S4 Chick on Eggs
In your opinion, what came first: The chicken or the egg? - Spencer E, ON

We think the chicken came first, and we’re not the only ones. In a scientific report published in 2010, a group of British scientists concluded that only a chicken could produce the eggshell protein used to make a chicken egg, and therefore, the chicken must have come first.

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How much chicken does the average Canadian eat?

The average Canadian ate 30 kg per person in 2012. This is the 17th highest per capita consumption in the world. Jamaica is first with 53 kg per person.

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What is Chicken Farmers of Canada?

Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) is a national farmer-run organization. Our main responsibility is to ensure that our farmers produce enough chicken to meet the needs of the marketplace. The system we operate under is commonly known as supply management.

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How much chicken does Canada produce?

Canada's chicken farmers produced 1,024 million kilograms of chicken in 2012. That's approximately 630 million birds.

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What are nitrates? Are they bad for you?

Nitrates and Nitrites are inorganic (chemical) compounds that are either man-made or naturally-occurring. The word derives its origin from nitrogen, which is found everywhere – in the air and in the soil.

Nitrates are used to cure, or preserve foods – like meat – and aim to ensure shelf-life of foods by making bacterial contamination meat to prevent the growth of Clostridium botulinum, whose toxin causes botulism. 

Some consumers have questions about nitrates and other preservatives in their foods. Consumers have become concerned about nitrates and nitrites because of connections being made in many circles about theoretical links to nitrate consumption and health issues. 

Here’s the technical stuff:  While experts believe there is no direct link between nitrates and cancer directly, there is some concern about amines (proteins) in the body, which can combine with nitrites to form compounds known as nitrosamines, some of which may be carcinogenic. On the flipside, some scientific recommendations maintain that the benefits of curing meats (like avoiding botulism) continue to outweigh any potential risk. 

For generations, curing food was done by salt alone – which removed moisture from the food and from any bacteria that may be contaminating it – and turned the nitrate into nitrite (the same thing happens in our digestive tract when we consume nitrates).  Sodium nitrate is a specific kind of salt that is found naturally in vegetables like carrots, turnip, parsnips, celery and leafy greens. 

Sometimes, in an effort to avoid nitrates, consumers turn to products labelled “no added nitrates”.  In many of these cases, companies will sometimes use natural, rather than artificial, sources of nitrates, like celery root extract. Fresh, single ingredient meats will not have added nitrates.

The key is choice and understanding. Read your label carefully and make your decision from there.

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