Have a Question? We Have Answers.

Welcome to our FAQ page! Here, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about GNP Company our Just BARE® and Gold’n Plump® chicken brands and products. Simply scroll to a topic that interests you below, then select any question to see the answer. Topics are in alphabetical order. 

More detailed information can be found on our brand websites at JustBAREChicken.com and GoldnPlump.com. If you don’t find the information you need, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to help.

American Humane Certified™ Farm Program

  1. Q.

    Which of your company’s products are covered under the American Humane Certified™ (AHC) farm program? How do I know?

    A.

    GNP Company produces products under both the Just BARE® and Gold’n Plump® brand labels. Simply look for the American Humane Certified farm program seal on the label. All product labels displaying the label are certified. Currently, all Just BARE® and many Gold’n Plump® products are certified.

    However, though not ALL of our products are AHC certified, our audits include ALL of the contracted family farm partners/grow-out barns involved in the raising of chickens for both our brands.

    NOTE: Organic Just BARE products come from chicken supplied to us by certified organic farmers from Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. These farmers adhere to the animal welfare standards required under the National Organic Program. See the organic section on the Just BARE website for more details.

  2. Q.

    What does it take to become certified under the American Humane Certified™ farm program?

    A.

    Each year, both of GNP Company’s primary production plants, hatcheries, ALL new family farm partners/grow-out barns, and a percentage of previously audited contracted family farm partners/grow-out facilities (randomly selected by AHC) are audited and graded against the more than 200 standards of the American Humane Certified™ farm program—more than 30 of which focus specifically on the four major areas of processing. An independent auditing agency conducts the audits. An overall total score of at least 85% is needed to pass, and corrective action plans outlining steps to achieving full compliance provided to AHC for all scores <100%. Get more detail in our animal welfare policy, audit process & performance report.

  3. Q.

    What is American Humane Certified™ farm program?

    A.

    The American Humane Certified farm program was the nation's first third-party audit program for farm animal welfare. It is backed by the American Humane AssociationTM and based on the accepted values of the Five Freedoms created by Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) and adopted by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), as well as input from animal science experts, veterinarians and other animal husbandry specialists.

    It's built around a comprehensive set of science-based standards and sound research. It represents the only RSPCA-approved structure for the rearing, handling, transport and slaughter of chickens. Its standards are reviewed regularly by the American Humane Certified Scientific Advisory Committee and consider legislation, government welfare codes, scientific research, advice of veterinarians, recommendations of the FAWC, and the practical experience of the farming community.

  4. Q.

    What are the “five freedoms” of animal welfare?

    A.

    1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst. Ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain health and vigor.
    2. Freedom from Discomfort. An appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
    3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease. The prevention and rapid diagnosis and treatment.
    4. Freedom to Express Normal Behavior. Sufficient space, proper facilities and company of animals’ own kind.
    5. Freedom from Fear and Distress. Conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

  5. Q.

    Why did GNP Company decide to certify our animal care practices?

    A.

    GNP Company recognizes our ethical obligation to the health, wellbeing, and humane care of our chickens—and we take that responsibility very seriously. We made the decision to third-party certify our animal care practices to be more transparent about our practices and gain an expert outside perspective our animal care and husbandry practices.

  6. Q.

    Why did GNP Company choose to be certified by the American Humane Certified™ farm program versus another third-party certifier?

    A.

    We chose the American Humane Certified™ farm program because it is backed by the American Humane Association™ which has a long-standing reputation for protecting the world's most vulnerable: children and animals. Since its start in 1877, it has been at the forefront of almost every major advance in protecting children, pets and farm animals from cruelty, abuse and neglect. In fact, it was the first and is the fastest-growing third-party certification program in the U.S. Plus its farm program standards are based on science and sound research and guided by a scientific advisory committee of renowned animal welfare experts.

    With its founding association dating back to 1877, it being the nation's first and fastest-growing farm animal welfare program, and its sound, science-based standards, the American Humane Certified farm program is clearly a known and reputable certifier, making it a strong choice for animal welfare certification.

  7. Q.

    Who guides the development of the American Humane Certified™ farm program?

    A.

    The American Humane Certified Scientific Advisory Committee reviews American Humane Certified Standards regularly. Comprised of distinguished animal welfare experts, including Dr. Temple Grandin, the committee provides guidance and recommendations for the association’s activities and initiatives. More specifically, the committee:
    • Reviews and revises procedures, guidelines, policies and ethics
    • Initiates and evaluates original and secondary research
    • Guides the association in determining best practices

Animal Care and Welfare

  1. Q.

    Does your company have an animal welfare policy to ensure humane treatment? What is it?

