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Your Health & Wellness, Iss #108 -- Do Your Food Research
September 01, 2012
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Do Your Food Research
Sad to say but in these times you can't trust the government to look after your interests and you can't take anything for granted - especially when it comes to your food.
It's unfortunate but the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and the FDA (Food and Drug Agency) seem to have closer ties to giant food corporations and the pharmaceutical industry than they do to the public. Instead of watching the consumers' back, these agencies appear to be watchdogs of the interests of the meat, food, and pharmaceutical industries.
As an example, I am very fond of nuts - especially almonds and cashews. Recently I have been buying almonds every week.
But I just learned that almonds, even those labeled "Raw", undergo mandatory processing to prevent salmonella contamination (Read this article for details.)
I try to incorporate as much organic food as financially possible into my diet. And due to the fact that many companies utilize deceptive labeling, I don't take packaged claims such as "natural", "all-natural", or even "organic" at face value.
I instinctively avoid ALL conventionally processed meat because it is contaminated with GMOs, pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. I therefore look carefully for meat labeled "free ranged", "pastured-raised" or meat that has the USDA Organic seal seal on it.
So even though the meat may not have an USDA organic seal on it I don't automatically dismiss it. The fact that it is free-ranged or pastured-raised carries weight too.
But I don't stop there. I look for the manufacturer and check his website.
Let me give you an example. My wife bought a steak which was labeled Nature's Reserve; it stated that it was free-ranged. The label also stated that the meat contained no added hormones or antibiotics.
I went to the website to find out exactly how Nature's Reserve cares for their animals and processes the meat after slaughtering.
Each animal is tagged and tracked. Farmers who supply the meat must be members of the Farm Assured Namibian Meat Scheme. They adhere to very strict standards which doesn't allow any unnatural practices (factory farming - also known as CAFO.)
The only reason Nature's Reserve doesn't have the USDA Organic seal is because the meat is processed in Europe. My research bears out the fact that the meat is everything that the label claims.
I buy ground beef and bison from domestic meat supplier Organic Prairie too. Since this company is located in the United States, it bears the USDA Organic seal.
Not willing to take even the label's word, I went to their website. What I found delighted me.
Organic Prairie goes beyond the USDA's rather strict organic standard. That standard states that the animal must have access to pasture but doesn't stipulate the length of time or what it can be fed.
But Organic Prairie's standard is the following:
"Because of their commitment to working in harmony with nature, Organic Prairie producers prefer to provide their animals with as much pasture as they can. The Cooperative's own production standards require that ruminant (grass-eating) animals have access to well-managed pasture as a significant portion of their feed whenever it is in season - a minimum of 3 months in most regions" (Organic Prairie website.)
It took me only a few minutes in each instance to check out the manufacturer's website. But now I have a clear conscience as to how the animal was raised prior to slaughter and therefore the product's quality afterwards.
In order to improve your health and that of your family, take time to carefully read all food labels; stay away from processed food as much as possible. Go to the manufacturer's website. See what their philosophy is and their processing procedures.
Look for the USDA Organic seal or free-ranged or pasture-raised on the label. If one or the other is not there, don't buy it. And even if it is take the next step. Check the manufacturer's website.
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