You may have noticed advertising in the meat aisle for grass-fed beef and cage-free chickens. Whether its popularity is due to Moms shunning pesticides for their children born and unborn or to celebrities flaunting organic diets, there is interest in avoiding some of the effects that mass meat production creates. But because organic meat does not offer a significant improvement in nutrition and the long-term health effects of consuming non-organic meat are not completely clear, is the cry for organic meat justified around the world?

So, what makes organic meat organic? The access to pasture rule gives the following guidelines for USDA certification of organic livestock:

  • Access to pasture throughout the grazing season (specific to their geographical climate)
  • Diet consisting of at least 30% dry matter intake from pasture grazed during grazing season, totaling at least 120 days.
  • No hormones to promote growth
  • No antibiotics
  • 100% organic feed
  • No mammalian or poultry by-products in feed

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