With consumers looking to make better lifestyle choices, there has been an increase in the demand for better alternatives to the commercial, mass-market produce available. This calls for organic produce like vegetables, chicken and meat, improved farming methods, and sustainability across the board.
It is well-known that chickens are a great source of nutrients in our diets; however, the wrong choice of supplier can lead to adverse health effects.
What Organic Means in Regards to Chicken and Eggs
The basis of organic chicken comes down to how the chickens are raised. This directly affects the calibre of meat and eggs that are produced due to the nature of what the animals are exposed and subject to.
What is the difference between organic and regular chicken?
As a general understanding, organic chickens have no harmful or toxic chemicals and substances added to their lifestyle. This means that no growth hormones have been administered, as well as no preservatives or antibiotics being added to their diets or bodies in general.
Regarding how they are raised, the chickens are allowed to live as they would naturally. This sees the regular movement of the livestock, not allowing them to be cooped up but rather raised outdoors to develop freely. This has further benefits of naturally cutting a cycle of potential diseases spreading, as well as the acquiring of parasites and diseases.
This in turn results in happier and healthier chickens, which means a better yield of meat that is healthier for us to consume.
Why An Organic Raising Is Better For Chickens
Through the implementation of organic principles in the raising of livestock in general, we see better and healthier results across the board. This holds true in the case of organic chicken, especially when compared to the standards of conventional chicken farming.
With a more natural and free way of being raised, chickens get all the nutrients they require. This results in their eggs containing the correct levels of omega-3 fatty acids and more vitamins in general. By giving them the best possible living conditions and diet, they are healthier animals and closer to their natural state of being in nature.
With healthier chickens comes healthier meat to be consumed, which should be the norm at the end of the day. Consumers need to make informed decisions on the quality of meat they are consuming, as well as understand what has truly gone into the creation of what they eat daily.
South African Certification Process
As it stands, there are currently no regulations in South Africa regarding the production or labelling of organic products. Becoming certified organic in South Africa is a difficult and expensive process. Due to this, many farmers avoid undergoing the process as an easy way of just continuing farming.
The main aim in the classification of organic produce is that the consumer must not be misled. This entails that valid supporting evidence must be accessible by the consumer to back up any claims stated by an ‘organic’ label.
For an extended period of time, there has not been an official system of certification, and due to this, the organic sector has been badly affected for decades. Thankfully today, we see in place the SAOSO Standard for Organic Production and Processing as a part of the IFOAM Family of Standards to be complied with. This has standardised the process and made certification more opted-for and uniform in general.
As it currently stands, there are two types of organic classification:
1. Organic Certification: Under this classification, the process of farming is inspected over a typical period of around three years. This is conducted by independent certification agencies as a means of ensuring authenticity.
2. Organic in Conversion: In this process of certification, it may be understood that a producer has stated to be “organic in conversion”.
The Role of PGS
Participatory Guarantee Systems South Africa (PGS SA) is a voluntary, non-profit association, operating in South Africa after being established in 2011. It aims to help facilitate access for organic farmers to the local market by supporting the establishment of PGSs.
PGS SA assists farmer groups to maximise the full potential of organic farming from an economic and environmental standing. The end goal is to develop a more sustainable market that is accessible for farmers to provide to, and consumers to support with peace of mind on the transparency of their organic produce.
In short, the system allows for third parties to check potential farms, assessing the feed, the animals and their logo for organic classification. This serves to act as a guarantee that what the farmers are claiming is true. Being certified by PSG doesn’t cost much – the farmers only pay for the lab test verifying the quality of their produce.
The Stamp of Approval
The whole idea behind being certified organic is a verification to ensure consumers are aware that the produce has not been tampered with and was created adhering to strict standards.
The Organic Standards and Requirements
- For at least three years no harmful or toxic chemicals have been used
- Exclusion of GMOs in the animal feed and farming land itself
- Inspections of certification have been performed every year
- An in-depth record can be produced in terms of practices and audits
- Environmentally-conscious substances and procedures have been implemented to better the environment in which the farming is conducted (soil improvement and pest control)
Our Supplier Of Choice
We have carefully curated our list of chosen suppliers of all our products across all categories. When it comes to quality organic chicken, we trust Jo’s Pasture Raised Foods as our supplier of choice.
Aligning with the ethos and beliefs of the brand, we sell their eggs and chickens in-store and online. It must be noted that deliveries apply to Gauteng only.
A Little About Jo’s Farm
Their pasture-raised hens are completely free range, roaming around happily all day in fresh pastures. All chickens are free from antibiotics, growth-promoting hormones and animal by-products. Being moved regularly in plush fields of the Free State, they sleep and rest in mobile trailers.
The farm is not certified organic, but they strictly follow organic principles, making their own feed to ensure no GMOs and additives are added to it.
Benefits of Choosing Organic Chicken and Eggs
Being the healthier choice for our health overall, there are no residual growth hormones which might possibly disrupt your own hormonal balance. There are also no residual pesticides and herbicides, which may cause numerous health issues from Leaky Gut to cancer.
Furthermore, no additives have been added to the final products. This way, you pay for what you get, being quality meat that is healthy for you. The chickens are not injected with brine, and no preservatives are added, just the way it should be.
Products Available At Our Store
We proudly stock Jo’s Pasture Raised organic eggs and chicken meat at Organic Choice, available both online and in-store. You can discover the full range of their produce we stock here.
An Easy Choice
With consumer preferences changing, the market is adapting with organic chicken front and centre. By farming chicken in a more sustainable way, we take into consideration the health of our soil, the balance of the ecosystems, as well as the future of South Africans alike.
In the bigger scheme of things, the implementation of more environmentally-conscious living, farming and consumption comes down to the small changes ad choices we make daily on a personal level. By opting for organic chicken, you don’t only invest in your health but in a more sustainable future too. You can explore our range of environmentally-friendly produce and products here.