Honestly, an article written by me that condemns the present-day meat industry sounds like a propaganda scheme, if not a humanitarian project. I am a pescatarian, so whether chicken is safe to eat is not entirely my concern. However, much more is implied in this discussion. So first let's look at this carefully - is chicken safe to eat?

Chicken That Takes Club Drug

If you think that choosing 100% Natural Chicken can save you from all the insanity with antibiotics, artificial additives, and more, you are dead wrong.

There is no FDA or USDA regulation for naming a food product "natural," but when something like ketamine shows up in your chicken, then there's really no way to argue.

What was the story? Among the 69 separate Sanderson Farms inspections which FSIS conducted from November 2015 to November 2016, 1/3 tested positive. In fact, they counted 49 instances where "samples tested positive for residues that are not '100% Natural,'" as well as 82 instances of "unconfirmed residues" like ketamine and pesticides.

Let's break this down even further. Ketamine is a prescription anesthetic and "date-rape" drug. Other residues that were found included a potent antibiotic illegal to use in food animals, a metabolite of an antibiotic, an opioid analgesic that has a high risk for addiction, and a synthetic hormone unapproved for use in poultry, and more.

grass, bird, pasture
Steph Thomas

If you don't buy chicken from Sanderson Farms, is this still relevant to you? Yes. Unfortunately, Sanderson chicken is not only sold under their name, but also repackaged at major supermarkets. What's more, it's the supplier to major restaurants including Dairy Queen, Chili's, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Red Lobster.

Faced with a federal lawsuit and this long list of drug cocktail party they threw together, Sanderson Farms remains in strong standing. They not only denied the claims, but stated unequivocally that they aim to continue the "100% Natural" advertising campaign.

The Ugly Industry

meat, sausage, bread, cheese, vegetable
Mollie Simon

It's definitely not the first time that someone uncovers some dirty secret of the meat industry. The use of antibiotics in raising food animals has been a long-lasting concern, and other bad news seems to hit one after another.

In 2014, an outbreak of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella in Foster Farms chicken infected over 600 individuals. In 2009, a scientific report was published, reporting that 87% of chicken cadaver samples tested positive for E. coli. In 2008, FSIS found that the industry giant Tyson Foods, Inc. routinely used the antibiotic Gentamicin in their allegedly "raised without antibiotics" chicken.

Nowadays, with more firms valuing quantity than quality, who is there to really protect the consumers?

It's Getting Better, Perhaps

Alex Frank

Fortunately, many restaurant chains have decided to take actions against antibiotic use in food animals. Burger King, McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, and KFC all have put out claims that they aim to make their chicken antibiotic-free within the next two years. However, given everything that had happened in the past, how should consumers know anything for sure?


sweet, cookie
Mackenzie Patel

Let's face it - you're not going to stop eating chicken just because it might contain some unknown chemicals and antibiotics. If you really want to be sure about what you're putting on your dinner table, then you might want to consider starting your own farm.

Is chicken safe to eat? Not exactly. Yet the real things in question here are the guidelines and operations in the food industry. When all large companies are busy pursuing sales and profits, how much have they forgotten in terms of morals, values, and consumers' trust?