Sep 26, 2005
Lab Tests Result
Lab Tests - Can It Tell An Organic Chicken From An Ordinary Chicken?
A customer asked an interesting question – can a lab test tell which chicken is truly “organic”? Our answer is “yes”. We had sent some chickens for tests and the difference is quite obvious if you know what to look for. We took a CERTIFIED organic chicken imported from Australia called Barlil and used it as a benchmark. Together with this chicken, we had tested two other local UNCERTIFIED “organic” chickens, brands A and B..
Here are the results:Barlil “Org.”A “Org.” B
Lauric Acid (s) none 12.5 3.2
Myristic Acid (s) none 12.6 3.4
Arachidic (s) none 0.5 3.3
Palmitic (s) 87.8 179.4 59.0
Stearic (s) 61.2 76.1 116.0
Palmitoleic (m) 8.5 12.8 3.1
Oleic (m) 116.2 218.4 86.0
Eicosaenoic (m) 0.5 1.0 1.9
Linoleic (6) 74.7 126.2 50.0
Arachidonic (6) 31.8 75.7 56.0
Linolenic (3) 0.4 3.4 1.9
EPA (3) 0.8 none 1.0
DPA (3) 1.2 1.9 none
DHA (3) 15.3 1.8 1.5
Total Saturated Fats 149 281 185
Total Unsaturated Fats 249 441 202
Total Omega 3 17.6 7.1 4.4
Total Omega 6 106 202 106
Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio 6 28 24
*Notes: (s) = saturated fatty acids, (m) = monounsaturates, (6) = omega 6 and (3) = omega 3
The first obvious difference is the amount and type of saturated fatty acids. In the above table, saturated fatty acids are marked “(s)”.
An organic chicken would not be allowed to have vegetable oils included in the feed. The addition of vegetable oils is standard practice for feed manufacturers in Malaysia to boost energy levels for fast growth. This will result in high saturated fatty acids. Both chickens A and B show the typical saturated fats profile for chickens consuming high fats and or high energy diets. This would seem to imply that both A and B are fed a manufactured compound feed which are non-organic in source. Grains, whether whole, broken or cracked, will not produce such a high saturated fats profile especially if the chicken is free-ranging. Further, some of the saturated fats come from certain types of vegetable oils and definitely not from grains or plants. For example, lauric from coconut oil. There is always a danger that some of the smaller feed manufacturers may use recycled vegetable oils.
An organic chicken, according to latest international standards must be allowed to free-range in a significant manner and not just a small area just to satisfy use of the term, “free-range”. Some Standards call for 50 sq ft of space per chicken. Our own studies have shown that a chicken will need at least 25 sq ft of pasture to allow the chicken to have significant DHA from grasses and plants. The chicken also cannot be less than 80 days old and must free-range from young to enable the chicken to absorb the omega 3 from grasses and then convert them to DHA. If the chicken is fed high energy feed with limited range and of young age, then it will have almost no DHA as is seen in A and B.
Chickens allowed to graze grass over an extended period of time will have an Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio of 10 to 1 or less. Barlil’s have 6 to 1. “Organic” A and B have 25 and above. This ratio is at the leanest meat – the breast. If we include the skin, A and B would have a ratio of 40 and above.
There is a poor understanding of what constitutes an organic chicken in Malaysia. It is not enough to avoid feeding the chicken antibiotics and to free-range the chicken in a limited area. If chickens are fed high-energy compound feed, the chickens will have high saturated fatty acids and will have excessive omega 6. The danger is that consumers have been warned against red meat and may presume that chickens are a healthy white meat, and therefore may consume chickens very regularly. If the chickens have these unhealthy fats there is a danger that the consumer may end up in square one as far as his health is concerned as Malaysians tend to eat more chickens compared to, say for beef or mutton.
Excessive omega 6 in our diet has been implicated in many autoimmune and degenerative diseases. Here’s an article on the effects of excessive omega 6 in our diet: http://www.geocities.com/dqcleanchicken2/MercolaOmega3Bre...
This study shows that excessive omega 6 have a direct causative link to prostate cancer: http://www.geocities.com/dqcleanchicken2/Omega6Prostate/o...
Chickens A and B are best described as antibiotic-free, free-range chickens, and not “organic”. B is a better chicken than A as it seems to be free-ranged longer. But both have similar fatty acids profile to broilers and wet market chickens.
DQ Chickens and Barlil have similar fatty acids profile. DQ Herbal have even better fatty acids profile than Barlil.