TAKE ACTION FOR FARM ANIMALS: Fight cruelty and deception; Eat only 100% Grass Fed, organic, pasture-raised with decent space for each head!

18 Jul

Fight cruel factory farming practices! If you want to stop dairy cows being confined in tie stalls, crated pigs that can’t root or move, and chickens stuffed in cages here is what you can do:

  1. Look for and buy Certified Humane® products – to find Certified Humane® products available near you, visit our “Where to Buy” section. Certified Humane
  2. If your store does not stock foods that are Certified Humane®download a “product request” form to give to your local store manager. We also have a “turkey request” form and a “dairy product request” form to download (if you are unable to download, please contact Humane Farm Animal Care to have these mailed to you).
  3. If your store does carry Certified Humane® products, let them know you shop there because they stock these products. Download a Certified Humane Comment Card and bring it to the customer service desk or drop it in their customer comment box. Grocers need to hear that they have business because they carry Certified Humane® products, and that you as a consumer may bring them more business because of these products.
  4. Have your family and friends sign a petition asking your local supermarket to stock products that are Certified Humane®.  Download a petition form here.
  5. Volunteer your time by sharing brochures, grocer request forms, and promotional materials with your friends and family. Email your mailing address to info@certifiedhumane.org, indicating that you would like to volunteer.
  6. Encourage your favorite food brands to become certified and to use Certified Humane Raised and Handled® ingredients in their products. You can contact them by using the website addresses on the packages of products that you purchase.
  7. Sign up for our email news updates – stay updated on our progress.
  8. Make a donation: Help us reach more farmers, more consumers, and help more animals.




When compared to conventional, battery hen eggs, the eggs from pastured chickens have these differences in appearance:

Only one of these eggs came from a pastured hen. Care to guess?

Only one of these eggs came from a pastured hen. Care to guess?

THE YOLK is bigger, taking up a larger portion of the egg. It is also a darker, more orange color when compared to the pale yellow yolks of battery hens. (Note: The color may vary based on the season and how many bugs or green grasses the hen eats, but it will always be noticeably different than the pale yellow of supermarket eggs.)

THE THICK EGG WHITE is bigger and noticeably thicker.




Grass-Fed Basics

by Jo Robinson

Back to Pasture. Since the late 1990s, a growing number of ranchers have stopped sending their animals to the feedlots to be fattened on grain, soy and other supplements.  Instead, they are keeping their animals home on the range where they forage on pasture, their native diet. These new-age ranchers do not treat their livestock with hormones or feed them growth-promoting additives. As a result, the animals grow at a natural pace. For these reasons and more, grass-fed animals live low-stress lives and are so healthy there is no reason to treat them with antibiotics or other drugs.

More Nutritious. A major benefit of raising animals on pasture is that their products are healthier for you. For example, compared with feedlot meat, meat from grass-fed beef, bison, lamb and goats has less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and “conjugated linoleic acid,” or CLA.  Read more about the nutritional benefits of raising animals on pasture.

The Art and Science of Grassfarming. Raising animals on pasture requires more knowledge and skill than sending them to a feedlot. For example, in order for grass-fed beef to be succulent and tender, the cattle need to forage on high-quality grasses and legumes, especially in the months prior to slaughter. Providing this nutritious and natural diet requires healthy soil and careful pasture management so that the plants are maintained at an optimal stage of growth. Because high-quality pasture is the key to high-quality animal products, many pasture-based ranchers refer to themselves as “grassfarmers” rather than “ranchers.”  They raise great grass; the animals do all the rest.

Factory Farming. Raising animals on pasture is dramatically different from the status quo. Virtually all the meat, eggs, and dairy products that you find in the supermarket come from animals raised in confinement in large facilities called CAFOs or “Confined Animal Feeding Operations.”  These highly mechanized operations provide a year-round supply of food at a reasonable price. Although the food is cheap and convenient, there is growing recognition that factory farming creates a host of problems, including:
• Animal stress and abuse
• Air, land, and water pollution
• The unnecessary use of hormones, antibiotics, and other drugs
• Low-paid, stressful farm work
• The loss of small family farms
• Food with less nutritional value.

Unnatural Diets. Animals raised in factory farms are given diets designed to boost their productivity and lower costs. The main ingredients are genetically modified grain and soy that are kept at artificially low prices by government subsidies. To further cut costs, the feed may also contain “by-product feedstuff” such as municipal garbage, stale pastry, chicken feathers, and candy. Until 1997, U.S. cattle were also being fed meat that had been trimmed from other cattle, in effect turning herbivores into carnivores. This unnatural practice is believed to be the underlying cause of BSE or “mad cow disease.”

Animal Stress. A high-grain diet can cause physical problems for ruminants—cud-chewing animals such as cattle, dairy cows, goats, bison, and sheep. Ruminants are designed to eat fibrous grasses, plants, and shrubs—not starchy, low-fiber grain. When they are switched from pasture to grain, they can become afflicted with a number of disorders, including a common but painful condition called “subacute acidosis.” Cattle with subacute acidosis kick at their bellies, go off their feed, and eat dirt. To prevent more serious and sometimes fatal reactions, the animals are given chemical additives along with a constant, low-level dose of antibiotics. Some of these antibiotics are the same ones used in human medicine. When medications are overused in the feedlots, bacteria become resistant to them. When people become infected with these new, disease-resistant bacteria, there are fewer medications available to treat them.

Caged Pigs, Chickens, Ducks and Geese.  Most of the nation’s chickens, turkeys, and pigs are also being raised in confinement. Typically, they suffer an even worse fate than the grazing animals. Tightly packed into cages, sheds, or pens, they cannot practice their normal behaviors, such as rooting, grazing, and roosting. Laying hens are crowded into cages that are so small that there is not enough room for all of the birds to sit down at one time. An added insult is that they cannot escape the stench of their own manure. Meat and eggs from these animals are lower in a number of key vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.

Environmental Degradation. When animals are raised in feedlots or cages, they deposit large amounts of manure in a small amount of space. The manure must be collected and transported away from the area, an expensive proposition. To cut costs, it is dumped as close to the feedlot as possible. As a result, the surrounding soil is overloaded with nutrients, which can cause ground and water pollution. When animals are raised outdoors on pasture, their manure is spread over a wide area of land, making it a welcome source of organic fertilizer, not a “waste management problem.” Read more about the environmental differences between factory farming and grass-based production.

The Healthiest Choice. When you choose to eat meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals raised on pasture, you are improving the welfare of the animals, helping to put an end to environmental degradation, helping small-scale ranchers and farmers make a living from the land, helping to sustain rural communities, and giving your family the healthiest possible food. It’s a win-win-win-win situation.


Eatwild was founded in 2001. Its mission was to promote the benefits—to consumers, farmers, animals, and the planet—of choosing meat, eggs, and dairy products from 100% grass-fed animals or other non-ruminant animals fed their natural diets. Eatwild is now the #1 clearinghouse for information about pasture-based farming and features a state-by-state directory of local farmers who sell directly to consumers.

