Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is Perdue Chicken Bad For You?

Also Known As: Perdue Farms, Perdue poultry



Short answer

Perdue Chicken products are a rich source of protein and other essential nutrients and can be part of a healthy diet. However, some options may be high in sodium or added sugars, and the cooking method can impact their nutritional value. Perdue's commitment to no antibiotics ever and improved animal welfare practices may also influence the quality and safety of their chicken. While not all Perdue products are organic or free-range, they offer a variety of chicken options to meet different dietary needs and preferences.



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Long answer

Nutritional Profile of Perdue Chicken Products

When evaluating whether Perdue Chicken products are beneficial or detrimental to health, it's crucial to closely examine their nutritional profile. Poultry, by nature, is a good source of lean protein, and chicken can be a valuable component of a balanced diet when prepared healthily. Let's delve into the nutrients you can expect to find in Perdue Chicken products and discuss the implications for health.

Macro Nutrients:

  • Protein: A vital macronutrient for muscle building and repair, Perdue Chicken, like other chicken products, is generally high in protein. A typical serving may contain between 20-25 grams of protein depending on the cut and preparation.
  • Fat: The fat content can vary, with skinless options offering a leaner choice. For example, a serving of skinless Perdue chicken breast would typically contain 3 grams of fat, while chicken with the skin on will have a higher fat content.
  • Carbohydrates: As a pure source of meat, Perdue Chicken is essentially free of carbohydrates unless it is breaded or prepared with sugary glazes or sauces.


  • Vitamins: Chicken is a good source of certain B vitamins, particularly B6 and niacin, which are essential for energy metabolism and neurological health.
  • Minerals: You'll also find minerals such as phosphorus and selenium in Perdue Chicken. These are important for bone health and antioxidant functions, respectively.

Consider the case of Perdue's Simply Smart Organics Lightly Breaded Chicken Strips, which offer the following approximate nutritional value per serving (4 oz. or 112g):

Nutrient Amount
Calories 190
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 40mg
Sodium 500mg
Total Carbohydrates 10g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 1g
Protein 15g
Vitamin D 0mcg
Calcium 10mg
Iron 0.4mg
Potassium 460mg

This table highlights that, while breaded products add carbohydrates and fats that are not present in plain chicken, they can still be part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation. However, the added sodium level is worth noting, since high sodium intake can be linked to an increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases according to the CDC's dietary guidelines.

The nutritional content can vary significantly based on the specific product and any added ingredients. Organic or non-GMO labeled products may appeal to those concerned with agricultural practices, though it's important to note that these factors do not necessarily correlate with nutritional value.

When selecting Perdue Chicken products or any prepackaged meats, it's advisable to look for simple ingredient lists and choose options with minimal additives to maximize the health benefits and minimize potential risks associated with preservatives and artificial flavors.

Lastly, while the inherent nutrients in chicken are valuable, the method of preparation is equally important. Grilled, baked, or broiled Perdue Chicken, for instance, is generally healthier compared to fried options, which can increase caloric and fat intake substantially.

Antibiotics, Hormones, and Animal Welfare Concerns

Understanding the implications of antibiotics, hormones, and animal welfare practices in poultry production is crucial for evaluating the health and ethical considerations associated with consuming chicken products. The use of antibiotics in animal agriculture has been linked to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a significant public health concern. Conversely, hormones have historically been used to promote growth in various livestock, although they are not legally permitted in poultry production in the United States.

Perdue Farms, known for their wide array of chicken products, has made considerable efforts to address these concerns. According to their official statements and policies, Perdue has committed to raising chickens with "no antibiotics ever", a policy that has been in place since September 2019. This pledge means that the chickens are not administered antibiotics at any point in their life cycle, potentially reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance and ensuring the presence of antibiotic residue in the meat is minimized. Furthermore, the company's practices align with the Federal regulations that prohibit the use of hormones in poultry, ensuring that Perdue chicken products are hormone-free.

