Andreas Dubs Chicken Comes Out On Top Interview Aussies Love Their Chicken- and for good reason!
A recent survey has shown that Australians rate chicken as the healthiest meat type, with 53% of respondents ranking it as a healthier option than beef, pork or lamb.
"Chicken breast has the lowest level of saturated fat of all commonly eaten meats. It is also high in protein and a good source of vitamins and minerals, making chicken an excellent and healthy choice at meal times," said Dr Andreas Dubs, Executive Director of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation's (ACMF).
In the same survey, nearly 60 percent of people also rated chicken as the best value for money meat option.
"It is hardly surprising that over the last 40 years, chicken has become a far more important part of our diets, replacing beef as Australian consumers' meat of choice."
"Almost 90 percent of us are eating chicken at least once a week, and 60 percent of us eat chicken two or more times a week," said Dr Dubs.
Just about all meat chicken available for purchase in Australia is locally grown, and all chickens are free to roam on the floor of large sheds. In addition, free range or organic chickens can roam outside areas for part of the day. No chickens in Australia are reared using added hormones or steroids.
The chicken meat industry is keen to ensure that all the facts are clearly and easily accessible to consumers. Its website www.chicken.org.au
provides the facts and a chook infoline is also available (1300 4 CHOOKs, i.e. 1300 424 665) to answer consumer queries.Key facts about chicken meat
Over half of Australian consumers nominate chicken as the healthiest meat
Nearly 60% of Australian consumers nominate chicken as the best value for money meat option
Chickens farmed by the Australian chicken meat industry are never kept in cages, whether conventional, free-range or organic.
No growth hormones or steroids are used in chicken farming in Australia.
Almost all chicken meat sold in Australia is locally produced.*
* Except for some small amounts found in imported canned products (e.g. chicken soup) and some frozen cooked meat that comes from New Zealand. Chicken is a healthy, low fat source of protein that is rich in vitamins and minerals and is both affordable and versatile.
Lean Chicken is loaded with nutrition not saturated fat: A family meal packed with protein, chicken is low in fat, low in cholesterol and nutrient-rich. Chicken is packed with protein. One serve of chicken breast (100g) provides more than 50% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of protein, helping us to maintain a healthy weight.
We have good reason to love our Aussie chooks: Compared to other equivalent cuts of stir-fried meats, lean chicken breast has the lowest total fat content. Importantly, over 55 percent of its total fat content is unsaturated fatty acids (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). Chicken has one of the lowest levels of saturated fatty acids when compared with other stir-fried meat sources.
Whatever the cut, chicken is a valuable source of important vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, and also boasts all nine essential amino acids. One serve of chicken breast provides the full recommended daily intake of niacin equivalents, an important nutrient for energy metabolism.
Compared to other equivalent cuts of stir-fried meats, lean chicken breast has the lowest total fat content.
Whatever the cut, chicken is a valuable source of important vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, and also boasts all nine essential amino acids.
The claims "no added hormones", "produced in Australia", and "no cages" apply to all chicken mean sold in Australia regardless of the farming system.
Affordable and Versatile: Chicken is the most affordable meat, making it a weekly favourite for almost 90% of Australians. 60% of Australians are eating chicken two or more times a week.
Chicken is the perfect choice:Lean and low in fat
Low in saturated fat
High in protein
Packed with vitamins and minerals
For the healthiest choice, chicken should be drained, cooked thoroughly, stored properly and baked or grilled rather than fried. Fat content can be reduced even further by removing the skin.
Locally Grown to the Highest Standards: Any chicken that you purchase in Australia is locally produced by Australian farmers and Australian-owned processors.
The Australian chicken meat industry fully supports and adheres to the Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals developed by the Federal Government in consultation with State Governments, industry, animal welfare organisations and the general public. In many instances, the industry standard is substantially higher than the minimum stipulated in the Code.
Australians can be confident that the chicken they eat is locally grown and produced to the highest quality standards.
Interview with Dr. Andreas DubsDr. Andreas Dubs is the Executive Director of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation.
Question: Where you happy to hear that Australians rate chicken as the healthiest and most affordable meat option?
