Choosing healthy, natural chicken for your table should be simple. We’ve compiled answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions about Just BARE®.
Simply scroll to a topic that interests you below, then select any question to see the answer. Topics are in alphabetical order.
If you have questions not included here, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to help you.
What if I’m not 100% satisfied with my Just BARE® purchase?
American Humane Certified™
What is American Humane Certified™ Farm Program?
The American Humane Certified™ Farm Program is the nation’s first third-party audit program for farm animal welfare. It is backed by the American Humane Association and based on the accepted values of the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare. The standards were created with input from renowned animal science experts and veterinarians. These standards are also frequently reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Committee to ensure they reflect current research, technological advances and humane handling methods.
What are the “five freedoms” of animal welfare?
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
2. Freedom from discomfort
3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease
4. Freedom to express normal behavior
5. Freedom from fear and distress
Who guides the development of the American Humane Certified™ program?
The American Humane Certified™ Scientific Advisory Committee reviews American Humane Certified™ Standards regularly. Comprised of distinguished animal welfare experts, including Dr. Temple Grandin, the committee provides guidance and recommendations for the association’s activities and initiatives. More specifically, the committee:
• Reviews and revises procedures, guidelines, policies and ethics
• Initiates and evaluates original and secondary research
• Guides the association in determining best practices
Why did we decide to certify our practices for our Just BARE® Natural products?
We made the decision to third-party certify our animal care practices for Just BARE® because animal welfare is a critical priority. In addition, it is table stakes for expanding requirements of a growing segment of natural, more conscientious consumer.
Which of your Just BARE® products are American Humane Certified™?
Our Just BARE® Natural products are American Humane Certified™ because the chickens were raised by our family farm partners who participate in the annual certification audit process. Our Organic Just BARE® products come from chickens supplied to us by certified organic farmers and do not carry the AHC label. These farmers adhere to the animal welfare standards required under the National Organic Program.
Animal Care & Welfare
Does your company have an animal welfare policy to ensure humane treatment? What is it?
Yes. Pilgrim’s®, the company behind the Just BARE® brand, recognizes our ethical obligation to the health and humane care of our chickens—and we take that responsibility very seriously. From breeding, to hatching, to processing, our policy is straightforward—zero tolerance for any deliberate abuse or mistreatment of our chickens.
What does “no antibiotics ever” mean?
There are a lot of claims regarding antibiotic usage. However, what’s stated on the label is what really matters since only label statements are regulated by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.
According to the USDA-FSIS definition, “no antibiotics ever” means a chicken has never been administered antibiotics during its life cycle. This includes while the chick is incubating in the shell as well as after it hatches and throughout its lifetime. In the event that a bird requires antibiotic treatment, we will engage our professional veterinary team to assess the bird and provide proper course of treatment and relocate the bird to a conventional program. It is never sold as Just BARE®.
Does the use of antibiotics in chicken pose any risk to humans?
The USDA and FDA enforce strict standards for use of medications in food animals. Antibiotics have been used responsibly and judiciously for many years by the chicken industry in the best interest of the bird and human health. Even so, we continue to seek innovative production practices that allow us to decrease the use of these tools.
Are arsenicals fed to Just BARE® flocks? What are they?
No, arsenicals are not given and never have been given to Just BARE® flocks. By the way, wondering what an arsenical even is? By definition, it is a “drug or other compound containing arsenic”. Historically, arsenic was used as a feed additive to support overall bird health and protect against certain illnesses like coccidiosis—a parasitic disease of the intestinal tract. It has since been removed from the U.S. market.
Are your chickens raised in cages?
Our chickens are not raised in cages. They are free to move about in modern, climate-controlled barns, known as “growout houses”, with strict bio-security plans. This reduces the threat of stress or exposure to the elements and environmental dangers such as avian influenza.
What do you feed your chickens?
We provide our chickens quality feed that is nutritionally balanced. Our proprietary formulas are developed under the direction of experienced nutritionists to produce healthy chickens, and wholesome, tasty chicken products. Our feed contains nutritious corn, soybean meal, minerals, vitamins and other natural ingredients. There are no antibiotics, no added hormones/steroids, no animal byproducts and no arsenicals.
Food Allergens & Ingredients
Does Just BARE® chicken contain any allergens?
Our Just BARE® Natural and Organic chicken does not contain added solution or ingredients, is gluten free and does not contain allergens.