    A.

    Yes. GNP Company recognizes our ethical obligation to the health, wellbeing and humane care of our chickens—and we take that responsibility very seriously. From breeding, to hatching, to processing, our policy is straightforward—GNP Company has zero tolerance for any deliberate abuse or mistreatment of our chickens. See our policy.

Antibiotics

  1. Q.

    What does “no antibiotics—EVER” mean? Is it the same as “antibiotic-free”?

    A.

    There are a lot of claims regarding antibiotics usage. However, what's stated on the label is what really matters since only label statements are regulated by the USDA-Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

    The approved USDA-FSIS definition is "no antibiotics added” which means the producer of meat/poultry products bearing that label have demonstrated to the Agency the animals were raised without antibiotics.

    You’ll hear people say “antibiotic-free”. However, that term is somewhat misleading since ALL chicken, including conventionally raised chicken, is free of antibiotics. This is due to stringent federal regulations which require a lengthy withdrawal period from all medicines (antibiotics included) well before chickens are processed for market. This allows them to pass through the chickens’ systems and thus prevent the presence of any residue in the meat.

    We state “NO Antibiotics—Ever” on our labels. "No antibiotics-ever" means a chicken has never been administered antibiotics during its life cycle. This includes while the chick is incubating in the shell as well as after it hatches and throughout its lifetime.

  2. Q.

    Are all of GNP Company’s products raised without no antibiotics-ever?

    A.

    All of our chicken products sold under the Just BARE brand and a growing number of Gold’n Plump products offer the “No antibiotics-ever” attribute. To be sure, simply look for the “No antibiotics-ever” claim on the product label.
    We will gradually extend the claim to all Gold’n Plump products, as we are able, while continuing to ensure responsible, ethical animal care and fill customer and consumer commitments. Our goal is to have all retail branded products transitioned to “NO Antibiotics—Ever” by 2019. However, the well-being of the animals entrusted to our care continues to take precedence over all else.

  3. Q.

    Does the use of antibiotics in chickens pose any risk to humans?

    A.

    A growing number of consumers simply prefer to buy meat products from animals that have never been given antibiotics. And that is why antibiotics have been completely eliminated in the rearing of all Just BARE flocks (includes our Natural and Organic product lines).

    It’s important to note, however, that antibiotics have been used responsibly and judiciously for many years by the chicken industry. The USDA and FDA enforce strict standards for use of medications in food animals.

    Any medication administered to animals used for meat has an established withdrawal period, meaning that medications cannot be used a specific number of days prior to the animal being processed. This ensures that all medication has passed through the animal's system, thus virtually eliminating any risk of antibiotic residue in the meat. While there is controversy in the scientific community regarding administering antibiotics to chickens and creating "antibiotic resistance" in humans, there is no scientific evidence to support that this occurs with responsible antibiotics use.

Arsenicals: Never Used

  1. Q.

    Are arsenicals fed to your flocks? What are they?

    A.

    No, arsenicals are no longer fed to any of our flocks. Arsenicals (one common type is Roxarsone) had been used by us and many other chicken companies in their chicken feed. They contain a small amount of an organic, naturally occurring form of arsenic, and help prevent a serious illness, called coccidiosis. This illness occurs in the intestinal tract of chickens, causing suffering and even death.

  2. Q.

    If your flocks aren’t given arsenicals, how are the illnesses it's used for prevented?

    A.

    Our flocks are given a proprietary feed formula to control illnesses like coccidiosis (affects the intestinal tract). This is used in conjunction with a proactive and progressive Active Grower Management Program. This helps us better control the chances of disease and ensures the proper care and handling of our broiler (meat chickens) and breeder (egg-laying chickens) flocks. Read our animal welfare policy.

Avian Influenza: Chicken is Safe

  1. Q.

    Do I have to worry about eating chicken that has been exposed to avian influenza?

    A.

    Avian influenza is NOT a food safety issue. Avian influenza (low or highly pathogenic strains) cannot be transmitted by properly cooked poultry. No one has ever become infected with avian influenza by consuming properly cooked poultry or poultry products.
    For more details visit: http://www.nationalchickencouncil.org/bird-flu-its-not-in-your-food/questions-and-answers-on-avian-influenza/

  2. Q.

    Is there anything I can do to help protect myself from avian influenza?

