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Factory-Farmed Chicken

Is your chicken safe to eat? Get the facts.



Tell Congress Chicken from China Isn’t Safe!


How is factory-farmed chicken produced?

Most chicken today is produced in a way that our grandparents would never recognize. Just four companies produce over half of the chicken in supermarkets, and most of this is coming from factory farms.

Why are chickens fed antibiotics every single day?

This means the supermarket or restaurant chicken on your plate was likely raised in crowded conditions, where it was fed unnecessary antibiotics to make sure it would survive the stressful conditions and grow plump in about six weeks — and ensure the companies’ profits. This practice has led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are making people sick.

How is factory-farmed chicken processed?

Once the chickens go to the meat processing plant, most are dipped in a chemical cocktail to keep bacteria and other pathogens under control. And, since labeling isn’t required, consumers are left in the dark about what chemicals their food may have been treated with. Chlorine, tri-sodium phosphate (normally used to clean cement) and hypobromous acid (used to clean swimming pools) are used to try to control salmonella and sterilize feces that might still be on carcasses because the production line speeds are too fast.

Is chicken safe to eat?

Each year foodborne illnesses, like salmonella, make 48 million people sick, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths in the United States. Big Chicken is currently pressuring the USDA to approve a plan that would not only increase line speeds in chicken plants (from 140 to 175 birds per minute) but also have company workers, instead of USDA inspectors, inspect the products. These faster lines will lead to more injuries for workers, and more filthy chicken. It’s the first step in deregulating meat inspections — this could set a terrible precedent for government inspection of other meat, like beef.

What about imported chicken products?

The USDA has also approved a plan that would allow imports of processed poultry from China — a country with an extremely troubling food safety record. Learn more about the USDA’s plan to import Chinese chicken.

How do I find better chicken?

To find sustainably-raised meat and dairy products, visit the Eat Well Guide.