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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

MONEY MATTERS WITH SHEILA--DECODING THE CHICKEN CODES

Are you as confused as I am about all the various food labels? What’s the difference between natural and organic? Free range and farm raised? Sheila Conway, our finance editor, did some chicken scratching and came up with the answers for us. -- AP

Thanks, Anastasia! It can get confusing, but here’s what I was able to find out. Make sure you understand what you’re paying for before you pay more for something.

FREE RANGE
This is a USDA (United States Dept. of Agriculture) regulated designation. It means that the poultry had access to the outdoors.

FARM RAISED
This is a rather ambiguous designation. It means the poultry was raised on a farm, but all poultry is raised on a farm, whether a small one or a mega-agri-business.

HORMONE FREE
A totally meaningless designation because no artificial hormones are used in any poultry production.

NATURAL
Poultry labeled natural only means that no additives or preservatives were added after the poultry was processed. It’s got nothing to do with how the poultry was raised or cared for.

CERTIFIED ORGANIC
This means that the poultry ate only feed that didn’t contain chemical fertilizers, animal by-products, pesticides, or other additives.

RAISED WITHOUT ANTIBIOTICS
This means the poultry wasn’t given antibiotics but still could have been given other forms of medication.

Thanks, Sheila! I think I may print this list out and take it with me the next time I’m at the supermarket. Readers, p
ost a comment. You could win the book giveaway from this week's Book Club Friday guest author.-- AP

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