|Photo by Maria Quiroga|
Confused? You aren’t the only one!
The USDA states that “Natural” pertaining to meats and poultry means “containing no artificial ingredients or added color and is only minimally processed.” But this does not guarantee that the meat was raised in a humane manner, in a sustainable environment or was organically fed. It seems that the word “natural” would mean that no hormones or antibiotics were given to the animal, right? Nope. The only way to be sure you are getting hormone/anti-biotic free meat is to buy Organic meat. What about poultry and pork? Poultry and pork in the U.S. cannot be given any hormones by law, but can still be given antibiotics. Only buying Organic poultry and pork will guarantee that no antibiotics were administered.
So is Organic meat the way to go? I would say YES. By purchasing Organic you can be sure you are buying products that meet strict guidelines stipulated by the USDA. Each farm must get verification by a USDA-approved agency independent of the USDA. By buying organic you know that the animals were fed 100% organic feed, provided access to the outdoors and were not given antibiotics in their lifetime. Organic animals are also not given growth hormones of any kind or fed other animals (yes even sick animals are chopped up and fed to our animals. Only cows, goats and sheep aren’t a part of this process.) Shocking, right?
The manner in which meat and poultry are labeled can be very misleading. Read the labels and remember that the terms “no hormones administered” and “no antibiotics administered” are only defined by the government and not enforced by them. Only buying Organic will provide you with the peace of mind that what you are serving for dinner is indeed hormone and antibiotic-free.