    A.

    Again, avian influenza is not a food safety issue. Nonetheless, one sure means of protection is always cooking your chicken well done. Visually, that means until juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink. And a fork should insert easily into the meat. However, to be safe every time, the USDA recommends always using a meat thermometer and cooking chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Keep hands and surfaces clean. Hand-washing is the single most effective means of preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses. Use hot, soapy water; scrub at least for 20 seconds, and don't forget your fingernails! For more details, visit http://www.nationalchickencouncil.org/bird-flu-its-not-in-your-food/questions-and-answers-on-avian-influenza/

  3. Q.

    What precautions—if any—do you take to decrease the risk of avian influenza?

    A.

    As an added safety precaution, a portion of every Just BARE flock is voluntarily tested, under USDA's National Poultry Improvement Plan, before the chickens leave the barn for the presence of H5/H7, the Avian influenza strains that may be passed to humans (and have in Asia and other countries).

    If a strain of H5/H7 avian influenza is found in a commercial flock (which is extremely unlikely due to the strict bio-security safeguards in place), the entire flock will be humanely euthanized and will not enter the food supply. In addition, the area will be quarantined to prevent spread to wild birds or other poultry flocks.

  4. Q.

    What’s avian influenza?

    A.

    Avian Influenza is a common disease that occurs in chickens. GNP Company takes avian influenza very seriously, and has been successfully protecting its flocks from this, and other illnesses, since the first cases surfaced more than 20 years ago. It is something the poultry industry in the U.S. has been dealing with effectively for many years.

  5. Q.

    Where can I get more information about avian influenza?

    A.

    To learn more about avian influenza and the safety of poultry products, visit www.avianinfluenzainfo.org or www.cdc.gov. Our consumer care specialists are also on hand to answer your questions.
    By Phone: At 1-877-328-2838 (M through F, 8 am to 4:30 pm CST)
    By Email: At WeCare@JustBareChicken.com.

Cage Free and Free-Range

  1. Q.

    Are your chickens raised in cages?

    A.

    Our chickens are never, ever raised in cages. They are free to move about in modern, climate-controlled barns with strict bio-security plans. This reduces the threat of stress or exposure to the elements and environmental dangers such as avian influenza.

  2. Q.

    Why aren’t your chickens free-range?

    A.

    Raising chickens outdoors in Minnesota and Wisconsin present several challenges, including weather, predators and exposure to diseases like avian influenza. For example, baby chicks need to be kept warm and dry during the first two weeks of their life and would not survive living outdoors. Older chickens would suffer extreme stress, even death, if kept outdoors during the cold and hot weather.

    During their entire life, our chickens roam freely in comfortable, climate-controlled barns with open floors and easy access to fresh water and feed.

    Organic chickens are given limited access to outdoors. See the organic section on our Just BARE website for more details.

Chicken Feed

  1. Q.

    What do you feed your chickens?

    A.

    We provide our chickens quality feed that is natural and nutritionally balanced. Our proprietary formulas are developed under the direction of experienced nutritionists to produce healthy chickens, and wholesome, delicious chicken products. Our feed contains nutritious corn, soybean meal, minerals, vitamins and other natural ingredients-most of which are sourced locally. There are no added hormones/steroids, no animal byproducts and no arsenicals (and no antibiotics for flocks used in our Just BARE and Gold’n Plump products labeled with the “no antibiotics-ever” claim).

  2. Q.

    Where does your chicken feed come from?

    A.

    We have long-term relationships with reputable suppliers for all of our feed ingredients, including many local family farmers who provide us with corn harvested from their fields. Our suppliers are based in the upper Midwest and meet all FDA and USDA standards for feed safety and quality. Accordingly, we have 100% confidence in the integrity, wholesomeness and safety of all of our feed ingredients.

Food Safety: When Cooking and Handling

  1. Q.

    How do I know my chicken is properly cooked?

    A.

    There are some visual cues to help you know when your chicken is thoroughly cooked. These include:
    • Juices should run clear and there should be no sign of pink in the meat.
    • A fork should insert easily into the meat.

    However to be sure, experts advise to always use a meat thermometer. USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service recommends cooking chicken regardless of cut to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. Though you may want your chicken more well done. Take the temperature in the thickest section of the thigh or breast. Be sure the temperature probe doesn't touch the bone or the cooking surface.

  2. Q.

    What can I do to ensure safety while cooking and handling fresh chicken?

