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what is natural? - choosing meat you can feel good about

I keep seeing ads on tv, in magazines and even on billboards for this “natural” brand of lunchmeat. I would hope that all meat is natural, but I guess that is up for discussion.

The US Dept of Agriculture says that when it comes to meat and poultry, the term “natural” means only that the product has no artificial ingredients and has been minimally processed.

It does regulate anything about the use of antibiotics, hormones or preservatives.

There was a recent lawsuit with Hormel where a company exec said that the same pigs used for Spam are also used in their Natural Choice pork products. Those pigs are often given antibiotics and rarely if ever see the sunshine.

This is marketing at its lowest point. Food manufacturers and distributors can tell you whatever you want to hear to make their product seem more wholesome – as long as they don’t lie to you. Being ethical in their marketing is optional.

Most animals raised for meat in the US spend their lives indoors in tight quarters, routinely receiving antibiotics and even growth enhancers.


This is why we at phoodmose avoid conventional meat, eggs and dairy. You just don’t really know what you are buying.


Grass Fed means that the animal ate only grasses and forages (like hay) for the length of its life, starting when it was weaned off its mother’s milk. The label is regulated by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS). Grass fed does not determine whether the animal had antibiotics or not.

Pasture raised means that the animal had access to the outdoors at least 120 days in a year. It does not regulate what that outdoors looked like – a field or a parking lot.

The term “organic” on foods has very strict regulations about how the food was produced. Food products labeled “organic” must contain at least 95% organic ingredients with no synthetic growth hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, biotechnology, synthetic ingredients or irradiation used in production or processing. Meat labeled as organic comes from animals that have been raised on organic land, without prohibited pesticides.


We purchase meat from local farms that humanely raise their animals. If the farm is small or has not been certified by the USDA they can’t use the “organic” term on their products, but you can check out the farm online or in person to see if you approve of how they treat their meat.

We are not going to discuss the difference in the nutritional value of the meat here. Suffice it to say that our opinion is – we choose to eat the best quality REAL foods out there. To us that means, organic, grass fed AND pasture raised. We support farmers that are committed to treating their animals as humanely as possible.


Chicagoland Area:

Green Fire Farm: use this link for $10 off your first order

Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks: email me and I’ll send you a link for $10 off your first order

Colorado Springs Area:

Lasater Farms Grassland Beef

*These are affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link and go on to purchase that product or service, we will be paid a small commission.

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