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Chicken and Hormones: The Myth Persists

by 5m Editor
18 October 2010, at 11:03am

AUSTRALIA - A new survey reveals the majority of Australians (78.6 per cent) wrongly believe that meat chickens are fed hormones or steroids.

Only 8.8 per cent of people surveyed correctly believe that the chicken meat industry does not use such chemicals.

Dr Andreas Dubs, Executive Director of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF), said: "The simple fact is that meat chickens reared in Australia are not given any hormones or steroids."

No added hormones or steroids have been used in chicken meat production in this country for almost half a century. The practice is banned in Australia and is strictly enforced.

He continued: "Australian chickens do grow faster and bigger than they did 50 years ago, but most of this is due to conventional selective breeding. Improvements in growth are also a result of improved chicken nutrition. Thus, in the words of one of our main processors, the short answer is: "better bred, better fed".

"The precise profile of nutrients that a chicken needs at each stage of its development has been studied extensively. Feeds can therefore be formulated to match the chicken's precise nutritional requirements throughout its lifecycle, therefore optimising growth.

"Other gains made in the performance and productivity of chicken flocks are due to better husbandry techniques and health management."

Dr Dubs concluded: "Consumers can be absolutely confident that all chicken, whether sold in the supermarket, the butcher, the delicatessen, the take-away shop, the quick service restaurant or the high end restaurant, is produced to the highest standard in Australia."

The chicken meat industry is keen to ensure that all the facts are clearly and easily accessible to consumers. Its web site www.chicken.org.au provides the facts and a chook information line is also available (1300 4 CHOOKs, i.e. 1300 424 665) to answer consumer queries.

Further Reading

- You can view the ACMF Factsheet on Chicken Meat – Hormones and Chicken Feed by clicking here.