There are some foods I am lenient with. I am not perfect at eating 100% organic whole foods, but this year we have switched to buying all of our meat and poultry from local sources that are organic or beyond organic. When I say "beyond organic" this is a term used by the farmer we buy them from because he is not certified organic because organic certification has lots of hoops to jump through. Here is information about their chickens:
We start our chicks out as day old hatchlings in our brooder where they spend the first three weeks of their life until they are old enough to go outdoors safely. Once out, they are moved each day in one of our portable “chicken huts” to a fresh spot of pasture where they will obtain about 15% of their food from forage and insects. The balance of their diet is a custom mix of GMO free and chemical free corn and roasted soybeans grown on local Indiana family farms. These grains are then blended with certified organic minerals and supplements. Our chickens never receive antibiotics, vaccinations or growth stimulants. Lastly, our chickens are carefully transported to a local, hard working Amish family. Here they are processed with care, by hand, in this State of Indiana inspected facility. - Simpson Family Farm
Is this expensive - YES! Is it worth it - YES! We buy in bulk which means we buy a quarter of a cow (and split it) and a half of a hog and 8-10 chickens at a time. These are chunks of money that we come up with because we think it is very important to have good quality food. We try to spread it out over the year and buying in bulk actually makes it cheaper overall.
I have gotten beef this way for over 2 years but I was reluctant to buy chickens because they are so expensive. I stopped buying chicken breasts a long time ago to make myself get used to cooking whole chickens because I knew I would buy organic ones eventually and I knew I could never afford to buy organic chicken breasts.
After reading about arsenic in our chickens I knew I had to stop buying grocery store birds and actually buy organic chickens - local, organic chickens.
This is part of an article from The Whole New Mom:
What the FDA Says is SafeArsenic in Chickens, Arsenic in You and Arsenic-Laced Chicken Poop Being Fed to Cows - OK. I am so done with letting my family eat conventional meat now. I was being a bit lenient with it at potlucks until now, but no more.
The basics are that for years the FDA has known that arsenic-laced feed was being given to chickens. The argument was that the arsenic would all come out in their poop. Now they have discovered that it is not so.
The FDA and the National Chicken Council also say that the arsenic present in the tainted chicken is in such a small amount that it is safe to eat even though it is a carcinogen. Ugh.
To their credit, the company who manufactures the feed has agreed to pull the feed off the market, but there is no telling how much of it is left (still being fed to chickens on a farm near you??). In addition, according to the AP,:Scott Brown of Pfizer Animal Health’s Veterinary Medicine Research and Development division said the company also sells the ingredient in about a dozen other countries. He said Pfizer is reaching out to regulatory authorities in those countries and will decide whether to sell it on an individual basis.” (http://www.usatoday.com/money/indus…)Not good enough for us, but maybe good enough for others??
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Now you see why I do what I do? I just can't know that and not do it. I will say that I do a lot with a whole chicken. I usually cook it up (our favorite is sticky chicken) and then after we have eaten I will take the carcass and make broth with it and pick off the rest of the meat to use for another meal - such as chicken pot pie or bbq chicken quesadillas.
I know not everyone can afford to do this but it is a priority for us. We don't buy as much clothes. We don't upgrade our furniture or buy lots of other things. Sometimes I wonder how people afford new coffee tables and other things and then I realize - they probably don't buy $19 chickens.