Not content to just spread the word about healthier meat, eggs, and dairy, in 2013 Eatwild founder Jo Robinson published a new book–Eating on the Wild Side–which soon became a NY Times Bestseller. This new book presents 21st century research about the important health benefits of choosing specific varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as hands-on advice on how to shop for them, grow them, cook them, and store them so that their nutritional value is maintained. Jo gleaned this information by reviewing thousands of research articles, providing a wealth of information you will not find anywhere else. Read more about this prize-winning book…

Today, Eatwild.com provides research-based information about “eating on the wild side.” This means choosing present-day foods that approach the nutritional content of wild plants and game—our original diet. Evidence is growing on an almost daily basis that these wholesome foods give us more of the nutrients we need to fight disease and enjoy optimum health. Few of us will go back to foraging in the wild for our food, but we can learn to forage in our supermarkets, farmers markets, and from local farmers to select the most nutritious and delicious foods available.

In 2016, the Academy of Culinary Nutrition recognized Jo’s contributions to healthier eating by selecting her as one of their Top 50 Food Activists.

  Jo Robinson in her garden on Vashon Island

Find your way around Eatwild…



Love Life Ranch
Love Life Ranch, located in South Florida, offers locally born and raised milk-fed and grassfed Beef and Lamb. 100% grassfed and grass finished goodness! We also offer local raw honey from bees that enjoy the nectar of sweet orange blossoms.

Love Life Ranch began as a desire to eat more nutritionally-dense foods from animals that live the happy life mother nature intended for them…lazily grazing on lush green pastures, resting under shady trees, and playing in the warm South Florida sunshine. Because our cattle and sheep are so healthy, they are raised without the need to use hormones or antibiotics. Our livestock are thriving on fresh pastures and forage without herbicides or pesticides.

We sell live sheep or lamb (available in whole, half, or quarter cuts) processed at a local USDA certified facility.

Our beef is sold in 10-lb., 20-lb. or 50-lb. boxed bundles. We also offer 1/4 cow, 1/2 cow or whole cow. Our beef is processed at a USDA certified facility and comes in individual cuts in vacuum-sealed and flash frozen packages.

Love Life Ranch, Cristina Montero SouthWest Ranches, FL 33330. (786) 488-8380
E-mail: sales@loveliferanch.com. Website: www.loveliferanch.com

Miami Farmers Market
Miami, FL
Arrowhead Beef

Arrowhead Beef, LLC, founded in 2010, produces 100% grass-fed beef that is raised on a small group of family farms located in Chipley, FL (Panhandle). Cattle are raised in a lifestyle we call “herd-life harmony™.” This means that livestock is never sent to feedlots or to any industrial-style beef production.

  • All farm and livestock operations managed by George Fisher, co-founder and second-generation Florida Cattlemen from Chipley, FL.
  • Heirloom Parthenais and Parthenais-cross cattle for lean, tender meat
  • 100% fed and finished on grass and forage
  • Never given antibiotics or hormones
  • No pesticides in the fields
  • Humane slaughter, local USDA-inspected harvest facility
  • Perfectly dry aged for up to 14 days, small-batch, craft processing

Our mission remains the same today: to make local, small-farm, grass-fed beef commercially available to consumers and restaurants. As you may know, Florida is actually one of the country’s largest cattle-producing states. However, the vast majority of live animals are trucked to the Midwest to enter the industrial corn feedlot system of the major beef packers. As a result, sadly, there is very little harvesting and processing capability still remaining in Florida. To overcome this obstacle and to forge an alternative, locally sustainable, small-farm food system, we purchased a nearby USDA-inspected harvest facility called Westville Meats. This enables us to manage all key steps of the process, from live operations to meat processing, including certified humane slaughter, aging, and portioning. More importantly, we offer other small-farm, local producers the ability to harvest and process meats locally.

We originally began selling portioned beef cuts direct to consumers at various green markets across Florida. Although we still regularly attend a few local green markets, most sales are now done directly on-line and shipped. Today, Arrowhead Beef is available for sale direct to consumers, as well as to distributors, retailers and restaurants. Product is sold by the ½-steer, wholesale case, or by individual portioned cuts (piece). Buying on-line is made easy on our website. We ship with UPS, direct from the farm on Tuesdays.

You can also find us at a few selected retail stores: The Butcher Shoppe in Stuart; Marando Farms and Living Green Fresh Market, in Ft. Lauderdale; Gaucho Ranch in Miami; Natures Garden in Naples; Shadowwood Farms in Palm City, FL; and by appointment at Westville Meat Market in Westville, FL.

To order for your family online today, please visit our website, or contact Tony D. at (850) 270-8804 or info@ArrowheadBeef.com. Restaurants or retail stores interested in our wholesale program, please call Tom P. at (954) 428-4525 office, or (479) 790-8133 cell, or e-mail Tom@ArrowheadBeef.com

Arrowhead Beef, LLC., Chipley FL 32428.
E-mail: Tony D: info@ArrowheadBeef.com or Tom P: Tom@ArrowheadBeef.com. Website: www.ArrowheadBeef.com


Read Magazine, Newspaper and Online Articles about Eating on the Wild Side

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for getting the most flavor and nutrition
from the fruits and vegetables you love!
• Tearing Romaine and Iceberg lettuce
the day before you eat it quadruples its
antioxidant content.
• The healing properties of garlic can be
maximized by slicing, chopping, mashing,
or pressing it and then letting it rest for a
full 10 minutes before cooking.
• The yellowest corn in the store has 35
times more beta-carotene than white corn.
• Cooking potatoes and then chilling
them for about 24 hours before you
eat them (even if you reheat them)
turns a high-glycemic vegetable into a
low- or moderate-glycemic vegetable.
Paradoxically, combining potatoes with oil
(French fry alert!) helps keep them from
disrupting your metabolism.
• Carrots are more nutritious cooked than
raw. When cooked whole, they have 25
percent more falcarinol, a cancer-fighting
compound, than carrots that have been
sectioned before cooking.
• Beet greens are more nutritious than the
beets themselves.
• The smaller the tomato, the more nutrients
it contains. Deep red tomatoes have more
antioxidants than yellow, gold, or green
• The most nutritious tomatoes in the
supermarket are not in the produce aisles—
they are in the canned goods section!
Processed tomatoes, whether canned
or cooked into a paste or sauce, are the
richest known source of lycopene. They
also have the most flavor.
• Storing broccoli wrapped in a plastic bag
with tiny pin pricks in it will give you up to
125 percent more antioxidants than if you
had stored the broccoli loosely wrapped or
in a tightly sealed bag.
• Canned or jarred artichokes are just as
nutritious as fresh.
• Thawing frozen berries in the microwave
preserves twice as many antioxidants and
more vitamin C than thawing them on the
counter or inside your refrigerator.
• Ounce per ounce, there is more fiber in
raspberries than bran cereals.
8 Ways to Take Action for Farm Animals

Have you ever been to a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)? Even know what it is?

