What's really in your chicken?
So lets talk about some of the ingredients you will find in some chicken pieces, glazes, cooked chicken etc. I'll talk about whole chicken further down.
So, here we go:
5kg bg of frozen chicken nibbles - water, maltodextrin, salt, mineral salt (451), hydrolised soy protein, vegetable gums (415, 412)
Lemon Herb Glazed chicken wings - sugar, maltodextrin, salt, maize starch, flavours, vegetable protein (soy), natural lemon flavour, vegetable gum (415), canola oil, modified maize starch (1422), hergs, apices, acidity regulator (330), thickener (466), dehydrated vegetables (no, these don't count towards your 5+ a dy)
Bagged cooked chicken, plain - salt, sugar, mineral salt (450, 451, 452), thickener (412, 418), flavour (what flavour, why can't they ever tell us what that exactly is?). If you get stuffed or glazed cooked chicken, your obviously going to get a whole lot more freaky-lab ingredients.
So as you can see, your not just getting chicken in your chicken. In fact your getting some seriously scary stuff.
Well, plain or whole frozen chickens are your best alternatives. And making your own glazes is a better option.
Obviously getting the best quality chicken you can afford is the way to go. So, there are plenty of free-range chickens on offer, meaning at least your chicken isn't just being shoved into a cage with a bunch of other chickens, but there is A LOT of controversy about what Free Range really actually means - you can read more on this at http://www.safe.org.nz/issue/free-range. If this is an issue for you, look for ones with the blue SPCA tick, like Waitoa or Rangitiki, or Turks may be okay - but I haven't done a huge amount of research into free range chickens and eggs, so I'll leave it up to you, dear reader, to educate yourself.
However, with free-range there is a chance you are still ingesting antibiotics in your chicken, and some bacteria that may be resistant to these antibiotics. So, again, if this is something that is a concern for you, I highly recommend Bostock's Organic Free Range Chicken. They do not use antibiotics, or any chemicals and their chickens are not fed any genetically modified foods. The chickens on their website look like they really are having a lovely chickeny time, whilst alive.
Yes, Bostocks is more expensive than your other chickens - but if you really want to have chicken that is as 'natural' as possible, these guys have the best on offer - and they are now available in some supermarkets.
Remember, we have so much power as consumers, so the more kinds of these products we buy, it will ultimately drive the price down after some time, and we will benefit from this, both health and dollar wise. So if your Bostocks chicken breast costs $4 more than your other kind, maybe paying an extra $4 to have zero antibiotics, ge-free, chemical free chicken is worth it. But I'll leave it up to you to decide.
Note - injecting hormones into any animals used for consumption in New Zealand has actually been banned.
Thanks, and keep on learning! x Melissa