The turkey can make or break Thanksgiving dinner.
With an estimated 46 million turkeys being consumed by Americans on Thanksgiving alone, it’s important to know exactly what you’re eating.
Shopping for the perfect turkey that’s fresh, pasture-raised, and non-GMO can be tricky.
OrganicConsumers.org notes that a majority of turkeys come from overcrowded factory farms where they’re pumped with antibiotics and other drugs.
If you’re looking for a healthy alternative, you have to find ethically and humanely-raised turkeys.
Here’s a few things to look out for when picking the bird that will bring the whole family together for a holiday feast:
Where to Find Fresh Turkeys
Check out this website and simply enter “turkey” and your zip code to find out a list of farms where you can grab a fresh turkey. You can either buy your turkey through the site or click the name of any local farms and pick one up directly through them.
This website allows you to find a directory of pastured products when you click “Shop for Local Grassfed Meat, Eggs & Dairy.” You can use the Google map to narrow it down by state and enter “turkey” in the search to find local farms and snag their contact information.
If you haven’t had time to check out a local farm for your fresh turkey, you can still buy one at the grocery store.
What to Look For on Labels
Organic turkeys are raised on a 100% organic diet. They eat organic grains that haven’t been genetically engineered, modified, or sprayed with pesticides. They also aren’t given antibiotics, which makes them your best option. If you want a turkey that was raised outdoors, look for a label that reads “pasture-raised.” Otherwise, it’s possible the turkey spent its life indoors.
If there’s slim pickings and you don’t see any USDA Organic turkeys, look for turkeys with the “Certified Humane” label, which means the animal wasn’t given animal byproducts or antibiotics.
It's best if a turkey is USDA Organic and Certified Humane, but if those aren't available, a turkey labeled "No Antibiotics" can still be a good product as these turkeys are less likely to be contaminated with the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can cause illnesses like urinary tract infections of typhoid fever.
Natural, Cage-Free, No Hormones, No Steroids
Be weary of this label. These claims sound great, but they don’t actually mean much as they aren’t regulated or verified. Hormones and steroids are not approved for use on turkeys, while “natural” simply means minimally processed.
For more ideas on how you can save the planet, visit 1Thing.