Dr. Andreas Dubs: I guess it was not exactly a secret to us before we asked for the survey to be undertaken but to have it acknowledged in such an overwhelming manner is fantastic. Often people see chicken as the affordable meat. It is much more than that, it is nutritious and low in fat and therefore healthy, but it is also the meat almost everybody young and old just enjoys eating.
Question: Can you talk about the nutritional benefits of chicken?
Dr. Andreas Dubs: Chicken stacks up extremely well in the nutritional benefit stakes. It is obviously a good source of lean protein, is full of essential vitamins, notably B6, and contains a range of minerals including niacin, selenium, thiamine and magnesium.
Question: Why is it important to eat chicken, a couple of times, a week?
Dr. Andreas Dubs: It is important to have a varied diet and chicken is an excellent source for many of the nutrients that we all need to keep us healthy. The fact that chicken is high in protein and very low in fat makes it ideal for people who wish to maintain or lose weight. I think another attraction of chicken is the fact that it is so easy to prepare in such a variety of ways: stir fries, schnitzel, roast and many more exotic dishes as well as many prepared meal options for those in a hurry who still want a great meal.
Question: How does chicken compare to other meats?
Dr. Andreas Dubs: All meats have similar amounts of protein and a range of vitamins and minerals. The composition varies, for example there is more iron in red meat and fish is known for its Omega 3. The distinguishing feature of chicken is the fact that it is very low in fat, particularly in saturated fats, as well as being a good source of vitamin B, niacin and other nutrients.
Question: How can Australians be certain that the chicken they are eating does not contain hormones or steroids?
Dr. Andreas Dubs: There are three facts that should convince even the most sceptical of consumers: firstly, it is illegal to administer hormones to chickens, and poultry in general, and this had been the case for fifty years; secondly, there is a national survey conducted by the Australian Government that tests chicken meat for residues of growth hormones and these tests have never shown up any breaches; which is not surprising considering the third fact which is that today's commercial chickens are naturally disposed to grow fast so that there is really no desire or need to make them grow faster by adding hormones. In fact, a faster growth would likely be detrimental to the overall outcome.
Question: Is it an Australian standard that chickens are not kept in cages?
Dr. Andreas Dubs: We found in a recent survey that we commissioned that only 3% of consumers know that the chicken meat industry does not keep chickens in cages, never has and never will. That is a surprisingly small percentage, particularly since commercial meat chickens were never raised in cages in Australia and in fact all commercial meat chicken operations worldwide keep their birds in large barns on the ground, where they can move around freely in a large area.
Question: What is the difference between buying chicken and the chicken that is either organic and free-range chicken?
Dr. Andreas Dubs: There are three main categories of chicken meat that refer to the way the chickenswere raised. The conventional, the free range and the organic chicken. Conventional chicken is raised in large barns free to roam on the floor which is covered with rice hulls, saw dust or similar material. Free range refers to the fact that once they are fully feathered at about 3 weeks of age, they are given access to an outside range with vegetation and shade, while still returning to the large barns at night to protect them from predators. Certified organic chickens are kept like free-range chickens but their feed is organic, that is it has not been treated with inorganic pesticides or fertilizers. In addition, both certified free-range and organic standards do not allow the chickens to be treated with antibiotics. If the birds have to be treated, they can no longer be sold as free range or organic. Furthermore, the area available to each bird is larger on free range and organic farms.
Question: To get the best benefit from chicken, how should we cook it?
Dr. Andreas Dubs: It is important to always cook chicken meat until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted into the thickest part. The meat should be white not pink inside, a test that is particularly useful when cooking a stir-fry. The rest is really up to the individual taste. If you want a meal that is low in fat but still nutritious, removing the skin will achieve this easily.
Question: How often do you eat chicken and what chicken meals do you prefer?
Dr. Andreas Dubs: I must admit that I am well above the average of three times a week, with probably close to five of my meals including chicken as the main meat. I love a juicy roasted whole chicken. It's so easy to prepare, the whole family loves it and I always make sure I cook a big bird so that there is plenty of left-overs for sandwiches the next day. When I have more time and want to make something a little bit exotic, I like cooking Doro Wat, a spicy Ethiopian chicken dish that is simply delicious.
Interview by Brooke Hunter