What Do The Lables On The Meat You Are Buying Really Mean…

Introduction

Ann Wigmore taught us not to rely upon meat as our source of substance and here at Creative Health Institute we adhere to her teachings and eat only a plant based diet consisting of mainly raw living foods. Though we are living this lifestyle many of our friends still eat animals. We hope this article with information taken from the USDA,  FDA  and the Mayo Clinic will help you to better understand the labeling processes being used by the factories and farms that provide meat for your table.

If the labels on the meat you are buying affect your buying decisions then you should know that food labeled with,”free range,” “natural” and “antibiotic-free” on meat, poultry and egg packages today, do not mean what you may have thought they meant.  In some cases, terms you find on packages are regulated under federal organic rules, while others are standard regardless of organic status. Other terms aren’t regulated at all.  Take a closer look.

Antibiotic-free

Under U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, meat and poultry products can be labeled as “no antibiotics added” if documentation is provided showing that the animals were raised without antibiotics. Similar allowable terms according to the USDA are “no antibiotics ever,” “no added antibiotics” and “raised without the use of antibiotics.” However, the term “antibiotic-free” isn’t USDA approved.

If animals are given antibiotics to prevent or treat disease, an antibiotic-withdrawal period — usually several days — is generally required before animals can be slaughtered so that there are no antibiotic residues in meat or poultry.

Cage-free

Under U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, this means that laying hens live uncaged, typically within a barn, warehouse, building or other enclosed area. They must have unlimited access to food and water and the freedom to roam within the enclosed area during their egg-production cycle. Cage-free doesn’t mean the hens have access to the outdoors. Cage-free birds can engage in some natural behaviors, such as nesting and spreading their wings. However, practices such as beak cutting are allowed. Poultry raised for their meat are rarely caged.

Certified humane

This is a voluntary certification and labeling program administered by Humane Farm Animal Care to ensure humane treatment of farm animals from birth through slaughter. This term is not regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Certified producers must meet species standards for such things as space, shelter, handling, fresh water, and a diet free of added hormones and antibiotics. Cages, crates and tie stalls are prohibited. Animals must be able to engage in natural behaviors. For instance, chickens must be able to spread their wings and dust bathe, while pigs must have space to move around and root. Other organizations also offer certification and labeling programs.

Chemical-free

Under U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, this term isn’t allowed on meat or poultry labels, so if you see it, be cautious about its meaning. Similarly federal regulations don’t allow the terms “residue-free,” “residue tested,” “naturally raised,” “naturally grown” or “drug-free.”

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