Processed Meats Taking Back Seat To Organics At The Grocery Store

With thoughts of mad cows and disease-laden processed meats dancing in their heads, consumers are opting for natural, organic beef in growing numbers. Although the market for natural and organic beef amounts to less than 1 percent of America's overall beef production (roughly $500 million annually), it's growing by a phenomenal 20 percent a year. At the same time, overall beef production has plateaued from some 25 billion pounds a decade ago to 24.6 billion this year.

Due to lax USDA regs, however, almost any beef producer can label their product as a "natural" one. But the grassroots efforts by some producers have created an informal standard in which natural beef is defined as coming from cattle raised without antibiotics or growth hormones and never fed beef byproducts. Some are also pushing the USDA to make that natural label more definitive.

It's a no-brainer which kind of beef you should be eating, as grass-fed beef not only has less fat, but also has higher amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), based on a study I posted here last spring.

If you are unable to find grass-fed beef at a local grocery store near you, you may want to check out my Web store that carries a variety of delicious, healthy meats.

Yahoo News October 12, 2005

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