    A.

    Most food safety issues related to chicken and other fresh meat arise from bacteria (such as salmonella) common in the digestive tracts of farm animals. These bacteria are easily destroyed by heat. Therefore, proper cooking of poultry virtually eliminates the risk of these potentially harmful bacteria. Visit the Keeping your Food & Kitchen Safe section for more safe cooking tips for chicken as well as tips for safe handling. OR check the Gold’n Plump FAQ page or Just BARE FAQ page.

Freshness Date Code

  1. Q.

    What information does the code printed on the upper right of every package contain?

    A.

    Every package of our chicken features a manufacturer's freshness date code that provides several pieces of important information, including:
    • A manufacturer's sell-by date that indicates when the product should be sold fresh by for best quality.
    • A use or freeze-by instruction that instructs consumers to cook or freeze the package of raw chicken within 48 hours of purchase.*
    • A unique product identification code that enhances product traceability and safety.

    NOTE: The code on our Just BARE Natural products also include a family farm code that allows the product to be traced to family farms where the chicken inside the package was raised.
    *It is not safe to use chicken products that have been stored in your refrigerator for more than 48 hours after being purchase-even if the sell-by date has not passed. That's because very slight temperature changes dramatically increase product spoilage and bacterial development and growth. Fresh chicken in the grocery store is kept at a very consistent, monitored temperature-which increases a product's shelf life. In contrast, when a consumer purchases fresh chicken, it's placed in the grocery cart, walked around the store, checked out, and transported home, exposing it to temperature variations and stress, reducing its shelf life.

GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)

  1. Q.

    Does your chicken feed contain GMOs?

    A.

    At GNP Company, we mill all of the feed for flocks we raise. The grain we use is regionally grown by independent family farmers who choose their own hybrids and varieties. Currently, it is estimated that about 90% of the corn and soybean acres were planted with genetically modified seeds. So many farmers do are planting GM crops. Even if they don’t, it is nearly impossible to prevent cross-pollination with nearby fields. Ultimately, the FDA monitors and regulates the safety of feed ingredients like GM crops to ensure safe consumption for animals and humans, and we follow their lead. We have absolute confidence in the safety of our feed.

    For our Organic Just BARE Products: These chickens are fed 100% certified organic fee. See organic FAQ section for more details on what this means.

  2. Q.

    Does meat from animals given feed made from genetically modified (GM) crops contain GMOs?

    A.

    Despite increasingly accurate and sensitive testing, food scientists have been unable to identify any difference in the meat, milk or eggs of animals based on the type of feed they are fed. There is no nutritional difference between chicken products in which chickens have been fed GM crops versus chickens that have not. Most importantly, there has been no food safety or health risk with respect to consuming chicken or other animal agriculture products (e.g. eggs, dairy) which have been raised with GM feed ingredients. This position is supported by more than 15 years of the widespread use of GMO crops in conventional agriculture without any noticeable ill effects and by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Grade A

  1. Q.

    Is your chicken Grade A quality? It’s not on the label.

    A.

    Although none of our Just BARE chicken products display the Grade A shield, they actually exceed Grade A quality standards for things like shape, meatiness, bruises, broken bones and meat color. The clear package lets consumers judge the quality firsthand. We wanted to use the label to provide other important attributes and information that cannot be easily assessed with the human eye.

    Nearly all of our Gold’n Plump products display the Grade A shield.

Hormones: Not Allowed By USDA

  1. Q.

    If there are no hormones added to your chicken, why doesn’t your label read, “hormone-free?”

    A.

    Our packages of chicken do not read "hormone-free," because all living creatures have hormones in their bodies naturally, including chickens. These hormones regulate many of the chickens' functions similar to the way they do in humans. Because there are naturally occurring hormones in chicken, we can't state on our label that our chicken is hormone-free.

  2. Q.

    What does “no added hormones” mean?

    A.

    Simply stated, that means no hormones or steroids were used in the production of our chicken products. In fact, no hormone or steroid has ever been approved by the USDA or FDA for use in poultry. As a vertically integrated producer, we control every aspect of production - from hatching through processing and marketing. We mill our own corn-based feed using a proprietary formula that produces healthy chickens, and ultimately a wholesome, nutritious and flavorful consumer product.

Natural

  1. Q.

    Does your natural products contain any added ingredients?

    A.

