National Chicken Council Releases New Broiler Welfare Standards

Consumers are constantly bombarded with labels like “No hormones” and “No additives” on packages of chicken, but what exactly do all those designations mean? The National Chicken Council (NCC), the oldest and largest national organization in the U.S. representing the broiler chicken industry, is working to clear up some of that confusion by issuing new industry-wide broiler welfare standards.

The NCC initiative is called the Chicken Check In, and the organization hopes it will shed some light on the standards that chicken producers must follow moving forward. Here are a few of the “Chicken Guarantees” that the NCC has established with its new standards.

Broiler chickens are hormone and steroid free.

Amazingly, more than 75 percent of Americans reportedly believe that hormones or steroids are still added to chickens raised for meat. In fact, the U.S. government has banned hormones and steroids in poultry since the 1950s. So while this should really go without saying, the NCC has reiterated that there are no hormones or steroids in U.S. chickens.

Broiler chickens are raised cage-free.

Broiler chickens don’t necessarily need free reign of a farm, but they should be able to move freely in a large barn or facility that is climate controlled and offers them 24/7 access to fresh food and water.

Broiler chickens are monitored by licensed veterinarians.

Chickens that are raised for human consumption must be as healthy as possible, and that means they need regular checkups with licensed veterinarians. It’s the responsibility of chicken producers to protect the welfare of their chickens by investing in comprehensive health care services for them.

For a complete list of the NCC’s animal welfare standards for broiler chickens, you can visit their website here.