Similar research was conducted in 2008, and the most recent report shows that consumer belief in these myths still remains, even after a decade.
While there has been a positive shift in consumer understanding
- 40% of consumers incorrectly believe that hormones and steroids can be used.
- Around 12% of survey respondents said that antibiotics are used to increase the growth rate of meat chickens. This is despite the introduction of an industry-wide policy 15 years ago of no use of antibiotics for growth promotion.
- Conversely, only 18% of consumers surveyed correctly believe that meat chickens are raised without cages.
The Australian Chicken Meat Foundation Executive Director Dr Vivien Kite said that these beliefs are simply untrue.
“In Australia, meat chickens are not raised in cages and the use of hormones and steroids was banned decades ago,” she said.
“Our rigorous Australian standards restrict antibiotic use only to treat unwell chickens or prevent infections if there is a high risk of disease. Also, strict withholding periods exist to ensure that there are no antibiotics present at the time of processing.”
Lead researcher Professor Wendy Umberger is the Executive Director of the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide said that it was interesting to see that such misperceptions still exist after such a long period of time.
“While its concerning that these myths still exist, the research found consumers are generally satisfied with the quality and safety of chicken meat.”
“Chicken has the lowest environmental footprint of all meats, and is the least expensive form of meat protein. More than 99% of chicken meat sold in Australia is born, bred, and raised in Australia, giving shoppers confidence their choice is good for them, their wallet, and the environment.”