The organic food industry has grown tremendously in recent years, but with that growth and expansion has come a host of opportunistic companies, seeking to capitalize on a trend.
Many of the United States’ top organic companies, including Annie’s (makers of popular mac n’ cheese products), Cascadian Farm, Earthbound Farms and many others are now owned by corporations that actively support the GMO food industry by including many such ingredients in their products.
While these organic brands are generally safe from GMOs and toxic chemicals like synthetic herbicides and pesticides, the trend is worrisome for many organic stewards, who are concerned that organic farming standards are slowly being eroded over time in the name of big business.
Last summer, another organic powerhouse company bit the dust: and they’ve been bought out by a mega corporation that is a diehard supporter of lab-grown meat and the factory farming, pro-GMO system: Tyson Foods.
Major Organic Chicken Company Bought Out
The company in question, Tecumseh, LLC, has been bought out by Tyson Foods, according to a report from The Poultry Site.
The company produces everything from the air-chilled organic Smart Chicken brand to the Aidell line of natural chicken sausages.
Founded in 1998, Tecumseh constitutes one of the leading brands of organic chicken, but now it is owned by Tyson Foods, which also recently invested over $2 million in a lab grown meat company from Israel.
As evidenced by a statement from Tyson’s General Manager of Brands, Eric Schwartz, the purchase is a strategic one for a company that sells “conventionally” raised chicken that is usually fed genetically modified corn, soy, and other low quality foodstuffs.
“Consumers want choices. More and more consumers want options for fresh, organic food that fits their lifestyles,” Schwartz said in a news release.
“The Smart Chicken brand is a leader in this key organic category, and the category’s growth makes this acquisition a strategic fit for Tyson Foods.”
Alternative Choices for Organic Chicken and Protein
If you’d like to eat organic chicken and don’t want to support pro-GMO, pro-lab meat companies like Tyson Foods, there are many different options.
Raising your own chickens is a great place to start, but is not the most practical option for most people living in the city or suburbs.
Buying direct from a local farmer’s market is generally the best way to do it.
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In this case it’s important to ask plenty of questions before spending your hard earned money, such as what type of feed the chickens are given. Most chicken feed is genetically modified, although the organic industry has been working to change that in recent years.
“Since 1996, farmers in animal agriculture, including poultry, have fed genetically modified grains (corn) and oilseeds (soybeans) to their flocks and herds with U.S. government oversight,” a 2017 article from the National Chicken Council website Chicken Check-In states. “Since more than 80 percent of the corn and soybeans grown in the US are raised from genetically modified seeds, almost all corn and soybean used in conventional livestock and poultry production is genetically modified.”
Organic chicken broth is also a healthy and cost-effective option, as large stews flavored from chicken broth can last quite a while (this is similar to how the World’s Longest Living cultures eat; they often eat less meat but with lots of vegetables in stews).
If you’re going to choose a vegan or vegetarian substitute, be wary of major brands that may contain GMOs and Roundup residues. The company Quorn is another one to watch out for, as their products have been linked to allergies (including one allergy related death in a lawsuit) and many other health problems.
Qrunch quinoa patties are my personal favorite vegan protein substitute among brands found in grocery stores, and other brands can be found on Amazon. Making your own from organic vegetables is an even better option, and allows for the use of many different unique flavors and combinations.
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