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Supermarket Guide to Buying Chicken

What do packaging labels on poultry really mean for consumers?

As consumers demand ever more information about their chicken, producers and government regulators have responded with labels that are supposed to take the mystique out of your bird. Unfortunately, deciphering these labels can make even the most Zen among us feel like a chicken with its head cut off. Here is our guide to truth in poultry labeling.

Raised Without Antibiotics

This term indicates that the chicken was raised without antibiotics for health maintenance, disease prevention or treatment of disease. Medications not classified as antibiotics may still be used. “Antibiotic-free” is not allowed to be used on labels but may appear in marketing (e.g., websites, etc.). All chicken is “antibiotic-free,” as no antibiotic residues are present in the meat due to the withdrawal periods and other precautions required by the government.

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