Know How Your Meat Was Raised & Treated

by Christopher Paul on January 3, 2010

Ever wonder what the organic labels mean for the beef you buy from Whole Foods or other “green” or “natural” grocers? National Geographic’s The Green Guide helps explain what the USDA and Organic Certified seals mean for the animals and you. If you value how your cut of beef was fed, raised, and treated, you’ll want to read up on each seal and see which one best identifies with your values.

Personally, I’m torn between them. I prefer the animals eat only organic foods – which is guaranteed to be free of chemicals I’d rather not ingest myself. But studies have suggested grass fed cattle have more Omega 3 fatty acids than their grain fed counterparts. Omega 3s come from plant fibers like leaves where Omega 6s (believed to have a detrimental effect on health) come from seeds like corn and other grains and we all know that the health benefits of Omega 3s. The USDA Organic seal allows ranchers to feed their cattle Omega 6 heavy corn and grains (albeit organic).

Unfortunately, none of these seals represent the best of everything. If you value organics, like I do, you still might not get a cut grass fed beef; similarly, your grass fed beef might not be organic – or treated “humanely.” But this handy guide can let you research what label you might find the most desirable when heading to your local farmers market.

Beef Label Decoder [via Lifehacker]

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