It’s a factory farm — an industrial facility — used for finishing livestock, including cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys, prior to slaughter. Their primary goal? To make the most amount of meat in the shortest amount of time. It’s about efficiency.

Don’t go. Even if you’re daring. Even if you’re brave. You won’t be able to stomach it.

The awful stench is the ammonia and hydrogen sulfide gasses — toxic air pollutants which are directly responsible for the death of farm workers who enter poorly ventilated manure containment systems. According to the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm and Animal Production, CAFO “facilities can be harmful to workers, neighbors, and even those living far from the facilities through air and water pollution, and via the spread of disease. Workers in and neighbors of [these] facilities experience high levels of respiratory problems, including asthma.”

Liquid manure from CAFOs is a major pollutant of soils and waterways

Pesticides are toxic substances used to kill weeds (herbicides), insects (insecticides), fungus (fungicides) and rodents (rodenticides). These pesticides are used almost everywhere –from agricultural fields to homes to public places.

While pesticides help control damage to plants caused by pests and increase food production worldwide, they pose significant risks, both directly and indirectly, to our health.

A 2007 study published in Canadian Family Physician reports positive associations between pesticide exposure and brain, breast, kidney, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and stomach cancers.

Another 2007 study published in the same journal links pesticide exposure to four chronic non-cancer health effects: dermatologic, neurologic, reproductive and genotoxic.

Exposure to pesticides may increase risk for Parkinson’s disease, according to a 2006 study published in the Annals of Neurology.

Also, a 2013 report by the European Food Safety Authority notes that exposure to pesticides can lead to leukemia in children and Parkinson’s disease.

Anyone who uses pesticides or is present when pesticides are sprayed is at a higher risk for dangerous exposure.

A 2015 report by the Environmental Working Group states that nearly two-thirds of the 3,015 produce samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2013 contained pesticides.

According to this report, the foods highest in pesticide loads were apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas and potatoes.

The foods containing the least amount of pesticides were avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, grapefruits, cantaloupes, cauliflower and sweet potatoes.

Given the health effects of pesticide exposure, it is important to take steps to avoid pesticide exposure. With a little effort, you can do wonders for your health as well as the environment.

remove pesticide residue

Here are some simple tips and tricks to avoid pesticide residue in food.

1. Wash Fruits and Vegetables under Running Water

While growing fruits and vegetables, many farmers spray pesticides on the leaves and stems to protect the crop from damage. A considerable amount of pesticides also accumulate on the outer surface of the fruits and vegetables.

To remove the harmful residue and toxins, the best option is to wash your produce under running warm water before eating it. It is best to use warm water rather than very cold or hot water.

Make sure you don’t just quickly wash and wipe the produce as the pesticides do not simply dissolve in the water, it is the action of rubbing produce under water that helps remove the residue.

A 2012 report by the Department of Analytical Chemistry at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station shows that rinsing fruits and vegetables under tap water significantly reduced the residue of nine of the 12 pesticides examined across 14 commodities.

Fruits like grapes, apples, strawberries, guava, blueberries, plums, peaches and pears as well as vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, green beans and okra can be cleaned properly using this method.

You should be thorough when washing these fruits and vegetables and, if required, opt for 2 or 3 washings before eating, as harmful chemicals can linger in crevices that are hard to wash.

In fact, you could use a vegetable brush to help srcub the produce thoroughly.

Along with raw fruits and vegetables, you need to thoroughly wash raw rice, legumes, beans and pulses 2 or 3 times before cooking.

2. Dry with Paper Towels

After you have washed the fruits and vegetables, dry them thoroughly. This helps remove any remaining residue sticking to the surface.

Instead of using your kitchen towel, use disposable paper towels as pesticide residue may collect on kitchen towels that aren’t washed right away and may get transferred to other foods, hands and dishes.

Paper towels are good for drying apples, strawberries, pears, guavas and tomatoes. For firm fruits and vegetables, such as melons and root vegetables, a little scrubbing may be required.

For lettuce and other types of salad leaves and green vegetables, use a salad spinner to remove excess fluid.

After drying fruits and vegetables, you can store them without any danger of spoiling them due to moisture.

3. Remove the Peel or Outer Layer

Remove the peels of fruits and vegetables, whever possible. Carrots, radishes, beetroot and potatoes, in particular, should be peeled to reduce the chances of eating harmful pesticides along with your food.

Through peeling, you can get rid of both systemic and contact pesticides that appear on the surface of the fruits and vegetables.

It is also an effective method for produce treated with wax (for instance, apples), as pesticide residue may be trapped underneath the wax.

Make sure to peel after washing the produce to prevent dirt and bacteria from transferring from the knife or peeler onto the fruit or vegetable. After peeling, wash again and then consume.

For leafy greens like lettuce, kale or cabbage, discard the outermost leaves from the head. Some may consider it to be wasteful, but the outer layers have more pesticides than the inner layers.

4. Blanching and Boiling

Blanching and boiling are two popular cooking techniques that can help remove pesticide and harmful chemicals from food.

A 2014 study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that regularly subjecting foods to heat treatment during preparation and preservation can help reduce pesticides to a great extent.

Heat treatments including pasteurization, boiling, cooking and others (depending upon the nature of the food) help reduce pesticides due to evaporation and co-distillation.

Before cooking green vegetables, soak them in warm water for a while to get rid of any leftover residue. Before blanching, make sure to thoroughly pre-wash the vegetables and fruits.

When it comes to animal products, it is highly recommended to boil or cook properly to remove pesticide residue from the animal fat tissues.

Animal products often have high amounts of pesticide residue since animals feed on fodder, which is sprayed with pesticides. Also, when cooking chicken, mutton or beef, cut off the excess fat and skin.

Even milk should be boiled at elevated temperatures to destroy persistent pesticide residue.

5. Homemade Cleaning Spray

homemade cleaning solution

Many people prefer using cleaning sprays available in the market or mild soapy water to rinse their fruits and vegetables. But this is something you need to avoid at any cost.

Fruits and vegetables have minute pores and when exposed to dish soap or any other cleaning spray, the residue can get trapped in or absorbed through the pores. This is very difficult to rinse off.

What you can do is make your own homemade cleaning solution. Here are three options:

  • Add ½ teaspoon of salt to a large bowl of water. Let the produce sit in the solution for a few minutes, then rinse with fresh water. Dry them thoroughly using paper towels.
  • Fill a large bowl with water and add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to it. Soak your fruits and vegetables in this solution for 10 minutes, then wash them under tap water. Finally, dry with paper towels.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Dilute this mixture with 1 cup of water and transfer it to a spray bottle. Spray this solution onto your produce, wait for a couple of minutes and wipe it off thoroughly using paper towels.

