I love chicken; we have it for dinner at my house at least twice a week.  Unlike most of our friends, my husband and I prefer dark meat.  We think it has a richer and more delicious flavor than white meat.  That is why we are so excited that chicken leg and thigh combos are on sale this week for $1.39/lb.  Although chicken is the most popular meat in the United States and consumption continues to rise year after year, many people don’t know what makes their meat healthy.  I want to make sure that you are getting the most nutritional value out of your chicken so I compiled this list of questions you should ask before you make your purchase. 

  1. What is added to the chicken? When you purchase chicken you should always make sure that there is only one ingredient- chicken. You don’t want to eat preservatives, nitrates, nitrites, MSG, dyes, or chemicals, they aren’t good for you.  Often, fats, oils, chemicals, or water are added to the meat.   If you buy chicken that has additional ingredients, you are paying the price per pound for those water and additives. 
  2. How is the chicken raised? Chicken should be raised in a humane manner. It is the ethical thing to do and it creates a better quality flavor in the meat.  It should not be caged it should be free range, with plenty of fresh air and exercise.  It should also have plenty of clean drinking water and a well-balanced diet. 
  3. What is the chicken fed? Chickens should be fed a well-balanced vegetarian diet.  Some farms are not careful about what is fed to their chicken.  The nutritional value of the meat you consume is a result of the quality of the animal’s diet so you should always ask before you purchase chicken what the animal was fed.  Make sure that your chicken was not fed animal by-products, waste or fillers.  Unhealthy diets mean unhealthy chickens.    The diet of our chickens are carefully balanced to provide the proper amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.  We ensure that our chickens are fed no hormones or growth stimulants.
  4. How is the chicken processed? Your meat should always be processed in a clean USDA inspected plant using a safe and sanitary methods. Keller’s makes sure that there is an inspector on duty at all times in our plant to ensure the safety of your meat.  Not all plants require this. 
  5. How is the chicken stored? Your chicken should always be refrigerated. Before and after handling your meat you should wash your hands in hot, soapy water.  Countertops, utensils and containers should be sanitized between each step of preparation.   The food should be kept away from household cleaners or chemicals.  If you are preparing other foods after cutting up uncooked chicken, do not use the same knife or cutting board unless they are sanitized first.

What do you think of my food safety tips?  Do you have any questions about them?  Do you have any of your own to share?  Comment below and let me know.