Organic meat provides numerous health advantages over non-organic meat. Not only does it taste better, but it is also free of harmful additives and preservatives. If you don't have access to organic meat from a local farmer, you may be wondering whether or not it is safe to buy it online. Buying organic meat online can be safe, provided you keep the following things in mind.
Understand what Organic Really Means
When it comes to meat, you'll see the terms "grass fed" and "organic" thrown around a lot. Many people think they are the same thing, when there is actually quite a bit of difference between the two. Organic meats are those raised according to standards set forth by the National Organic Standards Board (
NOSB). One of those requirements is that animals be given organic food.
Organic food is not necessarily grass. Some animals are fed corn, soy, and other "organic" substances that are not actually part of their natural diet. So it is possible for a meat to be labeled organic even though an animal has not been fed grass. Likewise, a "grass fed" meat may not necessarily be organic.
Grass Fed vs. Grass Finished
Grass fed is another term that often gets misinterpreted. Grass fed means an animal was fed grass for at least part of its life. As such, it can be used to label cows that were fed grass as calves and then later moved indoors where they were fed grain.
Grass finished beef on the other hand refers to animals that were fed only grass their entire lives. This results in numerous benefits, namely:
- Leaner meat with fewer calories
- More Omega 3 fatty acids
- Higher amounts of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), a substance that may reduce the risk of cancer
Organic, grass-fed and grass finished beef is the ideal choice. It means that animals were raised in their natural habitats and were allowed to graze on grass instead of being fed artificial substances. If your online retailer offers organic, grass-finished meat, this is the mark of a quality product.
Look at Certifications
The United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) certifies products as being organic. By obtaining USDA certification, farmers ensure they have met the very rigid standards set forth by the Organic Food Production Act.
Foods that are awarded the official seal are produced on farms that have undergone a very stringent inspection process.
While USDA organic
standards are very strict, they are not as rigid as those in Australia. Australian Certified Organic (
ACO) certification places additional restrictions on processing, and requires that foods have no GMOs or synthetic ingredients whatsoever. ACO is recognized as one of the highest accreditations in the world because of their very tough standards.
If you find a supplier who meets USDA standards and has also achieved ACO certification, this is very rare. Only the very best farmers are able to achieve both certifications, so you can be sure the meat you purchase will be of the very best quality.
Meeting GMO Standards
There is inherent risk associated with the genetic engineering of farm animals
. In particular, people may be more susceptible to developing allergies. Furthermore, feeding animals a diet that consists of Non-GMO crops means they have consumed fewer pesticides or other harmful chemicals during their lifetimes.
To determine if beef is truly non-GMO, look for the Non-GMO Project
label. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to "build and protect a Non-GMO food supply." They do this by certifying farms that meet their very strict criteria.
Manufacturing and Processing
Any meat you purchase online should come from a clean, sterile packing plant where animals are slaughtered as humanely as possible. If you have other food allergies, you'll also want to know whether or not your meat has come into contact with tree nuts, fish, eggs, shellfish, or other allergens. Cross contamination can occur when meat is processed on the same equipment as these other foods, even if it does not come into direct contact with them.
How are Orders Shipped?
Food safety is naturally a concern any time you are buying meat online. Ideally, products should be frozen and vacuum sealed to keep it safe and preserve freshness during transport. It should be packed in a manner that will keep it cool even if it passes through multiple climates. Look for someone who uses a reliable shipment method that will allow you to receive products within just a few days.
Consider the type of online customer service a company provides. Do they have support available to answer questions? What happens if you need to make a return or are not satisfied with your order? Look for someone with contact information that is easily available on their website.
You are probably interested in more than one type of beef, which is why you should find a supplier that offers a variety of products. Look for someone who offers numerous choices in steaks, roasts, burgers and more. That way, you will have a wide enough selection to meet all your needs, and will not have to research multiple vendors to find what you are looking for.
The Cleaver's Organic Advantage
If you are looking for a reliable online meat supplier, Cleaver's Organic is the right choice. Our beef has numerous advantages, including:
- Being 100% grass fed and grass finished
- Having USDA and ACO certification
- Achieving certification from the Non-GMO Project
- Coming from cows that have been humanely raised in pastures
- Having no antibiotics, steroids, or growth hormones added
- Being processed in an environment that is free from other allergens
All of our orders are flash frozen and vacuum sealed to ensure safety and freshness. We use UPS exclusively for better tracking and on-time delivery. When you purchase meat from us, you will always get the highest quality possible. We provide the same commitment to quality regardless of whether you are just down the street or around the world. To find out more, please contact us.