Animal welfare is another aspect where Perdue has taken steps toward improvement. The company states they have implemented advancements such as increased space for birds, natural light access, and environmental enrichments that encourage natural behaviors. Perdue's approach to animal welfare seemingly reflects a response to consumer demand for more humanely raised meat and a commitment to better industry practices. These measures can be beneficial not only for the ethical treatment of animals but also for the quality and safety of the chicken produced.

Here is a breakdown of key facets related to Perdue Chicken:

  • Antibiotic Use: Perdue reports a "no antibiotics ever" policy across their chicken products, addressing the public health issue of antibiotic resistance and ensuring a reduction in antibiotic residues.
  • Hormone Use: Federal laws ban the use of hormones in raising chickens. Perdue adheres to this regulation, and thus their chicken products are hormone-free.
  • Animal Welfare Policies: Measures like providing more space, natural lighting, and environmental enrichments aim to improve the well-being of poultry during the farming process.

While these policies position Perdue as a leader in adapting to consumer expectations for health and ethical standards, it's essential to corroborate these claims with third-party verifications and certifications. For instance, Perdue's antibiotic-free claims are supported by USDA Process Verified Programs. Additionally, animal welfare certifications can provide an extra layer of assurance for consumers who are concerned about the ethical treatment of the animals they consume.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the potential impact of consuming Perdue chicken on one's health, it's advisable to consider these practices alongside broader dietary choices and personal health goals. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a dietician can be beneficial in making informed decisions about including such products in a balanced diet.

Potential Contaminants: Addressing the Salmonella Risk

One of the concerns when consuming poultry products, such as those produced by Perdue Chicken, is the risk of exposure to bacterial pathogens, most notably Salmonella. Let's delve into the Salmonella risk associated with chicken, how it impacts your health, and the measures taken to control it.

Salmonella is a type of bacteria that can cause foodborne illness, colloquially known as salmonellosis. Symptoms of infection may include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. These symptoms usually develop 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria and can last 4 to 7 days. While most individuals recover without treatment, certain groups such as the elderly, infants, and those with weakened immune systems might require hospitalization.

To understand the significance of this risk, we must look at the incidence rate. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Salmonella causes about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths in the United States every year. Chicken is a leading source because the bacteria naturally live in the digestive tract of poultry.

However, it's important to note that Perdue, like many other poultry producers, has implemented a variety of safeguards to minimize the presence of Salmonella in their products. These measures are guided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations and include:

  • Regular testing for Salmonella at various production stages.
  • Sanitation protocols in processing facilities to prevent contamination.
  • Vaccination of chickens against Salmonella to reduce its prevalence.

While such measures aim to reduce the risk, no method is foolproof, and cases of contamination might still occur. In recent years, studies have shown a reduction in the prevalence of Salmonella due to improved industry practices. For consumers, proper handling and cooking practices are essential in preventing Salmonella infection. The safe cooking temperature for chicken is an internal temperature of 165°F (73.9°C), as recommended by the USDA.

It is also crucial for consumers to practice:

  • Proper handwashing after handling raw poultry.
  • Avoiding cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards for raw chicken and other foods.
  • Storing chicken at the right temperature to prevent bacterial growth.

Responsibility lies on both the manufacturer and the consumer to ensure food safety. By staying informed about potential risks and following recommended guidelines, the risk of Salmonella can be significantly reduced, improving overall food safety.

For those interested in statistical data, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides regular reports on Salmonella performance standards for poultry products, which can be a useful resource for understanding the current state of poultry product safety in the commercial market.

The Debate on Non-GMO vs. Conventional Chicken Feeds

When it comes to poultry production, the type of feed given to chickens is a significant factor that can influence the quality and healthfulness of the meat. There's an ongoing debate surrounding Non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) versus conventional chicken feeds and their impact on both human health and environmental sustainability. To understand this debate, it’s essential to dive into the specifics of feed composition and the implications of GMO ingredients.

