Grocery Stores – What to ignore

"Humanely Raised"

Farmers and food companies might use the term "humanely raised" to make their products sound appealing, but as noted elsewhere on this site, there is no generally accepted definition of "humanely raised," nor is there any governmental regulation of that term. Even a standard factory farm could use "humanely raised" on their products. If this is the only phrase you see on a package, be skeptical. Seek out products with one of the 5 labels mentioned in the previous section.

"Antibiotic free" or "Hormone free"

Industrial farms use antibiotics and synthetic hormones to prevent illness and promote rapid animal growth. Unfortunately, there's lots of evidence that use of antibiotics in animal feed is encouraging the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans. So it's important to support the removal of antibiotics in industrial farming. But this label says nothing about animals' living conditions.

"Local" or "Locally Raised"

"Local" simply refers to food that is grown or raised within a state or region (or within a 100-mile or 250-mile radius of the point of sale). "Local" offers no information about how animals were raised. While it makes a lot of sense to buy food from local farmers, dig a little deeper and never assume that local equals humane. A local chicken farm could house birds in cramped barns. A local pork farm might never let pigs outside.

"Natural" or "Naturally Raised"

"Natural" means the meat has no artificial coloring, flavoring, chemical preservatives, or artificial or synthetic ingredients. It says nothing about the animals.

"Naturally raised" indicates the animals didn't receive antibiotics, growth hormones, or feed containing animal by-products. While such things can be harmful to animals (and people), this label says nothing about animals' living conditions.

Comments are closed.