Meat Marketing Label Games Exposed

Exposed! Honey September 29 2015, 0 Comments

CHECK OUT NEW HONEY PRICING

Honey.  It's one of the purest real foods, righteously healthy and tasty to boot, right?  Not necessarily...


Unfortunately, not all honey is created equal and the commercialization of this real food has brought about large scale adulteration and plenty of marketing gimmicks.

1. It starts with the feedstock.  Since bees can travel up to a 5 mile radius, getting a certified organic honey is nearly impossible, especially locally (read below for why local honey is so important).  When honey is coming from bees feeding on GMO and pesticide ridden crops such as alfalfa, orange, or clover, they are inherently picking up the junk.  Look for "Wildflower" honey - while not certified organic, you can rest assured that no one is out spraying wildflowers with pesticides and they are not GMO.

2. Keep it Raw.  Most honeys are heat pasteurized at a high temperature to kill bacteria.  They problem with this is the bacteria in honey is highly beneficial and they're killing the good stuff!

3. Look for Unfiltered.  The most beneficial part of honey is the pollen residue, which is removed in the filtering process.  Pollen is rich in proteins, free amino acids, and vitamins, including B-complex and folic acid and is understood to have anti-radiation and anti-cancer qualities.  Check out this amazing Mercola article with so much more.

4. Keep it Local.  Honey is an amazing anti-histamine and will put Benadryl to shame.  Just remember, the bees need to be from your local area to fight your local allergies.

5. High Fructose Corn Syrup.  Seriously?  Sadly enough, more than 75% of honey in the US has HFCS added, and often not listed as an ingredient due to ridiculous loopholes.  Get honey from a source you trust!  (Food Safety News Article)

Exposed! Grass-Fed August 25 2015, 0 Comments

But wait - that's GMO corn and soy, not grass?


Next up in the mischievous meat marketing expose is the term most easily thrown around:

Grass Fed

Typically reserved for ruminant animals like cows, sheep, and bison, GRASS FED ismeant to instill a mental picture of cows outside, grazing grass as they should.  But did you know EVERY SINGLE COW is technically grass fed?  You must understand, 99% of beef cattle are pulled off of the range and finished in a feedlot for 3-5 months, where they are packed into confinement situations and pumped full of grains.
 

Grains are terrible for ruminant animals


Their complex ruminant stomach is not designed at all to handle anything other than grass, so these grains (95%+ GMO corn and soy) make the cattle very sick.  This is where antibiotics come in, because the feedlots are sacrificing the cows' health for quick fat gains and big profits from unassuming customers.
 

2 Grassfed Operations:




Depressing?  Yes.  If you want more information, I think this article from Animal Welfare Approved is great.  But I don't like presenting problems without solutions.  

This is why we like local food and farm tours.  Labels are crap.  Even "Pasture Raised", the one we use most often, has been bastardized lately and is not overseen by any regulatory bodies.  Local food holds you accountable.  You can come see it for yourself, meet your farmers, and ask any questions you would like.  This MATTERS.

While we are not certified grassfed, we hold ourselves to a far, far higher standard.  Our animals live outside, on pasture, 24/7/365.  They get a species appropriate diet of 100% pasture ONLY for the ruminant animals (cows and sheep), and the omnivores (chickens and pigs) are supplemented with a certified organic, soy free/GMO free feed.  Our animals are NEVER in confinement.  We participate with nature, rotating the animals daily to build healthy soil and create a vibrant ecosystem that will get better and better every single year.

Exposed! Organic August 19 2015, 0 Comments

Standby for a freak out moment.  Do you know what all 3 of these images have in common?  

 

These animals could EASILY be certified organic.

 

You must understand - the term organic has nothing to do with the way that animals are raised.  They can (and typically are) raised in confinement situations in feedlots, CAFO's, and grow houses.

But this label is federally regulated.  So what does it mean?

