Five common misconceptions about your holiday bird

It’s no secret that my parents raise turkeys for Butterball LLC. Last year I even shared a behind-the-scenes look at turkey farms in this very magazine. As an insider, my friends that don’t have access to the farming lifestyle ask me tons of questions. I’m happy to share a little bit about our family farm and what I’ve learned about agriculture. I thought this year, in honor of Thanksgiving, I should share five misconceptions that I’m asked about on a regular basis. 

a thanksgiving turkey in the oven


  1. Turkeys are given hormones.  The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve of hormone use in poultry. Despite packaging that claims some poultry products are hormone free, by law, all poultry products are raised hormone free.
  2. All free-range poultry live outside and roam freely. By law, poultry products can be labeled as free-range if the birds had access to the outdoors in some form, not that they ever used it.
  3. Free-range poultry are safer than conventionally raised poultry. All U.S. meat and poultry are subject to the same government regulations and inspection procedures.
  4. Commercially raised livestock, including poultry, come from farms owned by corporations. Today, individuals, family partnerships or family corporations own 98 percent of all U.S. farms.
  5. Consumers should be able to tour poultry and livestock farms. Consumers aren’t allowed to tour poultry and livestock farms to keep the animals safe. It’s very easy to spread diseases if the proper steps aren’t taken to ensure bio-security.