With more people paying closer attention to the quality of their diets, the demand for all-natural meats has risen significantly. However, it can be challenging to know whether you're getting the real deal or a raw deal. Here are six tips for buying all-natural meat.
1 Choose the Right Store
The store you shop at will have a big impact on your chances of finding all-natural meat. While some major grocery store chains have begun offering it, shopping at smaller chains or franchises may turn up nothing. Your best bet for natural meats is to locate a natural foods store, such as Harvestland, in your area.
2 Pay Attention to Ingredients
Unfortunately, labeling isn't always straight-forward, and it's risky to take it at face value. For example, just because the package says it's all natural turkey, doesn't mean it is. Read the label carefully to locate any ingredients that may be suspicious. Added broth, brine or seasonings often contain preservatives, artificial colors or other chemicals that are known to be bad for you.
3 Familiarize Yourself With Regulations
The USDA oversees the labeling of the nations' meats, and certain classifications are expected to meet specific standards. An important part of shopping for all-natural meat is to familiarize yourself with these regulations, which you can do by visiting the USDA website. This can also give you a better idea of how the animals were raised.
4 Learn the Lingo
As with many products in the US, there is a lot of clever jargon surrounding labeling practices, and it can often be deceptive. For example, "cage-free" doesn't mean that the animals were allowed free reign in sunny pastures. It simply means that the animals weren't kept in cages, but may have, instead, been confined to stuffy, overcrowded buildings with filthy conditions. Learning the lingo of meat labeling can help you make the best possible choices for your family.
5 Buy Local
If you want to find meat that's guaranteed to be all-natural, look no further than your local farmer's market. The farmers in your area who focus on raising natural meats will often bring their products to the farmer's market, giving you an opportunity to ask questions and get answers straight from the producer.
6 Pick the Safest Options
If you have a hard time finding all-natural meats in your area, your best bet is to stick with the safest options. Organic meat is another good option. USDA regulations prohibit the use of hormones, antibiotics and GMO feed in organic meat animals.
Everyone wants to give their family the best, but in today's profit-driven food industry, it's harder than ever to do. However, with the tips above, you can more easily locate wholesome, truly natural meats.
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