Your ‘All Natural’ Chicken Might Have Everyone’s Favorite Party Drug In Its System

Life & Culture Editor


If you want to get high off Special K, you either have to get it from some shady dude on the street (they deliver now!) or have your doctor prescribe a course of ketamine therapy for depression (expensive!). So what do you do if you want to slip into a k-hole and enjoy the sights and sounds of the universe glitching out as you drool all over yourself? Well, it’s time to start eating chicken.

According to a new lawsuit brought against Sanderson Farms by advocacy groups, the company’s all-natural chicken isn’t as wild and free (of drugs) as you’d expect from the label. In fact, recent government tests found that Sanderson’s hens have been enjoying more than just grass and seeds. Instead, the doped-up cluckers tested positive for the aforementioned ketamine, numerous antibiotics, and even opioids — although it’s not mentioned what kind of analgesic was used. (We’re hoping Percocet, because that’s the best kind.)

If this news hit you with a wave of “meh,” it’s not surprising. Companies dosing their animals isn’t anything new. But the main thrust of this lawsuit isn’t so much the drugs as it is the fact that, once again, companies are playing fast and loose with the meanings of the word “natural” and the phrase “100 percent.” And with those kinds of labels already signifying almost nothing, it’s time to hold Sanderson Farms and other food manufacturers accountable for their carefully-worded lies.

Here’s how the advocacy groups are doing it: Instead of going after that whole “what is natural?” quagmire that always has someone responding with “well, cyanide is also natural; do you want that in your food, too?” (honest answer: with the way things are going, it might not be so bad!) and accusing Sanderson of false advertising which conned people into buying their products under false terms.

From Bloomberg:

One 2016 commercial, for example, features two folksy Sanderson Farms spokesmen in baseball caps telling viewers that the label “raised without antibiotics” is just “a trick to get you to pay more money” and a “marketing gimmick” because federal law requires that “all chicken must be clear of antibiotics before they leave the farm.” As the complaint alleges, however, the FSIS findings show this is not always the case.

And if that’s not enough for you, then there’s this little nugget:

In another, from April of this year, the spokespeople discuss the “no added hormones or steroids” label on chicken products, which elicits the sound of canned laughter from a faux audience. “It’s funny because it’s illegal to give chickens added hormones or steroids,” one of the men says. But the plaintiffs note that the FSIS found synthetic hormone, melengesterol acetate, in its residue testing.

So, okay, apparently the point here is that we should either stop eating chicken that bears a “natural label” if we really care about our health or that companies should stop labeling the products as such. What no one is addressing is that our chickens are on ketamine. Why are they on ketamine? Why are they taking opioids? Will we ever know? It looks like the plaintiffs in this case have a hard legal battle coming. Maybe don’t eat the chicken if they lose? (Or do, if you’re having a really bad day and think a nice dissociative high might help.)

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