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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.

 

Natural (beef, pork, lamb, poultry)

No additives or preservatives were introduced after the meat or poultry was processed. (Certain sodium-based broths can be added to poultry and pork labeled “natural.”) This term does not ensure organic feed. The term “natural” is often confused with “naturally raised,” a voluntary claim established by the USDA that means the animals were not given antibiotics and/or growth hormones.

Health benefits: Natural meats have no nitrites or nitrates, preservatives that have been linked in some children and women to various types of cancer.

Eco-benefits: “Natural” has no substantial environmental benefit.

Is it regulated? It is a term defined by the USDA but not regulated.

Keep in mind: “Natural” alone says nothing about how an animal was raised.

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