    None of our products labeled as natural contain any added solution or ingredients of any type including salt, water, carrageenan (seaweed extract) or other binding agents, or preservatives. It's 100% all natural chicken and nothing else.

    When buying chicken, always check the ingredient statement to know what’s all in your chicken.

  2. Q.

    What does all natural mean?

    A.

    For GNP Company, all natural means “nothing added/nothing but chicken.” To be labeled as "natural" according to USDA guidelines, chicken must be minimally processed—meaning that the product has simply been cleaned, cut up, trimmed and packaged. In addition, it should contain no artificial ingredients or color. However, USDA's definition of "all natural" currently allows using an "all natural" claim on a label on chicken that has been enhanced with added water, sodium, carrageenan (seaweed extract) or other binding agents. This is often referred to as "pumped-up" chicken.

    While "natural," these added ingredients are often unexpected and confusing to consumers. They can also affect the nutritional content of the food they're buying. For example, a single serving of "pumped up" chicken can contain up to 370 milligrams of sodium—which is a lot when compared to a serving of potato chips (180 milligrams) or a large order of fast food French Fries (330 milligrams).

    That's why it's important to read the fine print on "all natural" labels, to ensure that the chicken you're buying is truly nothing but chicken.

    See Meat & Poultry Labeling Terms for more information.

Organic

  1. Q.

    What does “USDA organic” certified mean when it comes to chicken?

    A.

    Before chicken products can be labeled with the USDA organic seal, a USDA-accredited certifying agent must verify that the products meet USDA’s national organic standards as specified by the National Organic Program Final Rule (including the farm where raised and rearing, handling and production practices and substance use). Overall, organic producers must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances. For livestock and poultry, the USDA organic seal requires that:
    1. The edible chicken products must be from chickens that have been raised organically on an organic farm no less than two days after hatch;
    2. Chickens were raised in accordance to established animal health and welfare standards;
    3. Chickens were fed certified 100% organic feed for their entire lives. Feed used for organic poultry production must not contain animal drugs, including hormones, to promote growth (note: the federal government prohibits the use of hormones in chickens) or antibiotics (including ionophores); supplements or additives in amounts above those needed for adequate nutrition and health maintenance; plastic feed pellets; urea or manure; animal by-products (of mammalian or avian origin); additives or supplements in violation of the FDA; genetically engineered grains; or any grains grown using pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
    4. Chickens were never, ever treated with antibiotics; and
    5. Chickens are given access to the outdoors unless inclement weather, the animal’s stage or life or conditions could jeopardize the health, safety, or well-being of the chickens.

  2. Q.

    Why is the number of servings stated on the nutritional labels different from the number of pieces inside the package? Doesn’t one piece equal one serving?

    A.

    No. One piece doesn’t equal one serving. The USDA’s recommended serving size for boneless skinless chicken breast is 3 ounces (after cooking), or a piece about the size of a deck of cards. According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, women should have around 5 ounces of meat or meat products in their daily diet; men about 6 ounces. Depending on the brand of chicken you buy, a boneless skinless chicken breast can weigh between 5 and 9 ounces—as much as double or triple the recommended size for a single serving. Visit 9 Portion Mistakes to Avoid to learn more, or use USDA’s handy Daily Food Plan tool to build a customized diet for you and your lifestyle.

Truthfulness in Labeling

  1. Q.

    How do I know all the package claims on your label are truthful?

    A.

    GNP Company follows all labeling regulations as mandated by the USDA-Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS)-the agency responsible for ensuring the truthfulness and accuracy of labeling for meat and poultry. Every product label is reviewed and approved by the USDA-FSIS to ensure that all product claims are accurate and truthful.

Water Retention Statement

  1. Q.

    It says “Up to X% Retained Water” on the label. Are you adding water to my chicken?

    A.

    No. Water is used to quickly cool and clean chicken meat during processing. As chicken meat cools, it naturally absorbs or “retains” a small amount of water. The moisture retention statement indicates how much retained water is in the chicken product you are buying. We follow the regulated standards of the USDA, and strive to minimize the amount of water in our packages. The amount of water retained varies by cut and part of chicken, and is stated clearly on the package.

Where to Buy

  1. Q.

    Where can I find your products?

    A.

    Our Gold’n Plump® and Just BARE® products are distributed at grocery stores, supermarket delis and restaurants across the U.S. Find where to buy our product by visiting the “Where to Buy” sections of our brand websites.
    https://www.goldnplump.com/where-to-buy
    https://www.justbarechicken.com/where-to-buy