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Raw chicken wings on the white wooden background.

What You Need to Know Before Buying Chicken in Singapore

We are all familiar with chicken taste, whether KFC or Hainanese. For most of us, eating chicken is almost a daily affair- whether it be a burger for lunch at work or chicken noodles for dinner after a long and tiring day-it seems to always be there for us. Picking the proper chicken, however, can be a tedious task. So let’s first understand how to define quality chicken. This way, you will know exactly what you should look for when purchasing your next chicken piece pack from your preferred Singapore chicken supplier.

Know your Chicken

All chicken farms in Singapore must declare their feed sources and antibiotics used. In Singapore, very few farms practice free-range farming, which means the chickens can roam freely in a large coop. Since we don’t have much space for this here, we can only rely on imports from overseas. Most of our chicken comes from Malaysia, accounting for about 80 percent of our poultry imports. There are many farms there, but you’ll see that the only fresh quality produce and reasonably healthy chicken is from Toh Thye San and Meng Kee (Kee Song) farms in Malaysia. They’re both hormone-antibiotic-arsenic- and drug-free.

Be Familiar with the Labels

When shopping for chicken, you may come across two different labels. The first is “free-range” or “free-roaming,” which means that the birds had access to an outdoor area while they were being raised. The second label is “cage-free, ” The chickens were not kept in cages to restrict their movement but were still raised indoors.

While both types of chickens have access to outdoor areas after slaughter, only free-range chickens are exposed to natural sunlight during their lives. This means that cage-free chickens can be fed vitamin D supplements, which can make them less healthy than free-range ones. In addition, antibiotics and other drugs are used more frequently in raising cage-free poultry than free-range ones because they have increased stress levels due to confinement conditions and lack of natural light exposure.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) made it mandatory for all importers of chicken to label their products with the source country and production method. This makes it easier for consumers to make better-informed choices when purchasing chicken.

Is organic chicken worth it?

There is also another label intended for organic chickens. Organic chickens are raised in similar conditions as free-range chickens, but they don’t receive any antibiotics or growth hormones during their lifespan. This is because organic farming prohibits chemicals in animal feed and fertilizers. The only exception is when a chicken gets sick; organic farmers can then administer antibiotics to cure them.

Organic chickens are not allowed to be fed antibiotics or hormones and must be given organic feed. In addition, they are given a diet grown without herbicides, fungicides, or fertilizers. Their living conditions are also monitored to ensure that they’re kept clean. 

With these strict requirements, it’s understandable that organic chicken is pricier. However, it’s important to remember that while organic chickens aren’t pumped with chemicals and other unnatural growth enhancers, they typically don’t grow as fast as their non-organic counterparts.

What is the chicken's diet?

The first thing we ask when buying chicken is what the bird ate. If you don’t know how your meat was raised and fed, how can you trust it’s been handled with care?

Intensely farmed chickens receive a lot of antibiotics, which may not be suitable for your health. Instead, opt for free-range chickens (which are given a proper diet and roam freely) and grain-fed or corn-fed chickens. The latter two are fed a specific grain or corn diet to create tender meat with a yellowish tinge.

How are the chickens slaughtered?

It would be best to consider how the chickens were raised and slaughtered for consumption. In Singapore, all poultry must be humanely euthanized before reaching the consumer. This means that chickens cannot be killed by drowning or strangling them. Instead, they must be killed using methods such as electric stunning or carbon dioxide gas killing.

Now that you’re armed with the essentials in buying chicken, the next thing you should know is where to find great market bargains for them. Try joining a group buy for fresh produce app so you can score amazing deals when you buy in bulk.

Download the TreeDots Group Buy App on the App Store and Google Play. You can get $5 off your first three purchases when joining the TreeDots group platform. Just make sure to use voucher code: once you check out your cart with a minimum spend of $30 and enjoy additional discounts on your purchases.