- How do you raise your animals?
As with the vast majority of poultry in America, our chickens and turkeys (with the exception of those labeled organic) are raised on family farms, cage-free in temperature-controlled, enclosed housing with fresh air ventilation. This protects them from the elements, disease and predators. They have constant access to food and water, periods of light and dark, and room to move about freely, exhibiting most natural behaviors. Learn more.
PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® organic chickens are raised on certified organic farms. Chicken houses have windows and doors running the length of the house. As with all organic production, our PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® organic chickens are raised free range. They have pasture areas to freely move about pecking the ground, taking dust baths, exploring the grass or simply soaking up the sunshine — doing the natural things birds do. The outdoor spaces are typically as big as the barn itself. To encourage the chickens to venture out, we have sunshades to ease the transition from barn to outdoors (chickens are very sensitive to light), water both inside and outside the house, and roosts and other enhancements.
For PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® pork products, we work directly with family farmers who share our commitment to raising hogs without antibiotics or ractopamine in a low-stress environment. Our farmers’ sow operations do not use gestation crates. Our hogs are raised in a combination of pastures, hoop barns, outdoor lots, and controlled-atmosphere barns with fresh-air ventilation. Furthermore, some of our hogs are raised in accordance with the Global Animal Partnership standards.
- What do you feed your animals?
We use an all-vegetarian diet, which means we don’t include any of the animal by-products — such as bone meal, feather meal and animal fats — that are commonly used in commercial animal feeds. (PERDUE® turkey products not labeled “All Vegetarian Diet” are the exception to our all-vegetarian diet.)
Corn and soybean (in the form of soybean meal) are the primary ingredients. Corn provides energy, and soy is an excellent source of protein. These and other grains are mixed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and probiotics to ensure a nutritionally balanced diet.
PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® organic chickens receive an organic diet, including non-GMO grains grown on certified organic farms without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. Non-GMO Project Verification gives you the added assurance that all chicken feed ingredients have been tested and verified according to the Non-GMO Project Standard for the avoidance of genetically engineered ingredients. Organic chickens are free range, so they also have the opportunity to forage for grass and bugs in the pasture.
Because more than 90% of the corn and 80% of the soybeans grown in the US are raised from genetically modified seeds, most conventional animal feeds — including those used for PERDUE® products not labeled “Organic” or “Non-GMO Project Verified” — contain GMO grains.
- Do you use hormones, steroids or other growth-promoting drugs?
Federal law prohibits the use of hormones or steroids in poultry and pork, and we’ve never used them and never will. We don’t use any other growth-promoting drugs, including antibiotics for growth promotion, or ractopamine in our hogs...
- Do you give your animals antibiotics?
All of our products labeled "No Antibiotics Ever" were raised without the use of any antibiotics, of any kind, at any time. With all of our animals, we never use antibiotics for growth promotion, never use antibiotics in the hatchery, never put antibiotics in the feed and do not need to use human antibiotics for disease prevention.
We are proud of our leadership role in minimizing the use of all antibiotics in raising our animals. Less than four percent of our chickens ever receive an antibiotic that is also used in human medicine. Some of the chickens and turkeys we raise may receive a type of animal-only antibiotic (called an ionophore) that is used to treat an intestinal illness common to chickens and turkeys.
As of February 2016, we are raising more than two-thirds of our chickens, and half of our turkeys, with NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER™. As a result, we're constantly increasing the number of NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER™ PERDUE® products. (These are clearly labeled "No Antibiotics Ever.")
No matter how hard we try, some animals will "catch something." In the rare cases when one of our veterinarians determines that an antibiotic is required for compassionate care, we will not withhold treatment. The veterinarian will prescribe a targeted antibiotic treatment, which typically lasts three days or less. Those animals are not marketed as NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER™.
Of course, all of our products are "antibiotic free." Federally mandated withdrawal periods ensure that all meat is free of antibiotic residue as defined by the USDA. The things for which a chicken or turkey may receive an antibiotic do not affect the meat, or the safety of the product. We would never process a chicken that wasn’t safe to eat. In addition, each of our chickens must pass USDA inspection at the processing plant.
- Do you use arsenic in your poultry feeds?
We do not use any arsenic or arsenic-containing ingredients in our poultry feeds.
- Where are your products raised and processed?
All of our animals are raised on farms in the US and processed in the US. We do not import
any meat, nor do we do any processing in other countries.
- What do all these different label terms mean?
All Natural means “no artificial ingredients, minimally processed.” All Natural Ingredients simply means that the ingredients meet the “all natural” definition. That gives food companies a very wide latitude to call products “all natural” or “made with all-natural ingredients.” We think consumers want meaningful information, so we’re committed to using “natural” only on single-ingredient proteins.
Organic has very specific USDA requirements, spelled out by the National Organics Standards Board. Organic chicken is raised free range on certified organic farms; fed only a non-GMO, organic diet; never given antibiotics; and processed in a certified organic plant.
Non-GMO Project Verified ensures that all our chicken feed ingredients have been tested and verified according to the Non-GMO Project Standard for the avoidance of genetically engineered ingredients. This provides an additional level of assurance for consumers of our PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® organic products.
No Antibiotics Ever means the animals were raised without the use of any antibiotics of any kind (human or animal) at any stage of their lives. For poultry, this includes the egg.
Raised Cage-Free in the USDA Process Verified Program assures you that all PERDUE® products are made exclusively with U.S.-raised chicken. In addition, each PERDUE® package of further processed poultry carries our “Product of the USA” seal. The documentation for our Process Verified Program provides audited traceability from hatchery to package, ensuring that all processing was done at our facilities and that the meat never left the US. “Cage-Free” addresses a common misperception that meat birds are raised in cages.
Free Range requires giving the animals outdoor access. While there is no specific requirement for ease of access to the outdoors or outdoor space, we ensure that our PERDUE® HARVESTLAND® organic chickens have easy access to a large, grassy pasture area. Our outdoor spaces are typically as large as the chicken house, with doors and windows located approximately every 50 feet. To encourage the chickens to venture out, we have sunshades to ease the transition from barn to outdoors. Birds are given access to the outdoors when they have full feathering to protect them from the elements, which is usually around four weeks of age. Chickens are kept indoors when weather extremes, including temperature, put their welfare at risk.
- How do chickens grow so big so fast?
Today’s broiler chicken is far removed from its jungle forebears. Generations of selective cross-breeding have resulted in a naturally plumper chicken with strong legs. Advancements in nutrition and husbandry also help produce a meatier chicken in less time. Larger chickens (and chicken breasts) come from chickens that have grown longer. There is no genetic modification in chickens, and federal law prohibits hormones and steroids.