TUCKER, Ga. – A Men’s Journal article touting the attributes of organic over conventionally raised chicken prompted a response from the US Poultry & Egg Association and the National Chicken Council in the form of a letter urging the magazine and media in general to avoid stigmatizing conventional chicken production methods.

The article references a study in which researchers claim chemical and antimicrobial residues were found in chicken feather meal that was given to chickens as feed. John Glisson, DVM, MAM, Ph.D., director of research programs at USPOULTRY and Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., vice president of science and technology at the NCC offered a their scientific viewpoint on the claims and the study methodology. For example, the feather meal study used a small sample size from 4-lb. and 22-lb. bags of feather meal.

“The US poultry industry does not use 4-lb. and 22-lb. bags of feather meal in its commercial feed formulations, and industry experts speculate that the material in these bags were intended to be used as organic fertilizer and not as a source of feed,” Glisson and Peterson wrote. “Furthermore, the study failed to address other potential delivery mechanisms for these types of substances, such as potable water.”

Glisson and Peterson also pointed out that all chicken products are inspected by the US Department of Agriculture, and that the “organic” label doesn’t translate to a nutritionally superior product.

“All chicken production systems, including organic, natural, and conventional methods, address issues as necessary to achieve its primary objective — the commitment to provide consumers with safe, wholesome and affordable food. The chicken industry works diligently to ensure that no matter which production system they choose to support with their food dollars, consumers can have confidence in the safety and nutrition of all of their chicken purchases,” concluded the letter.