Frequently Asked Questions
What does 100% natural chicken mean to Sanderson Farms?
It means that we don’t add anything to our fresh chicken. There are no additives, artificial ingredients or preservatives. Some companies add a solution to their fresh chicken products that can include water, salt, carrageenan (a seaweed extract) or broth. Ours is always a single ingredient product: 100% natural chicken.
What does Sanderson Farms feed our chickens?
By operating our own feed mills, we have total control over what our poultry eats. We have an in-house nutritionist that ensures the corn/soy based diets contain all the protein, energy, vitamins and mineral requirements we require in our poultry – without the addition of hormones or other potentially harmful compounds.
Are antibiotics added to the feed or supplements?If antibiotics are required to keep our chickens in the best possible health, they are used under the strict supervision of highly trained veterinarians who are employed by Sanderson Farms. Antibiotics are used in accordance with all USDA and FDA regulations to ensure these products are completely safe.
Are growth hormones added to the feed or supplements?
Absolutely not. The use or administration hormones or steroids in chicken production is prohibited by the USDA. The only hormones found in our chickens are those that occur naturally. Just like they do in any living animal.
Are your products gluten-free?Yes. Sanderson Farms’ fresh chicken and the majority of our prepared products are gluten free. For prepared products, we encourage you to check the product ingredients just to be sure that it meets your dietary needs. Of course, this is always a good idea no matter what product you’re purchasing.
How are Sanderson Farms’ chickens maintained environmentally?
Sanderson Farms, Inc. has a policy for animal welfare that complies with USDA’s Humane Slaughter Act of 1978. This policy includes our intent to comply with the current National Chicken Council Animal Welfare Guidelines. This policy also provides for discipline up to termination of employment for inhumane treatment of Sanderson Farms’ poultry. Each processing and production division is audited by both internal and third party auditors no less than once per year. We require all animal welfare auditors be certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Program (PAACO).
Sanderson Farms has complete control over our chickens and we exercise all measures to be sure they are provided the best possible care. Chickens are raised in a climate-controlled environment and are free to roam around the facility they are housed in. They are kept safe from outside predators and potential diseases. For their own safety and well-being, the only time they are caged is when they are transported from the farm to the processing plant.
What quality control standards do you have in place?
Sanderson Farms is on the leading edge of quality control in the industry. We often go beyond what is required by USDA to ensure you receive the highest quality products available. That’s one of the reasons we insist on formulating our own feed and operating our own hatcheries. We want to control as much of our product’s environment as possible so the items you purchase are wholesome, delicious, and above all, safe.
Do you have recipes?You bet. Our own chef has a selection of his favorite recipes on this site. Plus, we encourage you to submit your own recipes so others can enjoy the exciting chicken dishes you’ve come up with.
How do I safely prepare your products?
Where can I buy Sanderson Farms products in my neighborhood?
Sanderson Farms products are sold in nearly every state across the country. To find a store that carries our products near you, use our handy Store Locator.
How long is it safe to keep your products in the refrigerator or freezer?
We recommend you keep fresh, uncooked poultry in the refrigerator for no more than two days to ensure maximum freshness. If you’re planning to freeze your chicken, you should do it immediately upon returning from your shopping trip. You can learn more about storage in our Safe Handling section of the site.
What’s the best way to defrost poultry safely?
We recommend that you place it in the refrigerator. A good rule of thumb is that it takes five hours to defrost each pound of chicken, so plan accordingly. If you’re in a hurry, you can immerse wrapped poultry in cold water. Be sure to change the water every half hour or so for effective thawing. You can also use the microwave, but watch the chicken carefully since the thinner portions tend to cook while the thicker sections are still thawing. Follow the microwave manufacturer’s recommendations regarding defrosting cycles for poultry.
Does Sanderson Farms import poultry from other countries?
Never. All of our poultry are raised in the U.S. by our network of 700 contract growers who are carefully selected and adhere to the highest of standards in safety, health and sanitation.
Can you explain some of the confusing terms I find on packaging labels?
We can certainly try. The following are some of the most often used terms and what they really mean.
Certified: This means the product has been examined by the USDA for class, grade (i.e. Grade A) and other characteristics that demonstrate quality.
Chemical Free: The term is often used in marketing but it is illegal to have on a label.
Free Range or Free Roaming: This doesn’t mean that the chickens are out roaming the fields like cattle. It only means that they are offered access to the outdoors. They aren’t necessarily raised there.
Fresh Poultry: This is raw poultry that has never had an internal temperature of less than 26° F.
Meat Derived by Advanced Meat/Bone Separation and Meat Recovery Systems: A very long term to note that a mechanical separator has been used to separate the meat from the bone instead of doing it by hand.
Mechanically Separated Poultry: This is poultry that has had the tissue separated from the bone by a sieve under high pressure. As such, this meat must be designated as “mechanically separated chicken” in the ingredients statement. Ground chicken is a good example of mechanically separated chicken.
Natural: If the chicken package claims “natural,” USDA regulations state that the product contains no artificial ingredients and is only minimally processed. Sanderson Farms takes this claim a little more serious. We believe that a chicken product claiming to be “natural” should contain no additives of any kind such as salt, water, broth, or carageenan (a seaweed extract). Sanderson Farms chicken is 100% Natural Chicken with no additives! Be sure to read the fine print for hidden additives in other brands.
No Antibiotics: Poultry sold with “no antibiotics” on the label means that the chicken didn’t receive any form of antibiotic treatment at any time. A chicken raised without antibiotics isn’t any safer or tastier than one that was treated at some point to ward off disease.
No Hormones: Federal regulations prohibit the use of added hormones. The claim “no hormones added” doesn’t really mean anything since their use is illegal in poultry to begin with.
Do you have any information about Sanderson Farms’ animal welfare or how the birds are raised?
Yes, our quarterly newsletter contains a section called Veterinarian’s View which is full of information regarding the health and welfare of chickens. To view our newsletter archives, please visit our newsroom.
Does Sanderson Farms distribute a newsletter? If so, is it available online?
Yes, Sanderson Farms issues a quarterly newsletter and it is available online, please visit our newsroom.