Understanding GMOs: Genetically modified organisms are those whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques intended to introduce new traits or characteristics. In agriculture, GMO technology is often used to make crops resistant to pests or herbicides, which can lead to increased yields.

Concerns About GMO Feeds: Critics of GMOs argue that there may be potential health risks associated with consuming GMO foods. While the currently approved GMOs have been deemed safe by numerous scientific organizations, including the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, the long-term implications are still a subject of research and debate. Consumers may choose non-GMO products due to concerns over:

  • Unknown health effects
  • Allergic reactions
  • The environmental impact of GMO crops

Supposed Benefits of Non-GMO Feeds: Non-GMO advocates suggest that feeds devoid of GMO ingredients are better for chicken welfare and the environment. They argue that GMO crops often require large amounts of herbicides that can harm biodiversity and soil health. By contrast, non-GMO feeds might be associated with more sustainable farming practices.

Scientific Viewpoints: On the scientific front, research comparing the differences in nutritional content between chicken fed GMO versus non-GMO feed is somewhat limited. A literature review published in the journal Animal Biotechnology concluded that the performance, health, and food quality of animals fed GMO feed are comparable to those fed non-GMO feed. Yet, public perception and marketing strategies promote non-GMO feeds as a healthier option, despite the lack of significant evidence indicating a difference in health outcomes.

Regulatory Standards: In the United States, the USDA regulates and sets standards for organic and non-GMO labeling. Chickens labeled as non-GMO should be fed with feeds that do not contain genetically engineered ingredients. This provides an option for consumers who prefer these products, although it's important to note that non-GMO does not necessarily mean organic or free of antibiotics and pesticides.

Price and Accessibility: Non-GMO feeds often result in higher production costs, which are then passed on to consumers. This price difference can play a role in a consumer's decision-making process, especially when balanced against other financial considerations.

To summarize, the debate on Non-GMO vs. conventional chicken feeds revolves around concerns over potential health risks, environmental impact, and the pursuit of sustainable farming practices. As a science-driven entity, our focus remains on presenting current research and regulatory information to help consumers make informed decisions based on credible evidence.

How Cooking Methods Affect the Healthiness of Perdue Chicken

When considering the health implications of consuming Perdue Chicken, we must also look at the methods used to cook the poultry. The preparation and cooking processes can significantly alter the nutrient profile and health impact of chicken. Here's how different cooking methods can affect the healthiness of Perdue Chicken:

Grilling and Broiling

Grilling and broiling are methods that use high heat and typically require little to no added fat. These methods can contribute to a lower calorie meal and preserve the chicken's inherent nutrients. A study published in the Journal of Food Science suggests that grilling can help retain thiamine and riboflavin, two important B vitamins. However, it's crucial to avoid charring the chicken, as this can produce harmful compounds like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which are linked to increased cancer risk.


Baking is a relatively healthy cooking option for Perdue Chicken, especially when done without an excessive amount of added oils or high-calorie sauces. Baking at moderate temperatures can be a low-fat method that minimizes nutrient loss. Still, it's vital to avoid overcooking, as it can lead to the denaturing of proteins and loss of moisture, making the chicken less palatable and potentially reducing the digestibility of the proteins.


The healthfulness of Perdue Chicken can take a hit when frying is involved. Whether it's pan-frying or deep-frying, the incorporation of oil significantly increases the calorie and fat content of the final dish. The American Heart Association advises limiting the consumption of fried foods to reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, frying at high temperatures can also result in the formation of acrylamides, which are potential carcinogens found in browned and fried foods.

Steaming and Poaching

Steaming and poaching are cooking methods that can help maintain the moisture and natural flavor of Perdue Chicken without adding extra fat. According to the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, these gentle cooking methods can help preserve water-soluble vitamins and minerals that would otherwise be lost in methods relying on higher heat or cooking with fat.

Using a Slow Cooker

Using a slow cooker can be a great option to tenderize Perdue Chicken, allowing for the use of less fat while keeping the meat moist. Slow cooking can also help develop rich flavors without the need for high-calorie ingredients. However, it's essential to keep in mind that some vitamins, particularly Vitamin C, can be degraded after long cooking times at low temperatures.


