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Organic or Factory: All Just Tastes Like Chicken

by 5m Editor
3 March 2008, at 12:31pm

AUSTRALIA - A new taste test conducted by CHOICE, an advice organisation, has found that foodies can’t tell the diffrence between free range, organic and factory chooks.

Expensive free-range, corn-fed and even organic chickens don’t taste any better than the average factory-raised chook, according to a CHOICE taste test.

The consumer advocate says the narrow range of fast-maturing breeding stock now used in almost all chicken production makes any differentiation between the meat produced by different methods effectively meaningless.


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"Our advice is that buying organic or free-range might have other important benefits, such as the birds having a better life, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a tastier roast dinner"
CHOICE media spokesperson Christopher Zinn.

A panel of four food experts taste tested eight different roast chickens: two organic, two free-range, one corn-fed and three regular factory-farmed birds. While there were no significant differences in their scores, all agreed chickens don’t have as much taste as they used to.

The chooks, which ranged in price from $3.99 per kg for a regular factory-farmed chicken to $12.50 per kg for organic, were all prepared and cooked without seasoning or stuffing.

CHOICE says the results tie in with international trials, which also indicate consumers can’t tell the difference between organic and ordinary chicken breast meat.

“Our advice is that buying organic or free-range might have other important benefits, such as the birds having a better life, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a tastier roast dinner. The cook makes much more difference than the way the chicken is raised,” said CHOICE media spokesperson Christopher Zinn.

“Free-range and organic birds are reared with more space and open air and corn-fed have a high-corn diet but the differences aren’t significant enough to give them more flavour.”

Since the 1960s, the time it takes to produce a two kilogram chicken has almost halved, from 70 days to around 40. The exception to this is the organic standard, which specifies that organic meat chicken must be grown to maturity over a period of 63 to 70 days.

CHOICE’s advice to find a chicken with real flavour is to find a smaller producer who uses traditional breeds and lets the chickens live longer.

“Otherwise, buy the largest chicken you can find,” said Zinn. “The bigger it is, the longer it’s lived and the flavour is likely to be better.”

Further Reading

More information - You can view the full report by clicking here.

5m Editor