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Going Green: Decoding Your Turkey Label

Explorer B

With Thanksgiving only two days away, Green Tuesday is dedicated to keeping you educated about your turkey feast! If you haven’t purchased your Thanksgiving bird yet, consider buying an organically-raised turkey. Buying organic foods can help support a healthy Planet and also give you many added nutrients that modified foods may not have. However, be cautious of unclear food labels that confuse many eco-friendly consumers every day.

Here are some tricky turkey labels you might see this Thanksgiving:

  • Organic: These turkeys are free-range birds that have not been given any pesticides, chemicals, antibiotics, or hormones. This is the turkey you want to choose!
  • Natural: These turkeys contain no artificial coloring ingredients, flavoring, chemical preservatives, or any other artificial/synthetic ingredients. It is also minimally processed. This label must explain the term "natural" by stating if there are no added colorings or artificial ingredients, or if it is minimally processed.
  • Enhanced or Basted: These birds have been injected with ingredients, such as seasonings and oils, before they were frozen. When it’s time to cook this turkey, these ingredients will moisten the meat and provide extra flavor.
  • Heritage: This means the turkey is an older breed of bird that had a longer outdoor lifespan and a slower growth rate.
  • Free-Range: This looks like a great label; however, it can be used in cases where the turkeys only had minimal access to the outdoors.
  • Kosher: This type of turkey must have been cared for ethically and slaughtered as humanely as possible.
  • Fresh: This label means your turkey has been kept at a temperature above 26 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Frozen: This bird has been flash frozen at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. This process will help ensure the freshness of your turkey for the big feast.

Have you seen any other tricky turkey labels? Let us know by commenting below or by e-mailing us at From all of us at Southwest Airlines, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! 

DING! You are now free to be Green!