Campo Lindo Farms
Here on the farm, we have a VERY SMALL plant where we hand process our chickens. This process is quite
different from the way the large majority of poultry is handled here in the USA.
- Our chickens are raised here and are not shipped a large distance to be processed.
- Jay and Carol hand eviscerate each bird. It is a clean process.
- We do not soak our birds in "chlorine baths" or other chemical cleansers.
- Slow! On a good day, we might get 80 to 90 birds processed per hour. Compare this to conventional
plants, where each line is going at 80 birds PER MINUTE! (Imagine trying to look at each bird at that
- Hand packaged. Each bird gets a final quality inspection by Jay or Carol as we place them in the bags
- We will not sell something that we would not want to serve to our own family.
|JAY AND CAROL'S SOAPBOX on CHEMICALS USED IN PROCESSING CHICKENS
Maybe more information than you want, so read at your own risk!
What potential food borne illness do you think of when you think of raw chicken? Salmonella, right? This is
probably because 100% of the chickens that come into a processing plant contain salmonella. (The
exception would be new genetically engineered salmonella-free chickens.) How do we kill salmonella? Very
easily; by cooking the chicken. Cooked chicken does not contain salmonella.
While processing chickens, Salmonella can be spread onto the meat of the chicken by feces or ingesta from
the bird. This is very common in conventional processing plants, mainly because they are highly mechanized
and very fast. Extremely fast, large plants run around 80 birds per minute through their lines; a truly
mind boggling number to us since on a very good day, we might do that many in one hour! Anyway, USDA has
set a limit on all poultry processing plants on the percentage of Salmonella positive birds that they are
allowed in sample tests. In order to meet this requirement, conventional plants rely on a number of anti-
microbial rinses and dips that they use on the chicken itself to kill the Salmonella.
A commonly used anti-microbial in poultry processing plants is chlorine. Chlorine is a known carcinogen.
Here at Campo Lindo Farms, we do not want to use chemical agents that are not needed. Like I mentioned,
chlorine is a known carcinogen, and when put in the water vats that chill the chickens, it actually breaks
down muscle fibers and is absorbed into the tissue. Jay and I do not want to eat chlorine in our chicken,
nor do we want to feed it to our children. Yes, we realize that it would be in very small levels, levels which
are said to be “safe”, but we simply do not believe that it is necessary.
We process our chickens slowly, by hand, in such a way that in most birds, the feces and ingesta remains in
the digestive tract and never has the chance to contaminate the meat.
Because of the rarity of very small plants like ours, we feel that the agency is having trouble fitting us,
the “square peg”, into the “round hole”. We could fix all of this by adding chemicals into our process, but
that goes against our principles. Does one sample result of slightly higher positives really mean anything?
Doesn’t the fact that we are right in the ball park (without soaking our chickens in chlorine) mean that we
have an extremely clean process? And either way, the main point we keep falling back on… do we really
want to replace an easy to control potential hazard with a chemical hazard that we can do nothing to get rid
of? Isn’t it better to have to cook your chicken before you eat it so that you’re sure it has no salmonella
(which I think we all do anyway!) than to have chlorine in the meat we eat that we cannot get rid of (and
aren’t even aware of its presence…..)?
Many people have commented on the difference between the taste of a Campo Lindo Farms chicken, and
that of a conventional bird. We believe this is caused by the bird having a higher quality of feed, a better
quality of life, and a slower, cleaner process of butchering that involves more care and fewer chemicals.
We are hopeful that everything will work out with our inspection agency, and that we’ll be able to continue
processing our birds by hand in our little plant. …and I suppose it all goes back to Jay and my philosophy on
eating… “Know Where Your Food Comes From”, and perhaps its time to add… “What Is In It”?