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Green Choices: Meat & Poultry Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to buying meat and poultry, the greener choices are not always obvious.

Meat and poultry labels are confusing these days. What does “Natural” on that package of chicken breast mean? Why does “Certified Organic” cost so much? What’s a meat-eater to do? Our green guide to meat and poultry will help you make choices that are best for you.

Grass-Fed and -Finished (beef, lamb, bison)

Grass FedGrass-fed animals eat nothing but their mother’s milk, fresh grass and cut hay for their entire lives—versus animals raised conventionally, which graze until they reach a certain weight, then are sent to feedlots, where they are “finished” on grain diets until they reach market size. Health benefits: Some research suggests that grass-fed meats are richer in omega-3 fats and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than those raised on grains. Eco-benefits: Grass-fed-meat farms voluntarily certified by the American Grassfed Association (AGA, americangrassfed.org) or the USDA do not use antibiotics (which can end up in water systems) or grains (which require land to grow them and fuel to transport). Not all grass-fed beef is organic.

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