“Free From” Antibiotics and HormonesHealthier consumer choice or bogus marketing claims?
As a conscientious meat consumer, I’m constantly searching for products that meet my “healthy” checklist:
- no animal by-products
- … etc etc.
To my fellow truth seekers, I have a simple message: BUYER BEWARE. It turns out there’s a blend of reality and marketing in these claims. Some important points to consider next time you’re in the meat aisle:
- all poultry in Canada is “hormone-free” (meaning no added hormones)
- all chickens raised for meat in Canada are considered “free run”, meaning able to move around freely within the barn
- all chicken in Canada is given a feed that consists of at over 88% grain, so the “grain-fed” term is typically just used for marketing
- when hens are given antibiotics, the eggs they lay are thrown away
- all pork in Canada is “hormone-free” (meaning no added hormones)
- nearly all cattle raised for meat in Canada is grown with added hormones; however, organic beef supposedly has slightly less added hormone
- if a cow is treated with antibiotics because of an infection, the milk they produce while being treated is not sold
In SummarySo, what's a foodie to do?
- for poultry, look for vegetarian grain-fed and antibiotic-free
- for eggs, look for organic, free-range and/or free-run
- purchase organic beef when possible
Image: Patrick Lowery via Flickr