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Archive for 'Meat & Poultry'

On Wednesday, consumer advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the FDA for their failure to address the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed. Factory farms  include antibiotics and antimicrobial drugs in animal feed to fight against the myriad of illnesses that cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys suffer from as a result of their CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) lifestyle (horrendous living conditions, restriction of natural behaviors, use of  unnatural feed and growth hormones). The antibiotics can also help increase production in food-producing animals which is an obvious plus for farmers. The major concern with this practice is that humans and animals will eventually become resistant to these drugs and then they will no longer be effective when they are really needed. The FDA itself has acknowledged that non-therapeutic use of antibiotics contributes to antimicrobial resistance in humans and has urged the meat industry to phase out antibiotics in feed. The FDA issued a draft guidance for the industry and recommends “judicious use” be applied. Specifically, the “FDA recommends that all antimicrobial drugs for animals and people be used only when necessary and appropriate.”
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Have you seen the Meatrix yet? It is a highly creative cartoon in which Leo, the pig, meets Moopheus, the sunglasses and trench coat-clad cow, who decides to take the red pill to find out the truth about factory farming.

“The Meatrix is all around you Leo. It is the story we tell ourselves about where our meat and animal products come from.”

- Moopheus

The question is, are you taking the blue pill and living in the fantasy where meat is cheap and everything else doesn’t matter? Or, are you going to take the red pill and learn the truth?

From antibiotics and air pollution, to waste and workers, The Meatrix website does an excellent job at highlighting all the issues surrounding factory farming. Visit the site to learn more and find out how you can join the sustainable food movement.

A Look at Why We’re All Confused About What to Eat

Part of my job as the primary blogger for Be Food Smart is to stay up to date on what’s new in the food and nutrition world. For the most part I love it, but inevitably, there comes a point in my week where I throw my hands up in frustration. It seems that every type of food I thought I knew somehow becomes a subject of debate. Need some examples?

Sugar – The stuff that comes from the lush sugarcane plant is now suddenly associated with the “T” word. Remember when toxic was primarily used to describe a pile of nuclear waste oil drums with skull & crossbones? Robert Lustig’s YouTube video has only been viewed 1.16 million times.

Wheat – Between whole, unbleached, enriched, stone ground, and bleached, wheat is downright confusing. And all this before I even mentioned the almighty power word: gluten.

Salt – Sodium is bad, right? Or wait, is the regular stuff bad and sea salt good? What about rock, kosher, or unrefined pink Himalayan salt? Do I need the iodine (especially since the Japanese nuclear reactor is leaking)? I predict a future blog post on salt…
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This is a guest post by Jean at Delightful Repast. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate food writer who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

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Pan-Seared Ribeye Steaks with
Shallot Pan Sauce


When Dina invited me to do a guest post at Be Food Smart, I didn’t have to think twice. Be Food Smart is one of my favorite blogs, one I visit regularly. I was attracted to it because of its primary focus of increasing awareness of the harmful additives in today’s food. I grew up with that awareness, having a mother who got interested in health and nutrition when she was a young woman. I believe saying “No” to pesticides, herbicides, chemical additives, preservatives, food coloring, irradiation, GMOs, hormones and antibiotics puts our consumer power to work for a better world as well as better health for ourselves and our families.

I’ve been vegetarian at various times in my life and ideally I would be vegan; but that’s not going to happen any time soon. So I try to eat meat less often and choose meat that has been produced under the best conditions. We need to insist on humane treatment of all animals and proper working conditions for those who work in the meat industry. (One of the reasons I insist on organic produce is so that I know the people who worked in its production and harvest were not harmed by pesticides and herbicides.)

When I “met” Rod Morrison of Rocky Mountain Organic Meats on Twitter, I looked into the company and learned that their beef and lamb are 100% grass-fed, grass-finished and certified organic. No hormones. No antibiotics. No grain. No GMO feed. No irradiation. No feedlots where deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria thrive. Passionate about sustainable and organic agriculture and livestock production, Rod is dedicated to environmentally friendly agriculture practices, healthy land stewardship and–most important to me–the ethical treatment of animals. The animals are allowed to roam free and are treated humanely.

Yes, organic grass-fed beef is more expensive than conventional beef. But I would rather have it less often and in smaller servings and feel good about what I’m eating and feeding my family and friends. Of course, I am a locavore and always favor buying food produced as close to home as possible. But organic grass-fed beef is not available locally to many people across the country, so it’s wonderful to have the mail-order option.

I hope you’ll try my original recipe for Pan-Seared Ribeye Steaks with Shallot Pan Sauce (pictured above) with some good organic grass-fed beef. And be sure to let me know how you liked it!


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Jean at Delightful Repast is a freelance writer who writes about food (also entertaining, weddings and etiquette) for numerous publications. She started her food blog Delightful Repast February 2010 to share her passion for good food that is also good for you and good for the planet.

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Stonyfield has taken a page out of the Yeo Valley Organic playbook and created their own rap video. The song features Stonyfield CEO, Gary Hirshberg, and “The Stonyfield Moms.” While not quite as posh and polished, I must say it is a pretty catch tune. Even my 3-year old was walking around singing Eat Organic! this morning. If you visit JustEatOrganic.com, you can upload your own “Just Eat Organic” shout out video. I’m all in favor of creative and silly ways to get information out to consumers. I’m off to film my own shout out!

CHORUS: So if you love your body, love your children and you love your planet. There is hope for the future. So there’s no need to panic. The solution is a simple one, it’s easy to understand it. To protect your family, body, and earth. Just eat organic!


Image: Andres Rueda via Flickr

Don’t think you need buy organic meat? Think again. The US FDA released an estimate on the amount of antibiotics given to farm animals in the United States. The grand total is over 29 MILLION pounds in 2009!

2009 was the first year the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine required sales and distribution data of antimicrobial drugs approved for food-producing animals (cattle, poultry, swine) including:

“…(1) the amount of each antimicrobial active ingredient by container size, strength, and dosage form; (2) quantities distributed domestically and quantities exported; and (3) a listing of the target animals, indications, and production classes that are specified on the approved label of the product…”

- 2009 Summary Report, Food & Drug Adminstration

If we take cattle as an example, we know that they are meant to forage grass and digest it through their multi-chamber stomachs. Today’s commercially raised cows are fed a diet of corn, wheat, barley, sorghum, and likely never see a fresh blade of grass in their lifetime. They are eating a diet that they were not meant to eat and this has led to a situation
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will require nutritional labeling of raw meats and poultry beginning January 1, 2012. Here is an overview of the types of meats covered and exemptions:

Major cuts: This final rule requires nutrition labeling of the major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products that are not ground or chopped, except for certain exemptions (see below). For these products, the final rule requires that nutrition information be provided on the label or at point-of-purchase, unless an exemption applies.

Ground or Chopped Products: This final rule requires that nutrition labels be provided for all ground or chopped products (livestock or poultry) and hamburger, with or without added seasonings, unless an exemption applies
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