Q&A: All About Certified Organic Smart Chicken
What Does Certified Organic Mean?
Organic certification is obtained by producers and involves the implementation of and ongoing compliance with a number of standards and practices. To maintain certified organic status, a producer’s facilities and records are regularly audited. Smart Chicken®’s organic line is certified by the USDA’s National Organic Program, the country’s most widely used and recognized organic program. Its audits are performed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, an agency of the state of Iowa and an authorized certifier under the National Organic Program.
What do Smart Chickens Eat?
Chickens that are part of Smart Chicken’s certified organic program are fed a blend of certified organic, certified non-GMO corn and certified organic, certified non-GMO soybean meal that also includes the vitamins, minerals, and salts in line with the animals’ dietary requirements. The birds’ specific dietary needs are monitored by an in-house nutritionist to provide a diet that meets all of the daily metabolic requirements of the birds. The feed is free of antibiotics, growth stimulants, and animal by-products.
How are Organic Smart Chicken’s Raised?
Organic chickens produced for Smart Chicken are raised on family farms in the Midwest where they’re fed locally and sustainably harvested grains. All chickens are never caged or confined, and have ready access to feed and water with plenty of room to engage in natural social behaviors. The program is also certified by the HFAC (Humane Farm Animal Care) program, which enforces guidelines for humane handling at every step.
What are the Farms Like?
Birds raised for Smart Chicken’s organic line have access to outdoor pastures, where they are able to roam, perch, dust bathe. Their barn spaces are temperature-controlled with ventilation systems that allow farmers to easily control the moisture, airflow, and overall climate to ensure they are comfortable in any weather conditions.
How are they Processed?
Chickens are hand-caught by trained personnel (as opposed to automated catching machines) to reduce stress before they are processed through a CAS (Controlled Atmosphere Stunning) system that slowly puts them to sleep before sacrifice. The chickens are air-chilled with no water added to bring them to a safe temperature and then hand-deboned and hand-trimmed by skilled personnel who work in a clean and safe environment.
How Does the Organic Chicken Differ from Smart Chicken’s Other Products?
Smart Chicken has two primary product lines: Smart Chicken (packaged in the blue tray) and certified organic Smart Chicken (packaged in the green tray). The primary difference between the two product lines is that the birds in Smart Chicken’s certified organic program are exclusively fed a diet that is certified organic and certified non-GMO by the National Organic Program and the Non-GMO Project. The antibioticfree veg-fed birds are fed a similar diet, but the feed is not certified organic and certified non-GMO. The organic birds also have access to outdoor range space, play items that stimulate social behaviors, and several other accommodations as part of the requirements set forth by the National Organic Program. Both lines are humanely handled, antibiotic-free, and never given growth stimulants or animal by- products.
What Kinds of Certified Organic Products Does Smart Chicken Offer?
In addition to fresh whole chickens and portioned cutlets (including tenders and wings, as well as bone-in and boneless breasts, drumsticks, and thighs), Smart Chicken also offers a number of certified organic fully cooked chicken sausages and frankfurters. Available flavors include: Andouille chicken sausage, breakfast maple chicken sausage, country breakfast chicken sausage, hot smoked chicken sausage, Polish chicken sausage, sweet apple chicken sausage, and chicken frankfurters. Each product is made with 100% certified organic ingredients and processed according to the National Organic Program’s standards.