Microwaving is a quick and convenient method, but it can unevenly cook the chicken, affecting its texture and overall appeal. On the upside, microwaving may preserve vitamins and minerals better than some other cooking methods due to the reduced cooking time, as mentioned in an article from Food & Nutrition Research.

It's clear that how you cook Perdue Chicken can influence not just its flavor, but also its nutritional value and potential health risks. For the health-conscious consumer, methods that use less oil and avoid high heat that induces charring are preferable.

Perdue's Commitment to No-Antibiotics-Ever: Marketing or Meaningful?

The conversation surrounding the use of antibiotics in poultry farming is a significant one, with implications for both public health and animal welfare. Perdue Farms claims a "No-Antibiotics-Ever" (NAE) pledge. This discussion merits delving into scientific studies and expert opinions to discern whether this promise stands as a meaningful commitment or serves merely as a marketing tool.

Firstly, it's essential to understand the context. The widespread use of antibiotics in livestock has been linked to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a concern highlighted by the World Health Organization. The overuse and misuse of these drugs in animals closely mirrors the issues faced in human healthcare.

In this light, Perdue's approach appears to reflect a significant shift towards responsible farming practices. In contrast to some industry players, Perdue asserts that their NAE pledge extends throughout the lifecycle of the chicken, from hatchery to harvest. This means that their birds are not administered antibiotics at any stage, including the absence of ionophores—a type of antibiotic often used in poultry farming to prevent diseases and promote growth—deeming Perdue's products as antibiotic-free by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards.

Research supports the impact of a no-antibiotics-ever policy in poultry. A study published in the Journal of Food Protection indicated that no-antibiotic policies could reduce the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in chicken products. Another analysis by the American Journal of Infection Control corroborated these findings, suggesting that antibiotic-free chicken might mitigate the risk of spreading resistant strains.

Experts, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), have acknowledged the positive implications of reducing antibiotic use in farming. However, there's also a nuanced perspective to consider. Standards and certifications play a critical role, and third-party verification is a significant indicator of the genuineness of such claims. Perdue Farms highlights its USDA Process Verified Program insignia, which involves independent audits confirming their adherence to NAE standards.

Furthermore, the company has taken steps to be transparent about their practices, inviting scrutiny and providing detailed information on their website. Additionally, they've innovated within their industry, employing techniques like herbal extracts and probiotics to maintain the health of their flocks without antibiotics.

While scrutiny often reveals the gap between marketing speak and authentic practice, Perdue seems to have instituted a robust framework upholding their NAE pledge.

In evaluating whether Perdue's commitment to No-Antibiotics-Ever is meaningful rather than merely a marketing strategy, it appears to align with critical public health objectives and sustainability principles. Notably, this effort within the industry stands as one of the many necessary steps in combating the broader issue of antibiotic resistance.

Consumers considering Perdue's products may reasonably interpret the commitment as both a health-conscious and ethical choice, provided the policies are maintained transparently and verified by unbiased, third-party certifications. Nonetheless, mindful consumers should continue to monitor for the latest research and updates in the industry, as corporate practices and regulations evolve over time.

Comparing Perdue Chicken to Organic and Free-Range Alternatives

When deciding between Perdue Chicken and its organic or free-range counterparts, it's essential to understand the nuances that differentiate these options. Here, we will delve into the distinctions based on farming practices, nutritional content, and potential health implications. These aspects can influence a consumer's choice depending on their health goals, ethical considerations, and dietary preferences.

Farming Practices: Perdue Chicken, like many conventional brands, often employs concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) where chickens are raised in confined spaces. Although Perdue has made strides towards more humane practices, such as no-antibiotics-ever (NAE) policies, they may not guarantee the same level of animal welfare as organic or free-range systems. Organic chicken, certified by the USDA, ensures that poultry is given access to the outdoors, fed organic feed, and avoids the use of antibiotics and hormones. Free-range chickens enjoy continuous access to the outdoors, allowing for natural behaviors, which can contribute to healthier, less stressed birds.