Our Just BARE® Deli Rotisserie chicken is marinated with chicken broth, sea salt, and water, so it does not contain any allergens or ingredients that can cause food sensitivities.
However, it’s important to note that supermarket meat and/or deli team members may occasionally add ingredients of their own after our products are distributed to them. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you check the label or talk to the meat or deli department manager if you suspect additional ingredients may have been used.
How do I know my chicken is properly cooked?
There are some visual cues to help you know when your chicken is thoroughly cooked. These include:
• Juices should run clear and there should be no sign of pink in the meat.
• A fork should insert easily into the meat.
However, to be sure, experts advise to always use a meat thermometer. USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service recommends cooking chicken regardless of cut to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Take the temperature in the thickest section of the thigh or breast. Be sure the temperature probe doesn’t touch bone or the cooking surface.
What can I do to ensure safety while cooking and handling fresh chicken?
Most food safety issues related to chicken and other fresh meat arise from bacteria (such as salmonella) common in the digestive tracts of farm animals. These bacteria are easily destroyed by heat. Therefore, proper cooking of poultry virtually eliminates the risk of these potentially harmful bacteria. Check out the National Chicken Council website for more detailed tips!
Freshness Date Code
What information does the code printed on the upper right of every package contain?
A manufacturer’s sell-by date that indicates when the product should be sold fresh by for best quality.
What about GMOs?
Does your chicken feed contain GMOs?
Just BARE® Natural/Deli/Prepared Products: Ultimately, the FDA monitors and regulates the safety of feed ingredients like genetically modified (GM) crops to ensure safe consumption for animals and humans, and we follow their lead. We have absolute confidence in the safety and wholesomeness of the feed provided to our chickens.
Just BARE® Organic: Our Just BARE® Organic chickens are fed a non-GMO vegetable and grain diet. USDA Organic regulations prohibit the use of genetic engineering in production of organic products.
Does meat from animals given feed made from genetically modified (GM) crops contain GMOs?
Despite increasingly accurate and sensitive testing, food scientists have been unable to identify any difference in the meat, milk or eggs of animals based on the type of feed they are fed. There is no nutritional difference between chicken products made from chickens that have been fed GM crops versus chickens that have not. Most importantly, there has been no food safety or health risk with respect to consuming chicken or other animal agriculture products (e.g. eggs, dairy) that have been raised with GM feed ingredients. This position is supported by more than 15 years of the widespread use of GMO crops in conventional agriculture without any noticeable ill effects and by the World Health Organization (WHO).
If there are no hormones added to your chicken, why doesn’t your label read, “hormone-free?”
Our package does not read “hormone-free,” because all living creatures have hormones in their bodies naturally, including chickens. These hormones regulate many of the chickens’ functions similar to the way they do in humans. Because there are naturally occurring hormones in chicken, we can’t state on our label that our chicken is “hormone-free”.
What does “no added hormones” mean?
Simply stated, that means no hormones or steroids were used in the production of our chicken products. In fact, no hormone or steroid has ever been approved by the USDA or FDA for use in poultry.
Does Just BARE® chicken contain any added ingredients?
Our Just BARE® Natural and Organic chicken products do not contain added solution or ingredients of any type including salt, water, carrageenan (seaweed extract) or other binding agents, or preservatives. It’s 100% all natural chicken and nothing else.
Our Just BARE® Deli Rotisserie Chicken is marinated with natural chicken broth, sea salt, and water—to keep it tender and juicy during cooking and reheating. However, it’s important to note that supermarket meat and/or deli team members may occasionally add ingredients of their own after our products are distributed to them. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you check the label or talk to the meat or deli department manager if you suspect additional ingredients may have been used.
Your packaging indicates that Just BARE® Natural is “all natural.” What does that mean?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has defined “natural” as a product that has no artificial ingredients, coloring ingredients, or chemical preservatives, and is minimally processed. We agree, so that’s how we define it too!
What does “USDA organic” certified mean when it comes to chicken?
