Photo Courtesy: Carsten ten Brink
An alarming video captured by the Humane Society of the United States showed workers at a meatpacking company forcefully moving sick animals for slaughter. This not only broke animal cruelty laws, but it also raised a health hazard for those who consume beef. Worse yet, this particular meatpacking company is a supplier of beef to school systems throughout the country.
Well, you certainly deserve to know of healthier ways to consume it…
Take Steps Toward Healthier Meat Purchases
- Consider organic or kosher meat first – The safety measures taken in raising livestock that produce organic and kosher meat are generally much more rigorous, and there aren’t any “extras” (hormones, antibiotics or preservatives) that can cause food-borne illness and are typically used in large meatpacking companies that are simply looking to produce more product at a faster pace.
- While you’re at it, check the label. Companies that produce meat without hormones or antibiotics and do not feed their livestock animal byproducts will usually say so. If you’re unsure, it can’t hurt to research the company’s values before you head to the market.
- Shop at an alternative food supplier. Farmers markets are usually a great way to find local, farm-raised meat – livestock raised on small farms tend to be given much healthier living environments, hence the meat is healthier for you.
- Avoid processed meats entirely which are almost guaranteed to come from a large meatpacking source and be loaded with the “extras”.
- When dining out, ask the restaurant manager about the type of meat they buy. Most restaurants will be more than happy to let you know this information – especially if it’s from a source you can trust.
Update: Meat in Grocery Stores to have Labels
Almost six years after this post was first written, I read an article in The New Yorker that:
Companies that sell meat in grocery stores will have to label where the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered. It used to be enough to know that you were buying a hamburger or a steak. Since 2009, meat companies have also had to provide some vague information about origins—for instance, that a product came from North America. Now, you’re about to discover the whole life story of the animal you’re about to eat—and often you’ll learn that it came from abroad.
Do People Notice Food Labels? – Posted by Lauren Etter, The New Yorker
Finally, this is a good step in the right direction for people who care about where there meat is coming from. However, according to the same article, this labelling rule that is set by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), applies only to grocery stores for now, and not to the restaurants and other food serving places. At those places, like pointed out earlier above, you may start asking questions about the quality and origin of meat being served to you.
Adrienne writes for special-interest magazines and has worked on the production of women’s lifestyle channels at AOL as well as at E! Entertainment Television. She graduated from CUNY Baruch, where she served as the editor-in-chief of the award-winning student newspaper The Ticker.