Nutritional Content: While the base nutritional content in terms of macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) between Perdue Chicken and organic or free-range chickens may be relatively similar, there are critical differences in the micro-components. Studies suggest that organic and free-range chickens can have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids due to more varied diets including seeds, insects, and greenery. Additionally, due to the lack of antibiotics, there is a lower risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria present in organic and free-range chickens.

Health Implications: The consumption of antibiotic-free chicken is an important consideration for public health. Overuse of antibiotics in poultry farming has been linked to the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains. According to a research article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), antibiotic resistance is a growing concern, and consuming meats raised without unnecessary antibiotics can play a part in combating this global health issue. Furthermore, organic and free-range chickens' higher omega-3 content may offer better nutritional benefits, such as improved heart health, compared to conventional chicken.

It is also worth noting that some individuals may be sensitive to certain additives and preservatives used in conventional poultry processing. Organic and free-range chickens are less likely to contain such substances, potentially reducing the risk of adverse reactions for those with sensitivities. When making an informed decision, it's crucial to weigh these factors based on personal health concerns and dietary goals.

Environmental Considerations: Organic and free-range chicken farming practices are often thought to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The reduced need for antibiotics and growth hormones, along with the natural agricultural processes involved in organic feed production, contribute to a lower environmental impact. Moreover, free-range practices can lead to improved soil health and biodiversity due to the natural behavior of the chickens.

In conclusion, while Perdue Chicken may offer convenience and affordability, organic and free-range alternatives provide benefits that may align more closely with holistic health and environmental sustainability goals. Considering these dimensions can help consumers make choices that suit their health objectives, ethical beliefs, and environmental consciousness.

- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Antibiotic Resistance and Food Safety.” CDC.gov.
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. "Comparison of fatty acid, cholesterol, and vitamin E composition in a conventional, organic, and free-range chicken." 2008.
- United States Department of Agriculture. "Organic Standards." USDA.gov.

Frequently asked questions

The health benefits of Perdue Chicken are primarily attributed to its high protein content, essential vitamins, and minerals, similar to other poultry brands. Perdue stands out with its 'no antibiotics ever' policy and commitment to animal welfare, which may affect the quality and safety of their chicken products.

Perdue has implemented a 'no antibiotics ever' policy since September 2019, raising chickens without antibiotics, thereby potentially reducing the risk of contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, compared to those that do not adhere to this practice.

Perdue Chicken products are designed to maximize health benefits and minimize potential risks associated with preservatives and artificial flavors. While selecting their chicken products, consumers are advised to look for simple ingredient lists and choose options with minimal additives.

Eating skinless Perdue Chicken typically offers a leaner option with higher protein and lower fat content than breaded versions, which contain added carbohydrates and fats. Skinless chicken is preferred for those seeking to limit caloric and fat intake while still benefiting from the protein and essential nutrients found in poultry.

Ask a question about Perdue Chicken and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • gastrointestinal issues from salmonella
  • allergic reactions
  • charring from high-heat cooking contains carcinogens
  • added fats and calories from frying

Possible long-term side effects

  • increased risk of cardiovascular disease from high sodium
  • antibiotic resistance
  • hormonal imbalances from hormone use (though not legal in us poultry)
  • cancer risk from pahs and hcas in cooked meats
  • potential health risks from gmo feeds

Ingredients to be aware of


  • high protein
  • essential b vitamins
  • important minerals such as phosphorus and selenium
  • lower antibiotic residue risk from nae policies
  • higher omega-3 fatty acids in organic/free-range alternatives

Healthier alternatives

  • skinless options
  • grilled, baked, or broiled preparations
  • organic
  • non-gmo
  • free-range

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Swanson Chunked Chicken

  • Protein-rich chicken
  • Convenient canned meat
  • Ready-to-eat
  • 12.5oz per can
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-29-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-29-2024

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