What Are Certified Organic Poultry Guidelines?
USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC POULTRY GUIDELINES
Welcome to Part 3 of Grubbable’s Certified Organic Farm Series. If you’ve made it this far we commend you for being an evangelist for local and sustainable food and are so pumped you care to know where your food comes from and want to learn about road to getting there. Today we will be discussing certified organic poultry guidelines and get a better understanding of how these chickens are raised and treated. Below is an extrapolated list from the USDA, if you want to read more, we highly encourage you to go here.
- Land used for pasturing and housing livestock and livestock feed and bedding crops must qualify for organic certification.
- Poultry intended for slaughter or egg production must be under continuous organic management beginning no later than the second day of life.
- All certified animals must receive 100% certified organic feed. All pastures must also be certified organic. If roughages are used as bedding, they must also be certified.
- Animal health is the result of preventative and on-going management efforts to create living soils, provide nourishing forage and feed, and improve the quality of livestock life. Animals must be kept in healthy, low stress environments. Producers must use preventative health care practices and may only use approved treatments.
- Housing must provide for adequate ventilation, adequate supply of clean water and proper sanitation. Housing must provide access to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air and direct sunlight year round. Housing must also provide adequate protection from predators.
- A producer must select tillage and cultivation and grazing practices that maintain or improve the physical, chemical and biological condition of the soil and minimize erosion.
- The following egg wash ingredients are allowed for use in organic egg production:
- Sodium hypochlorite
- Potassium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Sodium carbonate
- Peracetic acid (Peroxyacetic acid)
- Livestock products that are packaged and to be sold, labeled or represented as “100% organic” or “organic” must include the following on the information panel of your label:
- Handler information: name of handler and business address
- Followed by “Certified organic by ***”, identifying the name of the certifying agent responsible for certifying the handler of the finished product
- Written records must be kept on an ongoing basis. Records are essential, as organic certification is about verifying your farming practices to a third party.
Again, this is not an exhaustive list, so if you want to get the full scoop please go to the USDA's website. They also explain what is allowed in each category and what is prohibit to try to eliminate ambiguity and gray areas.
So what do YOU think? Are you satisfied with the way the USDA handles their certified organic poultry? Is enough being done, or should more be done? Does this make you comfortable knowing you are purchasing a superior products versus the conventional chickens in a grocery store? We’d love to hear your comments!