Before chicken products can be labeled with the USDA organic seal, a USDA-accredited certifying agent must verify that the products meet USDA’s national organic standards as specified by the National Organic Program Final Rule (including the farm where raised and rearing, handling and production practices and substance use). Overall, organic producers must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances. For livestock and poultry, the USDA organic seal requires that:
1. The edible chicken products must be from chickens that have been raised organically on an organic farm no less than two days after hatch;
2. Chickens were raised in accordance to established animal health and welfare standards;
3. Chickens were fed certified 100% organic feed for their entire lives. Feed used for organic poultry production must not contain animal drugs, including added hormones, to promote growth (note: the federal government prohibits the use of added or synthetic hormones in chickens) or antibiotics (including ionophores); supplements or additives in amounts above those needed for adequate nutrition and health maintenance; plastic feed pellets; urea or manure; animal by-products (of mammalian or avian origin); additives or supplements in violation of the FDA; genetically engineered grains; or any grains grown using pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
4. Chickens were never, ever treated with antibiotics; and
5. Chickens are given access to the outdoors unless inclement weather, the animal’s stage of life or conditions could jeopardize the health, safety, or wellbeing of the chickens.
Your label says “access to outdoors.” Is that the same as “free-range?”
No. The chickens sold under the organic Just BARE® label are not “free-range” as they do not have unlimited access to the outdoors. Instead, chickens roam freely in comfortable barns with open floors and have limited outdoor access. The barns provide access to fresh water and feed, natural light and ventilation. Raising chickens outdoors in the Midwest presents several challenges, including weather, predators and exposure to diseases like avian influenza. For example, baby chicks need to be kept warm and dry during the first two weeks of their life and would not survive living outdoors. Older chickens would suffer extreme stress, even death, if kept outdoors during the cold and hot weather.
Does a certified organic label guarantee that chicken is 100% GMO-free?
No, that’s why you won’t see a GMO-free/non-GMO claim on many organic products. Despite rigid organic certification procedures, organic certification is about the “process” of keeping GMOs out of the food, not about the “validation” of the absence of GMOs in food. The NOP Final Rule outlines that an organic operation has to document that it has not used GMOs and takes reasonable steps to avoid contact with GMOs. Because there is no testing process required for organic ingredients, there is a slight chance that GMOs could make their way into some organic foods. This could result from:• Cross-pollination between GMO and non-GMO crops in adjacent fields;
• Trace amounts of GMO ingredients found in animal feed;
• Seeds traveling by wind or migratory birds to the fields of an organic farm; and
• The accidental co-mingling of ingredients from suppliers.
While organic certifiers want to ensure that GMOs are not used in organic products, many agree that 100% verification of GMO-free may not be possible, and requiring it could severely cripple organic production.
Are the Just BARE® trays recyclable?
Yes! We moved away from foam trays, due to the negative impact they have on our environment. Our current plastic trays are recyclable and are transparent too, to ensure you have full visibility to our product.
Please check your local recycling site requirements before attempting to recycle tray.
Why is the number of servings stated on the nutritional labels different from the number of pieces inside the package? Does one piece equal one serving?
No. One piece doesn’t equal one serving. The USDA’s recommended serving size for boneless skinless chicken breast is 3 ounces (after cooking), or a piece about the size of a deck of cards. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, women should have around 5 ounces of meat or meat products in their daily diet; men about 6 ounces. Depending on the brand of chicken you buy, a boneless skinless chicken breast can weigh between 5 and 9 ounces—as much as double or triple the recommended size for a single serving. Visit 9 Portion Mistakes to Avoid to learn more, or use USDA’s handy MyPlate Daily Checklist to build a customized diet for you and your lifestyle.
Truthfulness of Labeling
How do I know all the package claims on your label are truthful?
Just BARE® follows all labeling regulations as mandated by the USDA-Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS)—the agency responsible for ensuring the truthfulness and accuracy of labeling for meat and poultry.
Vegetable & Grain Fed/No Animal By-Products
Your Just BARE® Natural and Organic labels say the products are “Vegetable & Grain Fed.” What does that mean?
It means that the Just BARE® chickens are not fed animal byproducts of any type (includes meat and bone meal, and vegetable/animal fat blends).
Water Retention Statement
It says “Up to X% Retained Water” on the label. Are you adding water to my chicken?
No. Water is used to quickly cool and clean chicken meat during processing. As chicken meat cools, it naturally absorbs or “retains” a small amount of water. The moisture retention statement indicates how much retained water is in the chicken product you are buying. We follow the regulated standards of the USDA, and strive to minimize the amount of water in our packages. The amount of water retained varies by cut and part of chicken, and is stated clearly on the package.