6. Eat Organic Produce

organic foods

Buying organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables and in-season produce is another effective assurance of less exposure to harmful chemicals.

It is easy to buy organic or unsprayed locally grown produce from the market. You may have to spend a bit more money, but when it comes to your health and your dear ones, organic produce is the best.

A 2015 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives reports that more frequent consumption of organic produce was associated with lower urinary dialkyl phosphate, which is higher when exposed to pesticides.

Organic fruits and vegetables should also be washed thoroughly before consumption to get rid of any bacteria and other microorganisms that may have deposited on the surface during handling and transportation.

7. Plant Your Own Garden

vegetable garden

To be 100 percent certain that you are eating pesticide-free fruits and vegetables, you can plant your own garden and grow your own fresh produce.

A small backyard garden or even terrace gardening can provide you with enough produce, if not year-round produce, for a family of four.

When you are engaged in gardening, you are aware of how you are producing the products and you can replace the need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers with organic materials.

In addition, gardening is a great hobby that has many health benefits. It can help calm your mind, improve your mood, strengthen your bones and muscles, and serve as a great family activity.

The homegrown produce will be healthier and tastier than store-brought fruits and vegetables.

However, before consumption, make sure to wash them under running water to remove dust, dirt and other wind-blown contaminants that might have reached your garden.






The pesticides used in Intensive Farming can seep into the groundwater, wreaking havoc on many water sources. This water will then flow to nearby streams and rivers, and eventually end up in lakes. The chemicals in the pesticides are changing the ecosystems in every water source they come in contact with. These chemicals can do things like change the PH of the water, which can kill the plant and animal life in these water sources. This leads to extreme biodiversity loss, which weakens the ecosystem as a whole.

The United Nations Environment Programme states that approximately “18,000” people around the world will die of pesticide poisoning each year.

I would like to tell a story about farmer named Jerry Vann. Jerry Vann is a 58-year-old farmer who is dying because of exposure to pesticides. Jerry grew up on a farm and loved the farming lifestyle. He left the farm to go to college but eventually dropped out and married his high school sweat-heart. They went on to have kids, and that is when Jerry went back to farming.Eventually there was huge increase in the amount of farmers using pesticides and fertilizers. Jerry could see that it was increasing their crop production so he decided to use them as well. The companies producing the pesticides didn’t know the side effects at this time, nobody did. Jerry started to use the chemical organophosphate on his cotton crops. After he started to use this chemical he noticed changes in his health. Jerry kept going to the doctor but nobody could figure out what was going on. Eventually   they did tests on his brain and found out he had peripheral neuropathy. This meant his outer nervous system was dying.

Jerry is now dying and the doctors don’t know how much time he has left. He will be leaving behind his beautiful family because of these chemicals. The use of these pesticides us unnatural and very dangerous to the workers using them. For Jerry’s complete story visit http://www.getipm.com/articles/farmer.html





6 Responses to “TAKE ACTION FOR FARM ANIMALS: Fight cruelty and deception; Eat only 100% Grass Fed, organic, pasture-raised with decent space for each head!”

  1. Vale July 18, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO):

    Real Meat | Food Renegade

    Have you ever been to a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO)? Even know what it is?

    It’s a factory farm — an industrial facility — used for finishing livestock, including cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys, prior to slaughter. Their primary goal? To make the most amount of meat in the shortest amount of time. It’s about efficiency.

    Don’t go. Even if you’re daring. Even if you’re brave. You won’t be able to stomach it.

    The awful stench is the ammonia and hydrogen sulfide gasses — toxic air pollutants which are directly responsible for the death of farm workers who enter poorly ventilated manure containment systems. According to the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm and Animal Production, CAFO “facilities can be harmful to workers, neighbors, and even those living far from the facilities through air and water pollution, and via the spread of disease. Workers in and neighbors of [these] facilities experience high levels of respiratory problems, including asthma.”

    Liquid manure from CAFOs is a major pollutant of soils and waterways
    Liquid manure from CAFOs is a major pollutant of soils and waterways
    No wonder. The waste from one cow is more than 20 times the waste of a human, multiply that by 10,000 cows all confined to a small space and you have the waste of a small city of 200,000 people on your hands.

    But it’s more than the smell, more than the pollution to our air, soil, and water. I don’t eat factory-farmed meat because it’s downright unhealthy. It comes from some of the most sickly and disease-infested animals on our planet, animals with compromised immune systems, animals so sensitive to illness that they’re fed a steady diet of antibiotics – humans who need to go near them must don space suits.

    I’m not making this up.

    On top of all this, the grain-based diet these animals eat is unnatural, and it produces unnatural meats. Cows, for example, are ruminants. That means they eat grass. Not grains. Grass. Their bodies were created to metabolize grass and turn it into meat. In a CAFO, the typical cow is fed a diet of grains, chicken manure, dead animal parts, waste products from food, beverage, and candy factories, and silage. No grass to be found. Anywhere. This industrial diet makes the cows sick because it aggravates and imbalances their digestive acids and enzymes. And not surprisingly, it makes their meat bad for us.

    You know all those studies that show that a diet high in red meat can cause cancer and heart disease, obesity and depression, insulin resistance and allergies? Well, they’re right. But the red meat they’re feeding study volunteers isn’t my red meat. It isn’t grass-fed and finished meat from cows that got plenty of sunshine, exercise, and no antibiotics.

    Grass-fed and finished meats are lower in fat, contain a healthier balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids, plus they’re higher in Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), beta carotene, and vitamins A and E.

    In other words, animals fed their natural, God-given diets of lush grasses (and the occasional annoying insect) have more of the good fats, vitamins, and minerals your body needs.

    So, enjoy your meat! But make sure it’s wholesome meat, raised without the use of antibiotics, and fed on Nature’s banqueting table.

    Make sure it’s real meat!

  2. Vale July 18, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

    Fermented & Raw | Food Renegade

    What did you pick? Sourkraut? Kimchi? Chutney? Did you even think of cheese, sour cream, yogurt, sourdough bread or buttermilk pancakes?

    Now, try your hand at naming a popular raw meat.

    Don’t get all squeamish on me. Think.

    How about pastrami? Corned beef? Ceviche? Sushi?

    Every culture has a long tradition of fermented and raw foods — foods that provide for healthy intestinal flora and decrease the load on your pancreas and liver.

    Sadly, because of today’s industrial food model, these traditional foods have morphed into something unrecognizable. Corned beef is no longer raw and preserved with salt and spices. Cheese is made from devitalized pasteurized milk. Bread makers rarely use real fermented sourdough starters in their so-called sourdough loafs. And homemakers hardly ever soak their freshly ground whole wheat flour overnight in buttermilk to create the light and fluffy pancakes and biscuits we love to love.

    The modern equivalents of age-old fermented foods are nutritionally empty when compared to their historical counterparts.

