A list of companies who go beyond the government's standards for natural meats.
Shopping for natural meat can be confusing because the USDA’s definition of “natural” is vague, requiring only that the meat
is minimally processed and free of artificial or synthetic ingredients. For now, your best clue is the USDA Organic seal,
which guarantees the animals have been fed organically grown feed and forage, with no synthetic hormones. Or shop by brand
name; our short list includes companies who stake their reputations on going beyond those minimum standards.
Coleman Natural Foods
Products: Beef, bison, chicken, lamb, pork, sausage. Headquartered in Golden, Colorado, Coleman bills itself as “the largest
all-natural meat company in the United States.” First to have meat certified all-natural by the USDA, it goes beyond this by
embracing sound animal welfare practices and emphasizing sustainable agriculture and land stewardship.
Product: Beef. This company raises certified organic cattle on certified organic pasture, without antibiotics or growth
hormones. Cattle are fed only certified organic grains and grasses, have unrestricted outdoor access and receive humane
Laura’s Lean Beef
Product: Beef. Laura’s eschews hormones and antibiotics and raises naturally leaner breeds of cattle, such as Limousin and
Charolais. The company is also committed to sustainable agriculture.
Maverick Ranch Natural Meats
Products: Beef, buffalo, chicken, lamb, pork, sausage, bacon. Founder Roy Moore says, “As a ranching family, we remain
dedicated to our system of raising healthy animals the old-fashioned way.” Maverick Ranch supplies beef, buffalo and pork to
the U.S. Olympic Training Centers.
Products: Beef, lamb, pork.
Organic Prairie www.organicvalley.coop
Products: Beef, poultry, pork. A subsidiary of the large farmer-owned cooperative Organic Valley, Organic Prairie touts meats
produced “by family farmers in harmony with nature without antibiotics, synthetic hormones or pesticides” and emphasizes
humane treatment of animals.
U.S. Wellness Meats
Products: Beef, chicken, lamb. These meats have been hailed by food writers and chefs. The company states its vision for
“beef cattle to be raised in their natural environment and finished grazing lush, green pasture forage so that our families
and consumers can reap the benefits of consuming highly nutritious, health-enhancing beef.”
Read more about The Niman Ranch from our April/May 2006 issue.