The FEED must be CERTIFIED by the USDA to be less than 5% contaminated by non organic ingredients.  Cows shouldn't eat corn and soy, you say?  I agree, but under the organic label as long as their corn and soy is 95% certified organic, they still qualify for the label.  Think that's bad?  You should see the list of allowable synthetic and non-synthetic substances used in Organic agriculture!  And they're constantly adding more.
 

This is not a slam against Costco or Kirkland signature, there are many companies that offer organic meat - I just really want you guys to understand what you're buying when you see Organic meats.  It's so frustrating to me.  You have hard working people doing their best to feed their family with healthy meats.  We're on limited budgets and have limited time for research.  People see the nice green pasture on the package, it says organic, so it must be good right?  Think again...

Hopefully this helps you to understand why we like the term "beyond organic".While we are not certified organic, we hold ourselves to a far, far higher standard.  Our animals live outside, on pasture, 24/7/365.  They get a species appropriate diet of 100% pesticide free pasture ONLY for the ruminant animals (cows and sheep), and the omnivores (chickens and pigs) are supplemented with a certified organic, soy free/GMO free feed.  We participate with nature, rotating the animals daily to build healthy soil and create a vibrant ecosystem that will get better and better every single year.

Exposed! Free Range August 05 2015, 1 Comment

This week's #labelgames BS meat marketing term is...

"Free Range"

Free Range means that chickens have "Access to the outdoors".  Sounds reasonable, right?  99.99% of modern day conventional chicken is raised in what's called a 'grow house', a 600ft long x 40ft wide tunnel packed with 30,000-40,000 chickens.  You've seen the photos.  This is no different for "free range" operations.  All the company has to do to qualify for this label is cut a door at the end of the grow house that gives the chicken "access" to go outside for more than 2 hours per day. Check out this photo:



Do you think even 10% of those birds would venture outside to a 10'x10' concrete pad?  Not a chance.  And it gets worse.  These birds still need to be debeaked and because cannibalism runs rampant in these confinement operations.  Antibiotics are used heavily (even if they are 'antibiotic-free'), and the whole host of animal welfare issues is still prevalent.
The data above is for egg production, but it's likely similar for meat birds as well.  Economically, why wouldn't the big-ag chicken industry jump on this bandwagon?  I can just imagine the board meeting - "So you're telling me we can cut a hole in our barns and get 40% of our sales to increase by over 60%?  That's a no brainer!"

Hopefully, you guys know that when WE say free range - we mean what we say.  That means our birds live outside, on pasture, 24 hours per day 7 days per week.  No antibiotics, no GMO's, no pesticides or debeaking.  Just good old fashioned chicken.

Exposed! Antibiotic-Free July 28 2015, 0 Comments

This week's #labelgames BS meat marketing term is...

"Antibiotic Free"

Because "Antibiotic Free" doesn't mean the animals are free of antibiotics at all.  Shame on you, consumer, for such a preposterous assumption!  From conversations with many farmers and industry experts over the last several weeks, I have learned that:
 

As long as the farm veterinarian prescribes the antibiotics, and they are not administered within 36 hours of slaughter -- the meat is still considered "Antibiotic Free".

Wait, for real!?!?  Yes.  Here's a list of just the injectable beef antibiotics that are common in the industry (link):
  - Amoxicillin
  - Ampicillin
  - Benzathine
  - Ceftiofur Hydrocloride
  - Ceftiofur Sodium
  - Enrofloxacin
  - Erythromycin
  - Florfenicol
  - Oxytetracycline
  - Penicillin (Procaine)
  - Sulfadimethoxine
  - Sulfamethazine
  - Tilmicosin
  - Tylosin

 
Hopefully, you guys know that when WE say antibiotic free - we mean what we say.  That means no antibiotics EVER, EVER, EVER.  How is this possible?  We raise animals outside, on grass, with fresh air, sunshine, and a healthy diet of certified organic soy/GMO free feed.  They don't need it!