    Take grains, for example. Did you know that traditional societies either soaked, sprouted, or fermented their grains prior to consuming them? While the reasons our ancestors practiced this level of grain preparation are debatable, we do know that sprouting, fermenting, and soaking grains can increase vitamin and mineral content availability by 300-500%.

    That’s quite the nutritional kick!

    And whatever happened to preserving food using lacto-fermentation? Before the modern era of hot water bath canning and vinegar brines, people used to preserve vegetables and fruits in cans and other air tight containers using lactic-acid fermentation. The lactic-acid caused the food to pleasantly sour (think: pickles), increased the vitamin & mineral content of the food, provided a rich source of valuable digestive enzymes, and preserved the food for months at a time.

    Traditional breads & cheeses, paired with figs makes an appealing of fermented and raw foods.
    Traditional breads & cheeses, paired with figs makes an appealing display of fermented and raw foods.
    We need to get over our prejudices. Cooked and over-processed to the extreme, the average American diet lacks the vitamins, minerals and enzymes natural to fermented and raw foods. Compare this to traditional diets around the world where raw and fermented foods make up 60-80% of their food intake.

    While science debates the ins and outs of exactly why raw and fermented foods are so much healthier for us (living enzyme content? more available nutrients?), anecdotal evidence makes the benefits clear.

    People who start eating a diet high in raw & fermented foods reverse the course of cancer, stop diabetes in its tracks, and notice an increased level of heart fitness.

  3. Vale July 18, 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    EWG’s 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™
    More and more Americans are demanding food free of synthetic chemicals. But EWG’s analysis of tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that nearly 70 percent of samples of 48 types of conventionally grown produce were contaminated with pesticide residues.
    The USDA found a total of 178 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the thousands of produce samples it analyzed. The pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.
    But there are stark differences in the number and amount of pesticides on various types of produce. EWG’s annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ lists the Dirty Dozen™ fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues, and the Clean Fifteen™, for which few, if any, residues were detected.
    When buying organic produce is not an option, use the Shopper’s Guide to choose foods lower in pesticide residues. With the Shopper’s Guide, you can have the health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables while limiting your exposure to pesticides.
    Highlights of the Dirty Dozen™ for 2017

    For the Dirty Dozen list, EWG singled out produce with the highest loads of pesticide residues. This year the list includes, in order, strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes.
    Each of these foods tested positive for a number of different pesticide residues and contained higher concentrations of pesticides than other produce. Pears and potatoes were new additions to the Dirty Dozen, displacing cherry tomatoes and cucumbers from last year’s list.
    Key findings:
    More than 98 percent of samples of strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples tested positive for residue of at least one pesticide.
    A single sample of strawberries showed 20 different pesticides.
    Spinach samples had, on average, twice as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.
    The Clean Fifteen™

    EWG’s Clean Fifteen list of produce least likely to contain pesticide residues included sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit. Relatively few pesticides were detected on these foods, and tests found low total concentrations of pesticide residues on them.
    Key findings:
    Avocados and sweet corn were the cleanest: only 1 percent of samples showed any detectable pesticides.
    More than 80 percent of pineapples, papayas, asparagus, onions and cabbage had no pesticide residues.
    No single fruit sample from the Clean Fifteen tested positive for more than four types of pesticides.
    Multiple pesticide residues are extremely rare on Clean Fifteen vegetables. Only 5 percent of Clean Fifteen vegetable samples had two or more pesticides.
    See the full list.
    Genetically engineered crops, or GMOs

    Most processed foods typically contain one or more ingredient derived from genetically engineered crops, such as corn syrup and corn oil made from predominantly GMO starchy field corn. Yet GMO food is not often found in the produce section of American supermarkets. A small percentage of zucchini, yellow squash and sweet corn is genetically modified.1 Most Hawaiian papaya is GMO. Other varieties of GMO foods are currently being tested. The USDA may approve them in the future.
    Because federal law does not require labeling of genetically engineered produce, EWG advises people who want to avoid GMO crops to purchase organically grown sweet corn, papaya, zucchini and yellow squash. For processed foods, look for items that are certified organic or bear the Non-GMO Project Verified label. EWG recommends that consumers check EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Avoiding GMO Food, Food Scores database and EWG’s Healthy Living app, which can help identify foods likely to contain genetically engineered ingredients.
    Dirty Dozen PLUS™

    Again this year, we have expanded the Dirty Dozen list to highlight hot peppers, which do not meet our traditional ranking criteria but were found to be contaminated with insecticides toxic to the human nervous system.
    USDA tests of 739 samples of hot peppers in 2010 and 2011 found residues of three highly toxic insecticides – acephate, chlorpyrifos and oxamyl – on a portion of sampled peppers at concentrations high enough to cause concern. These insecticides are banned on some crops but still allowed on hot peppers. In 2015, California regulators tested 72 unwashed hot peppers and found that residues of these three pesticides are still occasionally detected on the crop.26
    EWG recommends that people who frequently eat hot peppers buy organic. If you cannot find or afford organic hot peppers, cook them, because pesticide levels typically diminish when food is cooked.
    The federal Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 mandated that the Environmental Protection Agency tighten regulation of pesticides and reduce the risks of pesticide exposure for children. The act prompted the EPA to restrict the use of many chemicals, including organophosphate pesticides, which are potent neurotoxins. Even in low doses, they can impair children’s intelligence and brain development.
    Over the past two decades, organophosphates have been withdrawn from many agricultural uses and banned from household pesticides. Yet they can still be applied to certain crops.
    Several long-term studies of American children initiated in the 1990s found that children’s exposures to toxic organophosphate insecticides – not only in farm communities but also in cities – were high enough to cause subtle but lasting damages to their brains and nervous systems.3,4,5
    The EPA and some in the agriculture industry argue that restrictions enacted after these children were born would ensure that contemporary children’s exposures to these pesticides from food are safe. But a 2012 study, led by Stephen Rauch of British Columbia’s Children’s Hospital, found decreases in infant birth weight and shorter pregnancies among 300 Ohio mothers exposed to organophosphates during pregnancy.6 These pregnancies occurred after major organophosphate restrictions took effect in the early 2000s. The study indicates that organophosphate exposures must be further curtailed to protect children’s health.
    How consumers can avoid pesticides

    Smart shopping choices matter. People who eat organic produce eat fewer pesticides. A 2015 study by Cynthia Curl of the University of Washington found that people who report they “often or always” buy organic produce had significantly less organophosphate insecticides in their urine samples. This was true even though they reported eating 70 percent more servings of fruits and vegetables per day than adults reporting they “rarely or never” purchase organic produce.7 Several long-term observational studies have indicated that organophosphate insecticides may impair children’s brain development.
    In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued an important report that said children have “unique susceptibilities to [pesticide residues’] potential toxicity.” The pediatricians’ organization cited research that linked pesticide exposures in early life to “pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.” It advised its members to urge parents to consult “reliable resources that provide information on the relative pesticide content of various fruits and vegetables.” A key resource it cited was EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce.8

