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The Meat of a Thanksgiving Feast

TurkeyWith Fall in full swing and Thanksgiving fast approaching, many people are planning the menu for Thanksgiving meals and are thinking about turkey.

The Poultry Industry

When people hear the word “poultry,” many think of chicken and turkey; however, duck, geese, and other domesticated fowl are considered to be poultry. The United States is the world’s top producer of poultry, and most of the commercial production consists of broilers, which are chickens younger than 13 weeks old. Production in 2010 equated to the broiler industry generating $45 billion in retail. Turkey production is a smaller portion of the poultry industry; however, turkey is ranked as American consumer’s #4 choice when it comes to meat products.

Turkey Facts

  • Turkey is actually a traditional dish for many European nations to be served with Christmas meals, and is served on Thanksgiving in Canada and the United States.
  • The National Turkey Federation has been presenting the President of the United States with turkeys since 1947.
  • Another White House Thanksgiving tradition involves the President pardoning a turkey that he is presented. Although it is hard to find documentation concerning when the tradition of the President pardoning a turkey began, the tradition was formalized in 1989 when President George H. W. Bush pardoned the turkey presented to him. These pardoned turkeys have gone to a variety of different locations to live out their natural lives and some of those locations include Disney World & Disneyland as well as various farms around the country.
  • The “breed” of turkey that is eaten most is the Broad-breasted White Turkey, which is not considered a true breed because these turkeys cannot breed without human assistance.
  • Wild turkeys have mostly dark meat and taste much different from what many people think of as turkey.
  • About 88% of Americans surveyed by the National Turkey Federation eat turkey at Thanksgiving, which accounts for around 46 billion turkeys being eaten that day.
  • Turkey is often thought to be the cause of consumer’s post-meal drowsiness; however, a meal rich in carbohydrates may aid in the sleepy effects thought to be caused solely by turkey.
  • Deep frying a whole turkey has become popular in recent years; however, this is a dangerous technique and can create large fires. If this is your chosen method, please take the necessary safety precautions to prevent a disaster.

What is your favorite side dish to serve with turkey at Thanksgiving?  Feel free to share Thanksgiving recipes and memories because we would love to hear from you!

For more information about the poultry industry and turkey consumption visit:

This post was written by guest author, Amber Hockman, who is a senior at Muskingum University studying business and economics.