Non-GMO, free range, gluten free, organic. With all of the labels on packages today it’s hard to know what to pick and even harder to know what some of those claims really mean.
Farmer Focus organic chicken has created a way to bring more transparency to that system. Their farm ID, on every package of chicken, allows you to trace your chicken back to the farmer that raised it and see the standards for yourself.
To better understand these claims and why farm traceability matters, we spoke to the folks at Farmer Focus:
What does it mean to be certified organic?
Simply put, the term “organic” refers to the standards for a bird’s diet and environment. This means:
- Diet: Farmer Focus chicken is fed an all organic, non-GMO diet of corn and soybean meal. This blend is also Non-GMO Project Verified and free of any chemical fertilizers.
- Environment: According to the USDA, organically raised birds must be given access to the outdoors, weather permitting. However, this standard is vague and means that some companies only provide windows for chickens to peer through instead of space outdoors and enrichments.
Because this definition of outdoor access is not specific enough, Farmer Focus works with the Certified Humane Program to better specify how our partnering farmers implement outdoor access, or “free range” systems.
What is Certified Humane and how does it define free-range?
Created by the Humane Farm Animal Care Standards, the Certified Humane Program sets strict standards for humane animal treatment. These standards are set with the assistance of scientific research, veterinary advice, and farmers’ experience. The Certified Humane Program is especially unique because it offers strict objectives for the claim “free-range,” which is not yet federally defined. As mentioned above, this a more concrete way to define this term for Farmer Focus’s partnering farms.
To raise free-range chicken according to the Certified Humane standards, Farmer Focus chickens are given a minimum of two square feet of outdoor space with living vegetation and shade structures by the time they reach four weeks of age. Access lasts eight hours per day, as long as the weather permits and there’s enough daylight—this means that the temperatures should be at least 65 F when the chickens are outdoors, to ensure optimal health.
In addition to Certified Humane, Farmer Focus offers a variety of other claims that improve our product and offer further transparency to customers.
What other certifications does Farmer Focus offer?
- Non-GMO Project Verified – This certification ensures that there are no GMO ingredients in anything Farmer Focus does. From the seasoning on our pre-seasoned products to the feed on our farms, you can rest assured they’re all GMO free.
- Gluten Free – All of the chicken sold by Farmer Focus is gluten free. While that may not be surprising for our standard products, this claim is also true for our new pre-seasoned line. Rich red curry, lemon pepper, toasted lager, savory chophouse, and our zesty Peruvian pre-seasoned products are all gluten free and contain little to no sugar.
- Halal – Every Farmer Focus product is certified halal through the ISWA.
- Traceability – While it isn’t a certification, every package of Farmer Focus chicken is traceable back to the farmer, allowing you transparency into our certifications. To see a list of our partner farms, and to learn more about the families that raise our chickens, head to the Farmer Focus website.
What’s in it for me?
The way chicken is raised directly affects its nutritional value. Studies have shown that organically-grown meat contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, the Organic Trade Association has found that organic farms emit 30% less greenhouse gasses than conventional farms.
When you buy Farmer Focus chicken, you know that you are supporting a local farmer, making an environmentally conscious decision, and ensuring a high quality of life for chickens. You can be assured you’re also getting the best quality food for your family—food produced as nature intended. And, of course, the chicken is delicious!