    EWG’s Shopper’s Guide ranks pesticide contamination on 48 popular fruits and vegetables based on an analysis of more than 36,000 samples taken by the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration. The USDA doesn’t test every food every year. EWG generally used the most recent sampling period for each food.
    Nearly all the tests that serve as the basis for the guide were conducted by USDA personnel, who washed or peeled produce to mimic consumer practices. It is a reasonable assumption that unwashed produce would likely have higher concentrations of pesticide residues, as is typically found in California Department of Pesticide Regulation tests that include unwashed, unpeeled produce.9
    To compare foods, EWG looked at six measures of pesticide contamination:
    Percent of samples tested with detectable pesticides
    Percent of samples with two or more detectable pesticides
    Average number of pesticides found on a single sample
    Average amount of pesticides found, measured in parts per million,
    Maximum number of pesticides found on a single sample
    Total number of pesticides found on the commodity
    For each metric, we ranked each food based on its individual USDA test results, then normalized the scores on a 1 to 100 scale, with 100 being the highest. A food’s final score is the total of the six normalized scores from each metric. When domestically grown and imported produce items had notably different scores we displayed them separately to help guide consumers toward lower-pesticide options. The Shopper’s Guide full list shows fruits and vegetables in the order of these final scores.
    Our goal is to show a range of different measures of pesticide contamination to account for uncertainties in the science. All categories were treated equally. The likelihood that a person would eat multiple pesticides on a single food was given the same weight as amounts of the pesticide detected and the percent of the crop on which any pesticides were found.
    The Shopper’s Guide is not built on a complex assessment of pesticide risks but instead reflects the overall pesticide loads of common fruits and vegetables. This approach best captures the uncertainties about the risks and consequences of pesticide exposure. Since researchers are constantly developing new insights into how pesticides act on living organisms, no one can say that concentrations of pesticides assumed to be safe today are, in fact, harmless.
    EWG’s Shopper’s Guide aims to give consumers the confidence that by following EWG’s advice, they can buy foods with fewer types of pesticides and lower overall concentrations of pesticide residues.
    1 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Issues in the Coexistence of Organic, Genetically Engineered (GE), and Non-GE Crops. Economic Research Service, 2016. Available at http://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/eib149/56750_eib-149.pdf
    2 California Department of Pesticide Regulation, Pesticide Residues on Fresh Produce. 2015. Available at http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/enforce/residue/resi2015/rsfr2015.htm
    3 M. Bouchard et al., Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides and IQ in 7-Year Old Children. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; 119(8):1189-1195. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21507776
    4 V. Rauh et al., 7-Year Neurodevelopmental Scores and Prenatal Exposure to Chlorpyrifos, A Common Agricultural Pesticide. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; 119(8):1196-1201. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21507777
    5 S.M. Engel et al., 2011. Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphates, Paraoxonase 1, and Cognitive Development in Childhood. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; 119(8):1182-1188. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21507777
    6 S.A. Rauch et al., Associations of Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticide Metabolites with Gestational Age and Birth Weight. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2012; 120(7):1055-1060. Available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404666/
    7 C.L. Curl et al., Estimating Pesticide Exposure from Dietary Intake and Organic Food Choices: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Environmental Health Perspectives, 2015. Available at ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1408197/
    8 American Academy of Pediatrics, Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition and Council on Environmental Health, 2012; e1406 -e1415. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-2579. Available at pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/5/e1406
    9 California Department of Pesticide Regulation, Pesticide Residues on Fresh Produce. 2015. Available at http://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/enforce/residue/resi2015/rsfr2015.htm

  4. Vale July 18, 2017 at 5:36 pm #

    There is currently no legal definition for “Free Range” or “Pasture Raised” in the United States, therefore these terms are often used on poultry packaging with no unilateral definitions for the consumer to trust. HFAC’s 28-member Scientific Committee has spent nearly two years reviewing all of the current research, which has resulted in new standards for the Certified Humane® label.

    Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) has revised their laying hen standards, which now divide the “Free Range” section of the standards into “Pasture Raised” and “Free Range.” The “Free Range” section was originally written for what is now defined as a “Pasture Raised” system; the revised standards add a third category for birds which are outdoors seasonally. This change in standards means that Certified Humane® producers wishing to use the terms “Pasture Raised” or “Free Range” on packages must now meet the requirements of the newly defined categories.
    Dr. Ruth Newberry, Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, chaired the Poultry Committee within HFAC’s Scientific Committee. The Scientific Committee, and the producers had input and the Standards Committee did the final review. That process included review of animal research and visits to farms to review various outdoor systems.
    The USDA’s (and industry standard) definition for “Free Range” is that birds must have “outdoor access” or “access to the outdoors.” In some cases, this can mean access only through a “pop hole,” with no full-body access to the outdoors and no minimum space requirement.
    HFAC’s Certified Humane® “Free Range” requirement is 2 sq. ft. per bird. The hens must be outdoors, weather permitting (in some areas of the country, seasonal), and when they are outdoors they must be outdoors for at least 6 hours per day. All other standards must be met.
    HFAC’s Certified Humane® “Pasture Raised” requirement is 1000 birds per 2.5 acres (108 sq. ft. per bird) and the fields must be rotated. The hens must be outdoors year-round, with mobile or fixed housing where the hens can go inside at night to protect themselves from predators, or for up to two weeks out of the year, due only to very inclement weather. All additional standards must be met.
    Pasture Raised and Free Range producers must meet all the standards in addition to those specific to the Pasture Raised and Free Range housing systems.
    “Any product labeling terms that are important to consumers need to be clearly defined. The Certified Humane® labeling program is in place to assure a trusted product for consumers who care about how animals are raised and slaughtered for food.” said Adele Douglass, HFAC’s Executive Director. “While it takes time for the entire industry to adapt best practices, we at HFAC have the opportunity to break ground, and we do so every year as we revise and raise our standards.”
    Without any legal definitions for the terms, HFAC’s previous “Free Range” standards were written for what is now defined as “Pasture Raised” standards and had a requirement of 2.5 acres per 1000 birds (108 sq. ft per bird), which is the standard space requirement based on the British Free Range Standard and was a recommendation of the “Soil Association,” an organization founded in 1946, which focuses on sustainable farming and preventing soil degradation. As consumer demand has increased for Certified Humane® products, HFAC realized a need to separate the terms to define farms that had “outdoor access” and create a standard for “Free Range” versus those that were actually “Pasture Raised.”
    Currently, there are already three “Pasture Raised” egg companies on the program: Vital Farms (Austin, TX), White Oak Pastures (Bluffton, GA) and Ayrshire Farm (Upperville, VA). The only 100% “Free Range” company to be on the program, so far, is Happy Egg Company (San Francisco, CA).
    In addition to the revised best science-based standards that encompass both “Free Range” and “Pasture Raised” hens, HFAC’s current Animal Care Standards for Laying Hens include standards for the rearing of laying hens in barns either with or without outdoor access. Cages of any type (including furnished cages) have always been prohibited. The minimum space requirements for barn-raised chickens include clean air (less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of ammonia), 15% of the floor space must have litter for the hens to dust-bathe, perches must be provided at 6″ per bird and at least 20% of those perches must be elevated. There are requirements for feeder space and drinker space, as well. All animal byproducts are prohibited, as are antibiotics.
    HR 3798 Legislation, written and supported by both the United Egg Producers (UEP) and the Humane Society of the US (HSUS), and introduced in the last Congress, defines “Free Range” as:
    (1) ‘Eggs from free-range hens’ to indicate that the egg-laying hens from which the eggs or egg products were derived were, during egg production – – (A) not housed in caging devices; and (B) provided with outdoor access.
    Consumer Reports – Greener Choices evaluation of the claim “Free Range” states:
    WHAT THIS GENERAL CLAIM MEANS: The USDA has defined “free range” or “free roaming” for poultry products but not for eggs. For other products carrying the “free range” label, there is no standard definition for this term.
    CONSUMER UNION EVALUATION: Free range (or free roaming) is a general claim that implies that a meat or poultry product, including eggs, comes from an animal that was raised in the open air or was free to roam. Its use on beef is unregulated and there is no standard definition of this term. “Free Range” is regulated by the USDA for use on poultry, only, (not eggs) and the USDA requires that birds have been given access to the outdoors but for an undetermined period each day. USDA considers five minutes of open-air access each day to be adequate for it to approve use of the “Free Range” claim on a poultry product. “Free range” claims on eggs are not regulated at all. To learn more about what is meant by this term, consumers must contact the manufacturer.

