Paraphrasing Jordi Luque, who wrote a very good editorial in the Spanish newspaper El País on September 5, there are no such things as natural chicken or natural eggs; they are only claims to sell more. And deceive ourselves.
Groups and individuals are looking for natural foods, with no processing, no chemicals, no genetic modifications, cage-free eggs, slow growth chickens, organic chickens and a long etcetera.
However, humans have always processed foods. Although made with "natural" products, jams, bread or a bowl of rice have all undergone a process. And when our ancestors were adding vinegar to preserve foods, a chemical was added: acetic acid.
On the other hand, when humans stopped being nomadic and agriculture was born, the selection of plants and animals with the best features began. Therefore, genetic modification and manipulation also started. We have modified everything, as Luque said.
Last week, I saw a well-known slide in a presentation of a cross-sectional view of broilers from the 1950s, 1970s and the first decade of this century. Quite an impressive development of meat production, especially the breast. Certainly, animals are different now of what they were half a century ago.
What does 'natural' really mean?
So, if we raise the chickens we have now in a "natural” way, will they be real natural chickens? Or will eggs from cage-free hens fed soy and corn "without genetic modification” be more natural than regular eggs?
Neither chickens, nor hens, corn, soybeans, the ground itself, or nothing else are as they were in the idyllic past. The poultry industry should concentrate its efforts on producing animals well, efficiently and without mistreating animals, yielding good quality and safe products, and without affecting the environment. The poultry industry must share with consumers what it does and teach them what it is really worthwhile.
Make no mistakes, says Luque in his article, "When we go out to collect food we do not go to the forest, we go to the supermarket".
"Natural does not exist, it is just a euphemism to soften the fact that we are increasingly further away, precisely, from nature". What do you think?