Buyer Beware!


How many of you gone in the grocery store lately and seen a label on a package of meat that says “Farm Raised”?  Did you think twice when you saw this label?  There are so many marketing ploys out there now with food labels and you really have to think twice on what you’re buying.

My favorite label is the one for free range chickens; did you know that for an animal to be considered free range it just has to have the availability to range?  You could also have a trough full of yummy corn in the barn that the livestock really enjoy!  Shocking right?  The consumer buying said animal may see the a difference in price at the cash register from $.25-.50 per pound.  That adds up fast if you’re feeding a family.

Other commonly used marketing slogans when trying to sell products in the meat case:

  • Natural – According to the USDA a product labeled “Natural” can have no artificial ingredients, coloring agents, not chemically processed, or minimally processed.  Many meats like chicken, turkey, beef, etc can be labeled with this
  • Grass Fed – unless Certified by the USDA, any animal fed grass could have the label Grass Fed on it if it was fed grass during it’s life cycle.
  • Farm Raised – All livestock sold in the grocery store are probably farm raised.  I mean seriously, how many pigs do you know raised in a town home?
  • No Hormones Added – If you didn’t know, all poultry and pork are raised with out any hormones so all poultry and pork could be labeled as “no hormones added”
  • Made in the USA – Just about all meat sold in the USA is in fact made in the USA

no antibiotics label

Farm raised label

If you are paying more at the meat counter for any of the above claims please beware that it’s probably not necessary.  The good and bad of having great marketing campaigns out there is that we can sometime be mislead by the slogan or phrases that they give us.  If you’re ever in doubt head on over to the USDA Meat and Poultry Labeling Glossary  This will give you a good idea of what you’re seeing on your label and if it’s what you’re wanting to buy.  Another good reference is the USDA Food Labeling Fact Sheets website, it gives great insight into all things to do with food labels from allergies to safety.

The moral of my story today, beware of what you buy, but when it comes down to it, eat meat, it does the body good!