    How meaningful is the label?
    Is the label verified?
    Is the meaning of the label consistent?
    Are the label standards publicly available?
    Is information about the organization publicly available?
    Is the organization free from conflict of interest?
    Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?

    1. There are no standards for the free range label.
    2. There are no standards for the free range label.
    3. The producer or manufacturer decides whether to use the claim and is not free from its own self-interest.

    Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals by certifying their humane treatment. Supported by more than 65 humane organizations, the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® program is nationally recognized as the Gold Standard for certifying animal welfare from birth through slaughter. Since the program was founded in February 2003, more than 111 companies, representing thousands of farms and millions of farm animals, have been certified.
    HFAC’s Animal Care Standards were developed by a veritable “Who’s Who” of national and international animal scientists and farm-animal welfare experts. Producer compliance with the HFAC standards is verified through annual on-site visits by HFAC’s third-party inspectors. To read the newly revised Laying Hen Standards, visit http://bit.ly/Kw9TSd. To locate Certified Humane® products, visit HFAC’s “Where to Buy” page at http://bit.ly/18EyU3E.


    There currently are no standards for “pastured” animals. The picture above represents the most common interpretation by producers of pastured animals. The pigs are still raised indoors on an exclusive corn and soy diet. The “pastured” aspect is justified by cracking open a door allowing the animals access to pasture. The pigs have no reason to venture outside because all of their food is provided in a trough right in front of them. It’s slightly ironic how most pasture raised animals spend their entire lives indoors.

    Recent forecasts predict shortages in bacon due to a poor harvest of corn and soybeans. Whereas many people have panicked, I have rejoiced. A good analogy would be to recognize shortages in a specific textile because sweatshop laborers are decreasing. Less individuals will have to live a torturous existence. Maybe some pork producers will think “Without enough corn and soy maybe I should start feeding my pigs what they have been evolutionarily designed to eat; food items which do not require the use of antibiotics to keep my animals alive.”


    f it’s organic it must be more nutritious, right?all natural label

    Probably not. And even if it is, what you have in your shopping cart isn’t as organic as you think it is.

    Well, even if it’s not nutritious, it’s still worth paying more money to avoid chemicals, right?

    Ummm… probably not. More on that in a minute.

    But at least I’m supporting small farmers, yes?

    Uhhh… No… You’re actually supporting Phillip Morris. Yeah, the cigarette guys. OK, look, I’m sorry. But there is no Santa Claus. There are no unicorns. The Tooth Fairy doesn’t exist. And organic is a lie. There. I said it.

    Now I’m going to prove it.

    Please see satellite images of the north pole here… What? Oh. You’re only interested in the whole organic thing? OK, but remember, like learning about Santa, unicorns, and the Tooth Fairy, the truth is going to hurt.

    Let’s take a tour of Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, or even Albertson’s. Looking at the packages lining the shelves and freezers, we seem to have lots of wonderful, healthy, natural foods to choose from. Things that are kind to our bodies, our planet, and our fellow creatures.

    Don’t believe everything you read. In fact, don’t believe anything that you read.

    Label mythology

    “Healthy” food label writing is an art form. It nearly rises to the level of the poetry printed on the back of wine bottles describing the flavors inside. But unlike “subtle notes of blackberry and undertones of chocolate;” phrases like “all natural,” “heart-healthy,” and “whole grain goodness” have more in common with literature than poetry, because these healthy labels frequently owe more to fiction than they do to fact.

    The biggest offenders in this label fiction game are: “natural,” “free-range,” “humane,” and “hormone free.” They’re just words. Highly elastic marketing terms designed to trick you, to fool you into buying a product that isn’t really at all what you’re being lead to believe it is. These terms have no oversight, no law behind them.

    Navigating the labelsorganic food labels

    But it’s not all smoke and mirrors, of course. The USDA organic seal is highly regulated (maybe too much so, as we’ll see in a moment), and the rules have teeth. If you use USDA’s Organic seal for a product that doesn’t meet the standards, you’re facing an $11,000 fine from the feds. For each violation.

    There are actually three USDA organic categories, depending on just how organic a product is: 100% organic and 95% organic can use the forest-service green and brown USDA Organic seal on their packages; and if a product is at least 70% organic you can legally say “made with Organic Ingredients.” But if your product falls below the 70% threshold, use of “organic” is prohibited.

    Even with all this government oversight, however, not all is what meets the eye. A “natural strawberry flavor” doesn’t necessarily mean an actual strawberry was used in its creation. It only signifies that the flavoring isn’t synthetic, but it can still be made from another natural substance altogether, like… say… corn.

    For a guide to translating this Label Literature into plain English see this list, created by the prestigious EarthWatch Institute, of 27 different food labels seen in American grocery stores. Spoiler Alert: you’re about to find out that “cage free” eggs are fiction, “grass-fed” may be a joke, and that a pasture probably isn’t what you think it is. On the bright side, the Food Alliance Certified label is deemed “reliable.” But while “dolphin-safe” is true, “wild-caught” might not be. And don’t even get me started on how confusing the labels about hormones in milk are—they’re a blend of fact and fiction convoluted enough to rival the Blair Witch Project.

