Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How much do you know about Organic Meat?

Since I started cooking regularly a few years ago, I have been spending more and more time shopping for groceries each weekend. I also try to shop healthy and read as many labels as possible before buying. In recent times, I've noticed that there is an influx of 'organic' labels on many produce and food products. Among all of the labels, one of the more popular one is 'Organic Meats'. That got me thinking. What exactly is organic meat and is that the same as natural meat? I used to think that sure, I guess it's the same. Well, I recently found out that it's not!
However, many people (consumers, grocery store managers and even federal agencies like the USDA!) still think that they are both the same. As long as the meat is free of growth hormones, antibiotics, food additives and crops free of artificial fertilizers, you can pretty much call it natural or organic. It's the same thing. Well, I got news for you, it's not. Have you ever thought about how the livestock is raised? Livestock raised in a natural lifestyle tend to be happier and healthier, thus yielding higher quality products. Let me give you a quick example. You can raise a pig free of harmful contaminants like growth hormones, antibiotics and unhealthy feed but it's growth will still suffer if it does not receive normal amounts of fresh air, exercise and sunlight on a regular basis. Am I right? Therefore, how can you say that natural and organic is the same thing? It's not.
Another misleading thing about organic labels is that they can sometimes be confused with hormone-free labels. Did you know that as long as 70% of ingredients meet organic standards, it's considered organic? What about the 30% of potentially harmful substance? You are paying good money for organic products but you might still end up eating a product that has harmful substances. To avoid misleading organic labels, you have to look for "100 percent organic" promises or "certified organic" labels which guarantee that ninety-five percent of the ingredients be organic rather than seventy-five percent. So, the next time you are our grocery shopping, take some time to stop and read the labels a little closer. It might not be all that it appears to be, at first glance.

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