Foster Farms® fresh chicken is independently audited and certified by the American Humane Association. We also follow the animal welfare guidelines set forth by the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation and have been instrumental in helping to advance animal welfare in the poultry industry.
Foster Farms is audited numerous times each year by independent third-party auditors at the request of retailers and food service customers to ensure animal welfare standards. The audits take place at the company’s hatchery, ranches and processing facilities.
Foster Farms’ employee animal welfare training program is one of the most comprehensive in the poultry industry. Employees are required to abide by the company’s animal welfare policies and any inappropriate treatment of the birds we raise can result in termination.
As a best practice, Foster Farms is committed to continuous improvement of its animal welfare program and consults with an Animal Welfare Advisory Board consisting of leading academic experts in the field.
Our Simply Raised and Organic products are raised without any antibiotics.
Foster Farms is actively committed to responsible growing practices that help preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for human health and medicine. We share a common goal with medical, veterinary and government leaders in working to curb antibiotic-resistance in humans that may be linked to livestock production. Foster Farms is working toward a goal of eliminating the use of all antibiotics that are used in human medicine, except in those instances where the clinical health of a flock is at risk.
Healthy chickens contribute to a safe and wholesome food supply. We prioritize the health and welfare of our broilers through all stages of life. Our program emphasizes preventative flock health programs, proper nutrition and advanced husbandry practices.
We select only the healthiest and robust chickens and turkeys for breeding at each of our carefully maintained breeding ranches. Each resulting egg is carefully checked, cleaned and immediately taken to our nearest hatchery. To keep them healthy, the eggs are placed in incubators, where they remain warm and undisturbed until they hatch.
After the chicks hatch, they are taken to a local ranch where conditions promote natural growth. Each ranch has a “buffer zone” of empty land all around, a biosecurity measure that helps to ensure bird health and promote food safety.
Foster Farms poultry flocks are never raised in cages. Our chickens and turkeys are grown in large poultry barns designed to protect the birds from environmental extremes, while allowing fresh air to constantly circulate. The interior temperature and climate are controlled, and clean water and feed are available at all times. Our barns are built with enough space for the birds to move about freely. The floors are covered with absorbent bedding materials such as rice hulls and wood shavings. Our veterinarians carefully monitor each flock’s health and progress. Our Organic flocks are USDA Certified and raised free-range.
Our chickens and turkeys mature naturally without added growth hormones or steroids. They are fed a highly nutritious, balanced diet composed primarily of corn and soy meal, with vitamins and minerals added. All of our feed ingredients are approved for use by the FDA and USDA. Because we own and operate our feed mills, the custom diet of Foster Farms’ poultry always addresses the specific needs of our birds, to ensure optimum health, growth and overall quality. Our Simply Raised chicken is raised on 100% vegetarian feed and our certified Organic chicken and turkey are raised on vegetarian organic feed.
Foster Farms’ processing plants are a critical part of our dedication to producing the highest-quality, safest poultry products. They are among the most modern and technologically advanced processing operations in the nation. Our plants close daily for a complete four- to six-hour sanitization process verified by the USDA. Our fresh poultry is minimally processed, which means it is handled only as necessary to clean it and make it ready for you to buy. USDA inspectors are on-site at our plants through all phases of operation and perform ongoing inspection of our products and facilities. Foster Farms maintains a comprehensive Food Safety program and is committed to leading the poultry industry.
In 1939, a young couple named Max and Verda Foster started Foster Farms by borrowing $1,000 against a life insurance policy. They invested in an 80-acre farm near Modesto, California, and began raising turkeys.
In the beginning, Max worked as an editor at the Modesto Bee, a local newspaper, to help support their young business, while Verda concentrated on raising healthy chicks. The original hatchery was built right off their bedroom because the eggs required round-the-clock care. Verda would set a timer to alert her day and night when it was time to gently rotate the eggs. A feed silo soon followed. The back porch of the Foster’s home became Max’s office, and business was mostly done with a handshake. Over the coming decades, Max and Verda’s sons George, Paul and Tom followed them into the business, expanding it along the way, building new facilities and adding new product lines, but always remaining true to the spirit of their parents. Today, Foster Farms remains a family-owned, family-managed company.
In 2014, Foster Farms celebrated its 75th anniversary on the very farm where Max and Verda first began all those long years ago.
Since our founding in 1939 by Max and Verda Foster, we have been dedicated to raising poultry that is truly fresh and truly local. This commitment means more than great quality poultry; it also means keeping jobs in California and contributing to our state’s economic growth.
Since 1987, Foster Farms has worked with more than 30 family-owned farms in Washington and Oregon to produce locally raised chicken. Growing chicken this way allows us to support regional agriculture and local communities.
In 2009, Foster Farms acquired a poultry production plant in Farmerville, Louisiana. By keeping the plant open, Foster Farms saved more than a thousand plant jobs and renewed contracts with more than 100 local poultry farms.