.  They typically don’t get fresh air, sunshine, or green grass.

The food they eat.

Because of the inappropriate growing conditions the chickens are fed antibiotics to keep them alive.  It is amazing that around 80% of all antibiotics made go into livestock feed and chicken feed gets the highest dose.  Why should this be a concern?  We are seeing a great increase in antibiotic resistant diseases such as salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli.  If you keep watching the news you hear about more hard to treat infections all the time.

Another concern is that the grain used to feed the chickens is derived from genetically grown (GMO) plants that have received a high dose of pesticides and herbicides.  This shows up in the meat according to independent test labs.

Processing issues.

The industrial meat producers have done a great job at making their processing facility’s look humane, clean, and safe but when you take a look behind the scenes you can see many aspects of the processing that raise concerns.

  • The kill.  processing plants first stun the birds with either electrical shock or gas to knock out the chicken.  This doesn’t lead to proper bleed out since the birds organs are not functioning the way they normally do.  The most effective way is to place the bird upside down in a cone and use a quick sharp knife slit to the neck artery where the bird quickly looses blood pressure and essentially blacks out while the heart keeps pumping and bleeds the bird out thoroughly.  This is the proper kill technique the Bible refers to as well.
  • Chlorine bath.  Because of the unsanitary growing conditions the chickens go through a series of chlorine baths to disinfect the birds and get rid of the the ammonia smell.  Traces of the chlorine remain in the meat and cause digestive problems for consumers.
  • Plumping with water.  Yes, hard to believe but 15% of your chicken weight that you bought from the store is water that was used to inject into the meat to make it look bigger than it really is.  That is why there is so much more shrinkage when cooking store bought chicken compared to naturally grown chicken.

Processed chicken meat.

I see where this is the biggest issue with chicken meat today.  The boneless chicken meat that is most commonly in the form of chicken nuggets.  Highly processed chicken products have been increasing greatly in the past few years and one of the biggest concerns about this is the processor can use more and more poor quality meat in these products.  It makes it easier to use more bioengineering which is genetically altered meat that has been found to be dangerous in independent test that have been done on genetically altered food.

Where’s the meat?

Only half of a chicken nugget is actually chicken meat. So, what is the rest of it made of?

  • Fillers like genetically altered (GMO) corn and soy.
  • Sugar and not just any sugar but often high fructose corn syrup which is difficult to digest and is also GMO.  This makes for a false sense of taste (they do taste good) and makes them addictive and causes you to over eat.
  • Artificial colors and flavors and one of the worst is MSG (monosodium glutamate) a known neurotoxin.

What can I do?

The large corporate food industry is doing what it is designed to do and that is make as much low cost food as possible.  That may look good on the price tag at the store however large scale food production comes with some heavy unseen price tags.  Those unseen cost are health, environmental, animal welfare, economic, and social issue that it creates. Everyone has a choice to make.  You can keep buying their inferior products that probably shouldn’t be called food or you can choose to give your food dollars to healthy, sustainable, safe, nutritious, and delicious food that supports life.

What is the alternative?pastured meat chickens

There is a growing number of producers with a focus on high quality nutrient dense food that is safe and free of the harmful drugs, chemicals and artificial ingredients.  The best thing to do is try to buy local as often as possible.  When you develop a close relationship with the folks growing your food you develop trust and accountability.  That is why we like to have our customers see for themselves how we raise our food.   We raise our meat chickens in portable floorless pens that allows the chicken to enjoy fresh grass as we move them daily. They get plenty of sunshine and clean water.  Our pens provide plenty of room for them to move around.  We use a feed that is free of chemicals, antibiotics, and GMO’s.  This method produces superior quality chicken meat.  You can see more about what we offer at our store page and if you can’t find a local supplier you can Pasture raised chickens take a look at our page on where to by grass fed meat and see a few hand picked places that you can buy from online.  These are businesses I would use if I couldn’t grow our own or buy locally.

