Organic meat sales grew at a 51% rate in North America in 2005 -- the fastest growing segment in the continent's organic food industry. In fact, organic meat sales have surged more than 150% in the last three years with such growth expected to continue as retail availability increases.

Organic Monitor (www.organicmonitor.com) attributes the surge to the discovery of BSE in the U.S. and Canada, which raised greater consumer awareness of organic production methods.

The demand surge, however, has pressured the domestic supply of organic meats, with some companies forced to import organic product to make up the shortfall. The U.S. market for organic meats, for instance, has become highly import-dependent with product coming in from Latin America, Australasia, and even Canada, Organic Monitor reports. The supply shortages are mostly affecting the organic beef and pork markets.

The organic beef market is the fastest growing segment in North America, while poultry boasts the highest sales volume, with roughly 26,000 tons of organic poultry being sold in 2005. Learn more at: www.organicmonitor.com/300244.htm. -- Joe Roybal