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A few years ago we found out that chicken nuggets at some fast food chains were processed into a pink goop before they were fashioned into attractive edible bits.Organic chicken, on the other hand, was supposed to be minimally processed, and convince us that we are eating real chicken again.
An anecdote we read in the Wall Street Journal, by Melanie Warner, author of “Pandora’s Lunchbox,” has totally changed how we think about “organic” food.
After buying Applegate Farms Organic Chicken Strips, Warner decided to see how they aged, as research for her book.
The results sound revolting:
After about two weeks, the Applegate nuggets, which I’d placed in a Ziploc bag left slightly open, had essentially liquefied, with the outlines of the individual chicken pieces no longer visible. The whole thing was soft and mushy to the touch, and the colour had darkened.
Some non-organic tenders from Bell & Evans, on the other hand, remained in tact when she performed a similar experiment (though they reeked).
Warner contacted Chris Ely, one of Applegate’s founders, who said that his product may have dissolved because the company doesn’t use additives to bind everything together like other manufacturers do.
Even so, they seemed heavily processed, not “minimally processed” as the package stated.
As a reminder, the USDA requires food labelled “organic” to contain at least 95 per cent organic ingredients, not counting added water and salt. And it cannot contain sulfites, a type of preservative.
The bottom line — think twice before you see the “organic” label on a product and assume it’s all natural.
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