Drowning In The Catch Phrase Sea

Organic, Natural, Sustainable, Artisan, Certified, Local, Animal Cruelty, Antibiotic Free, No Antibiotic Residue– What the what does all this mean really? These terms do have meaning but they are so often flung about that they start to lose their meaning with overuse and misuse.

My favorite character in the movie Princess Bride, Indigo Montoya, said to Vizzini who kept on saying ‘inconceivable’ to every conceivable situation – “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.” So the terms ‘artisan’, ‘natural’, ‘sustainable’, etc… are used to paint a certain picture in the consumer’s mind although the consumer may have very little idea of what these terms really mean. On top of that the use of these terms may in fact be misleading unless the
consumer or chef knows what they are looking for.

The term ‘natural’ is perhaps the phrase that is most used, misused, and misunderstood.  According to the US government natural means minimally processed with no added ingredients like phosphates. The animal could come from a very clean environment with excellent animal husbandry or it could have come from a feedlot with 250,000 animals fed sub-therapeutic antibiotics and given hormones. So more questions need to be asked about the raising of the animals.

‘Organic’ is another term that has little to do with quality and more to do with how the animal is raised. If the farmer is doing it right you can have excellent meat and/or poultry, by the same token just because the animal has been given organic feed, given room to roam, and not treated with antibiotics means little if the breeding of the animal is poor and the husbandry is not quality. What happens when an animal gets sick? What is it fed? Is the breed, lets say of cattle,
quality British stock eating beef like Hereford? The consumer needs to ask questions.

High quality meat and poultry are very often found when animals are allowed to function in accord to their natural instincts, but clean shelter is given where in their natural environment there may be none. When the animal gets sick, responsible use of therapeutic antibiotics allows recovery to health when in the natural environment they may die, etc. Again, the asking of questions is imperative rather than just relying on a phrase or statement to make the decision for you.

The company I work for, Preferred Meats, has come up with a source verification method that allows us to know just what breeding, feeding, and raising methods are used in our variety of products. So when you speak with us, we encourage you to ask questions we will have or will get you the answers. That way if you decide to do business with us  your purchasing decisions are based on facts. Any other way is in the words of Vizzini simply, well……”Inconceivable”.


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