Safe Chicken

Hormone Use Banned in Canadian Chickens

In a landmark announcement, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has banned the use of hormones in chicken production. To take effect on March 4, 1963, this decision means the Canadian industry needs to completely revamp its feed regulations and on-farm programs to adjust for the announced changes…

Wait. Did you just say 1963? I thought this was a new announcement and a new regulation… aren’t chickens pumped full of hormones to get their juicy, delicious meat to market faster so hungry Canadians can get their fix?

They’re not? You mean hormones are never used here in Canada, and that they were in fact banned over 50 years ago?

Well, let me tell you: yes, it’s true! Canada banned the use of hormones in Canadian poultry on March 4, 1963.  Though it is rare, some marketers still classify their chicken as “hormone-free.” This is used as a marketing tactic, since all chickens raised in Canada have been raised without added hormones. Every piece of chicken sold in Canada can include the phrase “no added hormones”, but they don’t, because allowing it to be included in packaging or on a label would create concern with consumers, when none should exist.

According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:

 “Raised without the use of hormones” delivers a clear message that the animals were not given hormones. Consumers may not be aware that the use of hormones is only permitted with certain animals. Where hormones are not permitted, the phrase “like other animals” avoids false uniqueness between similar products and avoids the creation of an erroneous impression regarding the character and composition of the product.

Claims such as “hormone free” without any other information appearing on the label could create the impression that the meat in question does not contain hormones. As meat, poultry, and fish products contain naturally occurring hormones, the claim “hormone free” is incorrect and inaccurate and should not be used.

Sadly, this is a concern that we still find ourselves answering, even though feeding, injecting or otherwise administering hormones to chickens has been illegal in Canada since way back in the 60s. It’s odd to think that a myth such as this has such staying power.

Still, many people believe that hormones and steroids are pumped into chickens to make them bigger, and thus yield more for the farmer. But it’s simply not true. As long as the label says “chicken,” then you can rest assured that it’s been raised without added hormones.  It’s as simple as that.