The chicken is all the same but there are three producers: Aia, Amadori and Fileni

Every year we consume 16 kg of chicken meat each. It is a supply chain that slaughters 40 million animals a month but little is said about it. Almost total silence characterizes the entire sector. We asked the companies for information on the farming system, the quality of the meat and animal welfare but no one responded. We tried a second time and the result did not change. We are talking about three companies that together cover almost 80% of the market. Nobody makes any statements. Consumers may not know it, but the chickens bought in supermarkets practically all come from just three companies: Aia Gruppo Veronesi, Amadori Gesco and Fileni.

In the refrigerated counters of supermarkets, alongside the packages of chicken breasts or thighs designed by the three most well-known companies, we find those of other little-known companies. This is because the three leading companies operate through their subsidiaries which supply the supermarket chains which in turn label the chicken with their own brand. Therefore, the names of Fileni, Amadori or Aia do not appear on the packages but those of other operators such as Carnj Società Cooperativa Agricola, Azienda Agricola Guidi, Avi Coop, Cafar, Agricola tre valli… which however always refer to the three main ones.

The animals are all the same and are slaughtered when they are chicks 35 -42 days after birth

Chicken or big chick?

The chicks that will then become chickens, as well as the feed and growth methods and the time of slaughter, are elements that are established by the companies and certainly not by the farmers. The cooperatives or companies in which the animals grow make the land, the shed, the equipment and the labor available, then they receive the chicks and must follow the precise instructions provided by Aia, Amadori and Fileni from which they cannot deviate.

If everyone raises fast-growing Ross 308 chickens following the instructions of Aviagen (the company that sells breeding chickens halfway around the world), it is reasonable to ask what difference there is between the chicken breasts sold in supermarkets. The animals are the same and are slaughtered when they are still chicks 35 -42 days after birth.

The “secret” specification

The situation is curious but the paradox is reached when we ask the trade association (Una) for their specifications with the rules on breeding methods and animal welfare. With some surprise we are told that the manual is classified. That is, it is a “confidential” document available exclusively to associated companies. It is not clear why the regulations of a trade association with the rules to be followed in the sheds where hundreds of millions of chickens are raised are classified. It is difficult to understand what there is to hide about how to raise a chicken.

Faced with an environment that we can define as “difficult” where asking for information seems forbidden, we tried to contact 10 supermarket chains that sell chicken breasts, thighs and wings from the three market leading companies. Coop responded to our questions by underlining how Coop brand chickens are free from the problems of white striping. Carrefour sent a fairly detailed note. Conad, Esselunga, Unes, Pam, Aldi, Lidl, Md… did not provide any information. At this point we decided to better understand how the factory works where chickens are all the same, they grow up quickly, often sick and with legs and hocks full of burns. Continues…

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Professional journalist, director of Il Fatto Alimentare. Graduated in Food Preparation Sciences, he directed the monthly magazine Altroconsumo and gained extensive experience in comparative tests. As a freelancer he has always dealt with food issues.

2024-04-16 15:11:15
#chicken #producers #Aia #Amadori #Fileni


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