Read it and Eat

Woman’s Health May 2012, page 120

This year, the USDA began requiring nutrition labels on meat.  But some of the language can still be confusing.  This guide can help:

Natural:  All fresh meat qualifies as natural, as it doesn’t contain additives and is not more than minimally processed, which is what the USDA requires, so this phrase is useless.

Organic: The USDA’s criteria state that foods cannot contain hormones or antibiotics, and the animals must have been fed a vegetarian, pesticide- and herbicide-free diet without genetically modified sources or animal byproducts, and had continuous access to pasture.

Grass-fed: Nearly all cattle are fed grass at some point in their lives, so this term is virtually meaningless.  If you want beef from cows that grazed exclusively on grass for their entire lives, look for the American Grassfed label, which requires that animals were raised on pasture and have never been confined, fed grain, or given antibiotics or hormones.

Pasture-Raised: While there is no specific pasture-raised certification, animals raised this way can roam freely in their natural environment.  Certified organic meat must come from pasture-raised animals.

Certified Angus Beef: Nearly 65% of cattle are black-hided and receive the Angus stamp, but only 25% of Angus-influenced cattle actually meet Certified Angus Beef standards, which are the criteria that truly make a cut of beef the best quality.

rBGH-free or rBST-free: Signifies that the product came from cows that were not treated with a genetically engineered growth hormone that artificially increases milk production but which may cause health problems in humans.

-Kate Parham, Women’s Health

My cupboard has 2 jars of Teddy’s peanut butter.  One jar says “organic” but it is salted, and to salty for my taste.  Yet the other jar, the unsalted peanut butter, merely has “all natural”.  No organic unsalted peanut butter?!?!  These labels are so confusing, so hopefully this will help me, and you, make more educated purchases in the future!  Still confused about the peanut butter though!  haha

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