|You are here: Column Archives: Nutrition: Grass Fed|
E. Coli? Not with Grass Fed Beef
USDA establishes labeling standards
For us meat eaters, a couple of important things happened in September of 2007. One is new and one is a continued series of events. First, the USDA finally published guidelines for the labeling of beef as “grass fed.” The other happening was the added recall of a few more tons of E. coli-poisoned beef. It seems like every week or two, we read of more people dying from unsafe beef products in our stores. