Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why Choose Grass-Fed?

U.S. Wellness Meats is a Missouri company that grows, sells and ships 100 percent grass-fed and finished beef. I’ll talk more about the company and its mission (“Do what's good for our animals, good for our planet and good for you”) in future posts, but in the meantime, here’s a guest post I recently wrote for the U.S. Wellness blog:

Why Choose Grass-Fed?

The reasons for eating grass-fed meat and dairy products are many. Personally, I base my decision on superior taste, health and food safety.

The last factor should be important to us all as the blatant disregard for accountability within our modern food supply becomes increasingly evident.

While our world becomes more connected and America continues to be a great melting pot, I don’t think our hamburger patties should be subject to a similar open-door policy.

An article in The New York Times last October exposed what, unfortunately, seems to be the norm: the compromising of our health for corporate profit. How else to explain Cargill’s hamburgers made from various grades of beef, fat and trimmings from slaughterhouses and sources in Nebraska, Texas, South Dakota and Uruguay? We are the victims, as thousands of us are sickened annually by E. coli in beef.

In addition, Cargill declined requests from The Times “to interview company officials or visit its facilities.” What do you think the response would be to a normal consumer without the political and legal clout of The New York Times?

Small-scale producers take a slightly different approach. There’s a good chance they will know the names and personalities of their animals. The buyer-seller relationship is based on transparency and harks back to a simpler time when quality and service were essential components to a transaction.

Phone the U.S. Wellness Meats office during normal business hours and there’s a good chance John Wood will answer. Call on a weekend and you are sure to get him as he’s usually the only person in the office.

The foods I derive the most pleasure from—outside of the vegetables from my garden—are the cheese, eggs, fish, meats and maple syrup I buy from people who I know as people.

I try to share this logic with my students, many of whom are skeptical until they taste the difference. When they realize that certain types of food have superior flavor and health benefits—in addition to being safer—they are that much closer to joining those of us already eating products from grass-fed animals.

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