So glad you are making steps to understand the health and safety of your food and I hope this informations helps.  Please leave a comment below as I enjoy hearing what you have to say whether you agree or not.

Thanks and God bless!


8 thoughts on “What is in chicken meat?

  1. Simone

    I have friends who recently became vegetarians and they are always telling me how bad the meat I am eating is. We were actually just talking about what is in chicken meat this weekend. They mentioned some of the points you discussed in your article such as the processing issues and what the chicken is actually eating.

    Luckily I typically only eat chicken breast so I don’t have to worry about fillers, but I do get chicken nuggets/fingers for my kids. I always make sure to get brands that say “no fillers added” and “white meat only”. These aren’t necessarily organic, but I figured this would help.

    I cannot afford organic food, especially meat. But I will try and find the best non-organic food that I can. Like choosing local over imports.

    1. Jason

      I can understand why some people give up meat totally if you listen to all the scary stories about meat but there is a lot of benefits that are given up as well when you avoid meat. Good quality meat has nutritional value that you can’t get from just plant based diets and the fat in quality meats is important to a healthy diet as well. I believe a vegetarian diet could be healthy however most all of the plants grown today are grown in nutrient deficient soil so the plants are nutrient deficient as well. There is so much great research done on nutrition today and one of the best places to get information on this is at the weston price website.

  2. Carl

    I have been vegetarian for nearly four months and things like this are the reason why I chose to make the decision. The quality of life that these animals have to endure is something that I cannot condone by giving my money to that company. People that claim that a vegetarian diet is too deficient in calories and protein are simply not well educated enough on the topic.

    I am a collegiate football player in my 2nd year (sophomore) and I have had ZERO problems getting enough daily calories/protein in during the day, and my cardio endurance has gone up tremendously since making the transition. thank you for making this post to help spread the word of what people are putting in there bodies that are simply just awful for them, and killing millions of animals in the process.

    1. Jason

      Thanks for sharing your experience here Carl. I totally get why you decided to go vegetarian and I do believe you can be healthy if you can keep a steady supply of nutrient dense foods, however this is very hard to do today with such depletion of our soils. We have found that it takes animal impact to produce healthy vibrant growing conditions/soil and maintain an ecological balance. Our animals help produce the nutrient dense plant food we need as well as nutrient dense meat. For us to be vegetarians we would be disrespecting our animals and not obeying the balance that our Creator has established.

  3. Aimee

    A few years ago I was introduced to the ideas of factory farming that you speak of in this post. At the time, it was heart-wrenching to learn. Now, upon reading your words, it serves as a reminder and this time fuels some anger inside of me. It frustrates me to the max that these meats are allowed to be sold in supermarkets… and furthermore, that people are not being educated about this.

    We have been purchasing our meat from our local farmer’s market ever since, and have found that the cost of quality meat can actually be better sometimes than what it is sold for at the grocery stores. Please, support your local farmers! Help them to prosper so that they can prevail.

    Thank you for doing your part in educating the world. You are providing a great service to your local community members. Keep up the great service!!

    1. Jason

      Thanks for your encouragement Aimee! It is a difficult subject for many people to understand how the industrial food system works because the “system” has done a great job of keeping most folks in the dark. So glad to hear you have a good local source for your food. My prayer is that more people will take their food dollars and support local safe sustainable food producers for that is the only way change will happen.

  4. Richard U

    I like this post a lot first because it talks about food which is my niche area. Secondly, because the owner is passionate about his niche just as I am.

    I mean we wouldn’t be here if we could find the right healthy food to eat and sustain life right?

    Before I digress, well done on this article I like the details. I am sure the research would be painstaking but yeah good content always wins.. I know.

    A little bit deeper into where the food comes from which is good thing as I know it shows you are in control.

    Thanks for sharing it is a wonderful read.

    1. Jason

      Thanks for stopping by Richard! Always good to chat with someone that aprecieates quality healthy food. You are so right in saying it is hard to do the research to find what healthy food is and where and how to find it. Keep demanding the best food for the best health.


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