    Not all “real” organic foods have labels

    Confounding the issue of what’s real and what isn’t real, is the fact that the tight federal regulation of organic, according to Michael Pollan, author of the seminal food book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has resulted in many small, legitimate organic farmers choosing to opt-out of the labeling system altogether, rather than jump through the government’s hoops to use the organic seal of approval. Some small farmers say that simply maintaining the FDA required paperwork would require them to hire a full-time person just to keep up with it.

    Others go farther and claim the government’s regulations are designed to help big producers while placing small farms at a disadvantage, or that the legal requirements to call something “organic” aren’t nearly strict enough and they refuse to participate in protest. The USDA label mainly deals with fertilizers and pesticides; it still allows for a very long list of substances in foods that most of us would not regard as natural, including heavy chemicals and antibiotics. And “USDA Certified Organic” can still be treated with preservatives to get it to market while remaining “farm fresh.”

    So on one hand, half the food labels cheat, lie, and stretch the truth; while on the other hand, some of the possibly most natural foods around aren’t labeled as such!

    But suppose, just suppose, that you’ve successfully navigated the misleading marketing, creative fictions, and nebulous claims (with the help of the EarthWatch list above), and have scored a true naturally grown or raised food. It will cost you, at least half again as much as conventional foods, and in many cases twice as much. But the dent in your wallet has landed you healthier food, right?

    The truth about (organic) nutrition

    No. Probably not. No studies to date show that organically grown food is any more nutritious than conventionally grown food. In fact, the most rigorous study to date debunks that notion altogether. Bluntly put: whole food is whole food. We are completely lacking in any proof whatsoever that one carrot is more nutritious than another, or that lettuce grown on an industrial farm is any different than lettuce grown in your backyard; at least as far as food value goes. (Obviously, there are big differences in the ingredients in processed foods, making some much healthier than others, but that’s outside the “organic” realm we’re addressing here.)

    organic market signWhat about pesticides?

    Of course, there’s one other issue that’s a soap box for the organic industry, and that’s pesticides — chemicals used to protect crops in the fields from insects. True organic veggies are grown without pesticides, and are therefore billed as healthier, although research shows a good washing under tap water removes most pesticide residue. There’s room for common sense, too, as my sister likes to say, “Who cares if it’s organic if you’re going to peel it before you eat it?”

    But for those still on the fence about pesticides, the controversial research and lobbying organization Environmental Working Group has produced a list they call the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15 that advocates a split-shopping approach: buy organic for the foods that tend to contain the highest level of pesticides, and buy conventional in the produce that runs the lowest in pesticides. Their list guides you as to which are which.

    The real winners and losers

    So much for Santa and unicorns. What about the Tooth Fairy?

    If you want to support small farmers, your best bet may be a local farmer’s market. You’ll have to look the farmer in the eye and ask him about pesticides and fertilizers and decide if he (or she) is telling the truth. But if you’re going to Whole Foods Market for lettuce, you’re more likely to be helping a company called EarthBound, rather than Farmer Brown. According to Pollan, EarthBound is the largest supplier of organic lettuce in the United States, with a whopping 80% market share. Organic is big businesses.

    It’s true. Consider that Back to Nature, maker of assorted granola-type-stuff that is now owned by Kraft Foods (of blue box Kraft Mac n’ Cheese fame) who are themselves owned by… you guessed it… cigarette conglomerate Phillip Morris.


  5. Vale July 18, 2017 at 4:57 pm #


    Key Largo, Florida 33037, United States:

    w/in 25 mi.:

    105300 OVERSEAS HWY 33037 FL
    Product: Nellie’s Free Range
    1.62 mi
    View On Map

    101437 OVERSEAS HWY 33037 FL
    !!?? NOTHING !!??
    5.3 mi
    View On Map

    Winn-Dixie #328
    92100 OVERSEAS HIGHWAY Tavernier 33070 FL
    Product: Pete and Gerry’s,Nellie’s Free Range,Murray’s Chicken (whole and pieces)
    7.07 mi
    View On Map

    7576 S US 1 FL
    Product: Pete and Gerry’s
    7.07 mi
    View On Map

    650 SE 8TH STREET Homestead 33034 FL
    Product: Nellie’s Cage Free Eggs,Pete & Gerry’s Organic Eggs
    19.84 mi
    View On Map

    650 SE 8TH STREET FL
    Product: Pete and Gerry’s
    19.84 mi
    View On Map

    2950 NE 8TH ST 33033 FL
    20.35 mi
    View On Map

    891 N HOMESTEAD BLVD 33030 FL
    20.88 mi
    View On Map
    Winn-Dixie #319
    30346 OLD DIXIE HIGHWAY Homestead 33033 FL
    Product: Pete and Gerry’s,Nellie’s Free Range,Murray’s Chicken (whole and pieces)
    21.46 mi
    View On Map
    3060 NE 41ST TERRACE 33033 FL
    21.79 mi
    View On Map
    Latitude 25 Clothing Co.
    Pet Supplies Store
    Product: OPEN FARM Dog Food
    22.68 mi
    View On Map
    Product: Pete and Gerry’s
    22.87 mi
    View On Map

  6. Vale July 18, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

    “100% Grass Fed Beef.” That means exactly as it sounds: all of the cattle used to create our bars, strips, bites, broths, and cooking fats only consume grass their entire lives—thus ensuring their diet is as close to naturally-intended as possible. The majority of the time, they eat by simply roaming the pastures they live on; but should conditions—such as inclement weather or struggling grasslands—inhibit them from accessing fresh grass, our cattle are provided dried forages, typically in the form of hay. And because our cattle are grass-fed and grass-finished, they never receive an ounce of grain and are never, ever subjected to feedlots. … meat is not—and never will be—synonymous with feedlots. We’ve all got the tools to change this, too. It just requires an open mind and a willingness to rethink the current system. Let’s break this down for a second:

    In the current system, most ruminants—cows, bison, sheep, and goats—raised for meat production spend the first 12-15 months of their lives on family ranches. It’s here, in their natural state, where they grow strongest. But after that, they’re sent off to feedlots and typically finished within 60 days of arrival. During their time there, these animals are pumped full of hormones, grains, and other additives that are not part of their evolutionary diet. This process is both wasteful of our planet’s valuable resources and harmful to our bodies.

    …most meat comes from the industrialized, conveyor-belt complex that has consumed the world for most of our lives. No wonder people can’t imagine herds of cattle freely roaming in pastures, or that they blame the meat industry for the problems threatening the future of humanity.

    …Pasture-raised animals, which are healthier, better for us, and better for the earth, were hardly part of the mainstream food supply chain. But taking the easy way out wasn’t an option. Not when it came to our food, our animals, and the world we inhabit. We’re standing proof that responsibly-sourced meat and regenerative agriculture are not only attainable—they’re the only way we can defeat climate change and the feedlots fueling it.


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