Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy Smart Chicken?
Smart Chicken brand is available in a variety of national supermarket chains, regional stores, and independent, healthy markets. Look for our brand in the fresh packaged meat case or in the service case. Find a Store

Where can I find nutritional information on select products?

Information on Smart Chicken retail products are located on our products page. For each of our product lines, we provide a description, nutritional information, and picture of the product to help you recognize it in the store. Retail Product Information

What is the difference between the Organic Smart Chicken (packaged in a green tray) and the NAE (No Antibiotics EVER) Smart Chicken (packaged in a blue tray)?
Both product lines share a very similar diet that consists of corn and soybean meal and natural vitamins and minerals. What differentiates the diets is that the organic chickens are fed corn and soybean meal that is certified organic and certified Non-GMO by an independent third party. Organic birds have free-range access to the outdoors, while NAE birds are free-roam within the barn.

What does air-chilled mean?
In fresh poultry processing, chickens must be chilled after being removed of feathers and eviscerated. The chilling method is one of the most important processes affecting the flavor, texture, and overall quality of the end product. When we say air-chilled, we mean that our chickens are individually chilled (without touching another chicken) as they circulate through a series of closely monitored chill chambers. The industry standard is water-immersion chilling, in which chicken is chilled by being tumbled or pulled through a communal water bath that is sanitized by one or more acidic compounds. The process leaves the meat waterlogged, and has adverse effects on the flavor, texture, and overall quality of the chicken. Smart Chicken was the first chicken producer in the United States to implement air-chill technology, and remains the only producer with a USDA Process Verified 100% pure air-chilled, no-water-added product.

Are Smart Chicken products injected with broths, marinades, or other flavoring enhancers or solutions?
No. Plumping solutions are used by some poultry producers to tenderize the chicken and add flavor. We’ve found that when you start with a quality product, there additives are not necessary. They can also dilute the natural flavor of the chicken and adversely affect the texture once it’s cooked, in addition to adding excess sodium.

Is Smart Chicken Gluten-Free?
Yes. All Smart Chicken products are gluten-free. Fresh meats and poultry are not typically associated with gluten.

Is Smart Chicken Hormone and Antibiotic-Free?
Yes. Smart Chicken does not use antibiotics, and instead focuses efforts on providing birds the most ideal environment possible to promote health and prevent the kind of illness in chickens that renders antibiotics necessary in the first place. Hormones have been outlawed by the FDA in poultry production since the 1950s.

Do Smart Chicken products contain Nitrates, Nitrites, or MSG?
No. these preservatives and additives do not fit into the model of producing a high-quality, natural product.

What do the birds eat?
Soy is a key component in the diet of Smart Chickens, but consumers with allergies and sensitivities need not be concerned, as meat from chickens that eat soy does not contain soy. Smart Chicken Poultry Nutritionist Dana Didde explains: “Gluten and soy allergies are caused by reactions to specific plant proteins. A protein is a string that varies in length of amino acids bound together by peptide bonds. When chickens consume soybean meal as part of a balanced diet, it goes through a variety of mechanical and chemical processes that break it down so the bird can properly utilize its nutrients.” In fact, chickens are not capable of absorbing whole proteins, like soy, and depositing them into the meat; instead, the plant protein must be broken down. The mechanical and chemical breakdown of these proteins yields individual amino acids and peptides for absorption. The chicken then uses these amino acids as building blocks for its own proteins for growth and maintenance.

Does the meat from chickens fed soy contain soy?
Soy is a key component in the diet of Smart Chickens, but consumers with allergies and sensitivities need not be concerned, as meat from chickens that eat soy does not contain soy. When chickens consume soybean meal as part of a balanced diet, it goes through a variety of mechanical and chemical processes that break it down so the bird can properly utilize its nutrients. In fact, chickens are not capable of absorbing whole proteins, like soy, and depositing them into the meat; instead, the plant protein must be broken down. The mechanical and chemical breakdown of these proteins yields individual amino acids and peptides for absorption. The chicken then uses these amino acids as building blocks for its own proteins for growth and maintenance.

What is the Smart Chicken breed?
We use a variety of breeds of chicken to produce Smart Chicken based on the season, growing conditions, and other factors. The primary factors are with breeds are best adapted to our certified organic, antibiotic-free, no animal by-products diets, and our animal welfare standards, which include free range with outdoor access, natural lighting, and other conditions and enhancements required as part of our third-party certification. We also consider which breeds produce the most tender, most flavorful, and highest-quality chicken.

