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Chicken Labeling: Prepare to Be Surprised

If you’ve ever stood in the supermarket wondering if paying more for chicken that is free-range, antibiotic-free, no hormones added, farm-raised, natural, and organic is going to make you healthier, wealthier, wise—or just a better person—you’re not alone. 

Recently, as I was doubting myself on my chicken choices I decided to get to the bottom of what all of this really means. It’s not what I thought.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a cabinet-level agency that oversees the regulation of food-grade chicken and is responsible for the claims on packaging and labels.

And despite all of the hype and fluff, there is only one label—organic—that guarantees specific standards and for which you might consider paying more. 

Briefly here is what all of it means—or doesn’t mean—according to the USDA.

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