Friday, November 13, 2009

Tips for Avoiding Factory Farm Products

A guide to shopping and eating for those who wish to avoid supporting factory farms:
Most people share at least the following traits: they want to be healthy; they like animals; and they value clean air and water. Yet relatively few Americans connect those concerns with their food. As more people start making the link (especially if they've seen graphic video footage of industrial animal operations), many decide it's time to stop eating foods from factory farms. This is a guide for doing just that.
Among the author's recommendations:
  • Eat less meat. Eat better meat. (The same goes for dairy products and eggs).
  • Know your labels (and their shortcomings).
  • Explore alternative stores (independent grocery stores and co-ops).
  • Pasture is the gold standard.
  • Grass fed is very good (but the label is weak).
  • Organic is very good, (but the label isn't perfect).
  • Free range is okay (but the label is seriously flawed).
  • Antibiotic free doesn't mean much.


Rinalia said...

I think this is the best comment: "Although the task was daunting, my goal was simple: I wanted all my food to come from places I would enjoy visiting."

If you cannot visit the farm, don't buy their food. If you visit the farm and find it wanting, don't buy their food. I really do like it, even if it is unrealistic.

I think how we treat other animals should be reflected in our purchasing habits. Most people are willing to pay a little more but not a lot (which is what they'd be paying for products from less cruel farms). It's frustrating - people react with horror at investigations on veal farms and egg farms and dairy operations, yet their behavior is slow to modify. This is, of course, natural and normal, still frustrating.

Of course, there is a certain irony in the fact that Bill Niman (the author's husband) won't eat any Niman Ranch beef. Once he lost proprietorship of the operation, things went down hill. It's not the nice, family farm it used to be.

Anonymous said...

If you aren't lucky enough to have friends who raise ethical meat and will sell it to you for a great price - hit craigslist. There are some great deals there.

Invest in a large chest freezer. Then you can buy a whole lamb, half pig and/or quarter beef to go with the twenty five or so free range chickens you picked up at a bargain price.