Why do some Smart Chicken cuts vary in size?
Our filets reflect the size of the bird from which they came. Of course, Smart Chicken aims to produce a consistently-sized filet but, in the end we produce what nature provides. When chickens are raised natural, they are subject to nature’s variables.

Are Smart Chicken birds humanely handled?
Humane animal handling is a foremost priority at every level of production. Our organic birds are certified humane in accordance with HFAC (Humane Farm Animal Care) standards. Our chickens are also sacrificed humanely using a state-of-the-art controlled atmosphere system that gently puts them to sleep. The result is a better quality of life for the chickens, a better working environment for our employees, and a higher-quality end product for consumers.

Is Roxarsone or Arsenic used in the Smart Chicken diet?
No. Roxarsone is a derivative of arsenic that’s often used as an additive in chicken feed to help promote growth, control parasites and improve feed efficiency. Smart Chicken does not use roxarsone or any other form of arsenic in its feed, and never has.

Are Smart Chickens fed animal by-products?
No. Smart Chicken never employs the use of animal by-products, which are sometimes utilized in poultry production to artificially hasten growth and increase weight gain.

Are Smart Chickens Free-Range?
Certified organic Smart Chickens have free-range access to a natural outdoor environment.

Where are Smart Chicken birds raised and processed?
All Smart Chickens are hatched, raised, harvested and processed in the United States. In fact, all our birds are raised on local family farms in Nebraska and Iowa and our processing facilities also reside in Nebraska. We also source all our feed from the Midwest. Nebraska also has the largest natural underwater aquifer in the world, known as the Ogallala Aquifer. That means our birds enjoy plenty of fresh water that is sourced locally. Reducing the raw materials that go into raising the chickens not only helps us reduce our carbon footprint, it keeps Smart Chicken as local as possible and at a price point that is reasonable for consumers who seek fresh, high-quality meats.  Ultimately, the choice to locate in the Midwest has been very positive for us and we have no plans to go anyplace else.

Does Smart Chicken contain GMO grains?
All Organic Smart Chicken products are raised on feed that is both certified Non-GMO and certified organic. The diets of our veg-fed/NAE line are nearly identical, but sourced grains are not verified GMO-free due to limited availability.

How are feed grains sourced?
The vast majority of feed grains grown in the United Sates are produced in the Midwest, which is where Tecumseh Poultry is headquartered. Smart Chicken birds are raised in barns and processed in facilities that were literally built in corn and soybean fields. When it comes to certified organic, certified Non-GMO corn and soybeans, Smart Chicken remains committed to locally sourcing these grains too, which has proved challenging due to their limited availability.

Are Smart Chicken trays recyclable?
Smart Chicken packages products in recyclable trays for some markets. However, the cost of producing only recyclable trays is high, and it’s one that’s passed along to end-consumers and their families. As a result, these trays are only available in markets where customers have indicated a willingness to pay the higher cost. If you’re interested in purchasing Smart Chicken in recyclable trays, please talk directly with the meat manager at your local grocer, who can request them specifically.

Are Smart Chicken products farm-to-fork traceable?
Yes. Every Smart Chicken product can be traced back to the flock and barn in which it was raised by the numerical code printed on the package.

What food safety protocols are in practice at Smart Chicken facilities?
In addition to USDA-mandated protocols, Smart Chicken is the only chicken company in the country to obtain the SQF (Safe Quality Foods) Level 3 certification—the highest level of food safety in the industry. Recognized by GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) and administered by the FMI (Food Marketing Institute), the SQF program focuses on comprehensive food safety practices and quality management systems to ensure that all stages of production are safe.

What’s the best way to thaw frozen chicken?
The FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) recommends thawing meats in the refrigerator, under cold running water, or in the microwave on the defrost setting. Never thaw frozen chicken or other frozen meats on the counter-top.

Should I rinse chicken before prepping and cooking it?
Rinsing meat, poultry, or seafood with water actually splashes juices (and any bacteria they might contain) onto your sink and counter-tops. Skip the rinsing, and just be sure to cook the chicken to the proper internal temperature (165°F).

How do I know when chicken is fully cooked?
The only accurate way to determine if meats are fully cooked is by using a meat thermometer. Inserted into the thickest portion of the cut (without touching bone), the thermometer should read 165°F for chicken.

How long can prepared foods be left at room temperature?
The FSIS recommends refrigerating perishable foods within two hours. In warm weather, cut this time down to one hour.