No one knows for sure just what the long term impact of eating foods which have been raised with the assistance of genetic engineering and synthetic pesticides will be. Some people feel it’s best not to find out the hard way so they’ve made the change to eating health foods which have been grown in an organic manner. When it comes to organic meats, there are some very strict guidelines livestock producers must adhere to. Some of the changes livestock producers have to make when they switch to organic can be expensive and time consuming. They can also trigger some unexpected changes on the farm.
Any livestock producer can raise a steer, pig, or chicken and call it natural, there’s no restrictions or legislation, yet, about raising and selling naturally raised meats, though most livestock producers work hard to adhere to a certain code when they promote their meat as natural. What producers can’t do is say they’re selling organic meat. The only way a livestock producer can stick that label on their meat is if they have taken the time to go through the certification process that was put in place by the USDA’s Federal Regulations for the National Organic Program late in the year 2000. Getting this certification takes a minimum of three years, and many producers find it actually takes longer. There’s a great deal of red tape involved in obtaining an organic certification. It’s usually a long and tedious process, and can become quite expensive.
The main thing the National Organic Program focuses on is how the livestock gets fed. It’s impossible to call meat organic, if the animal went its entire life eating nonorganic feed. The animal must have started eating this feed while the mother was still carrying it. Any steer, lamb, or pig with a mother who wasn’t raised organically, will not be considered an organic animal, and the meat will have to be sold as natural. The only way that a farmer can become a certified producer of organic meat will be if they prove the grass being used to feed their cattle was never treated with pesticides and the only fertilizer ever used was animal manure. For livestock that was fed grain, especially pork, corn used to make the grain cannot have been grown from seed sold by a genetic engineering company such as Monsato. In most cases several farms in the area have to agree to become organic in order for it to be worthwhile for the livestock producer to convert, otherwise they will have a tough time getting the feed they need, if their own farm doesn’t produce enough during the year.
In addition to making sure the only feed the animal has ever received during its lifetime was organically grown, the farmer cannot have used any artificial stimulants to hasten the animal’s growth and muscle development. This means the animal cannot have received any hormonal injections and must have reached its market weight naturally.
Organic Lifestyle Foods offers over 900 fresh, organic products including organic meat in New Jersey through their home delivery service.