Organic meat isn’t cheap. Sometimes I buy it and sometimes I don’t. Alex Ruani, Research Director at The Health Sciences Academy has written a report asking is organic meat worth its price?
It is free for 7 days and is worth a read.
I thought I would summarise it below.
One thing I noticed are the words ‘organic meat’ there was no mention of grass-fed organic meat. I don’t know if that observation is relevant or not, just thought I would mention it.
This report outlines the fact that in the EU hormones are not allowed to be used in our meat.
This is not true of American meat where it is still used and why American meat imports into the European Union have been banned since 1989.
That is an important thing to consider if you are buying organic meat because you are afraid of the hormones, especially the ones used to help animals grow bigger, faster. All growth hormones (e.g. progesterone, testosterone, oestradiol-17b and others) are banned from all meats.
Also banned are hormones used to get more milk out of mammals.
So in the EU any farmer injecting hormones into their live stock that is due to become food for us, is basically breaking the law because it is illegal.
After assessing the potential risks to human health the EU Scientific Committee decided to ban hormones that might have any affect on an animals body or immune system.
Antibiotics are banned too
Any antibiotics fed to animals to encourage them to grow has also been banned. They have been banned since 2006.
Antibiotics can be used to treat all animals (e.g. including bees, poultry and fish) that are unwell (and that happens with organic meat too although it has to be less than 3 times in 12 months) but any antibiotic used to extend the production cycle in any way is banned.
Organic meat is fed non-organic feed
There is no law that says an organic animal MUST eat organic food. The EU encourages farmers to only use organic feed but it isn’t necessary. They could mix organic feed with non-organic feed.
If you want to know what non-organic feed farmers are allowed to use search for EC Regulation 889/2008, Annex V. Most of it is good stuff anyway, things like legumes, seeds and grains
Like I said at the beginning, this report wasn’t about grass-fed animals which of course is something different. The question remains – is the grass organic? Does it have to be organic? If an animal is grass fed out of soil that is full of chemicals and toxins won’t it still take in those chemicals and toxins?
What about the water it is given to drink? Is it ordinary tap water or filtered? Won’t that have its own chemicals/toxins? I have no idea of the answer. Just asking the questions.
The truth is organic meat, at least in the EU, isn’t that much better than ordinary meat. If you are in America there are significant differences between the two as your meat is still being injected with growth promoting hormones and antibiotics.
For us in the EU buying organic meat now becomes more of an ethical issue focusing on animal welfare. In that respect at least organic meat is treated much better and well looked after.
Chickens get to roam around and their meat/eggs are sold as being better than those from battery farms. They get space and fresh air. All organic animals do.
If stress affects the human body isn’t it possible that chickens and cows that are all shoved into a confined space, and end up stressed, will have some impact on the meat they become?
Another reason to give up meat?
As I focus more on my plant-based diet all of this information just becomes another reason why sticking to plants is a better option for me. Not that farmed plants don’t have their own issues but at least I know I can grow them myself.
I have no idea how long it will take me to become 100% plant-based eating or if I ever will. Maybe I will always enjoy the odd sausage and steak pie. For now though at least I can feel safer about eating meat, eggs and dairy produced in the European Union.
I don’t have to worry that it is full of chemicals and hormones when I eat it.
I certainly won’t bother with over priced organic supermarket meat as I prefer the meat I buy from my local halal butcher anyway. It actually tastes like meat!