When it comes to organic food, most people think of fruits and vegetables that are grown naturally and are free of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and other scientific interventions. But did you know that meat and poultry can also be labeled organic?
Organic eggs and dairy products are from animals that do not take antibiotics and/or growth hormones. Similarly, organic meat comes from animals that are raised in an environment free of antibiotics and/or growth hormones.
According to this article from Whole Foods Market, a US chain of health food stores, there are actually a number of conditions that must be met for meat or produce to be considered organic by US standards.
- The poultry, cattle or pigs must be raised on land that is certified organic without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
- They must be fed certified organic feed that is free from animal by-products, antibiotics or genetically engineered grains
- They must not be given antibiotics or added growth hormones
- The animals must have outdoor access
Is organic meat healthier? While organic foods are definitely more environmentally friendly and people with food sensitivities and allergies might do better on organic foods, in general, there is no evidence that organic meats are substantially healthier than conventional meats.
Does it taste better? Although tastes are as individual as we are as humans, some consumers find that organic, grass-fed beef is much tastier than factory-farmed, supermarket beef. Some of that might be psychological, since organic and free-range meat is much more expensive than conventional meat. The only way to know for sure is to experiment for yourself.
The abuses of factory farmed animals that produce conventional meat are well-documented. People who buy organic may do so for the taste, but probably more for the knowledge that they are buying meat that comes from animals that were raised and slaughtered humanely.
Rebeca Espinoza writes about health, fitness and weight loss for Spatz Medical, makers of the Spatz3 Adjustable Gastric Balloon. You can find her on Google+ or at firstname.lastname@example.org.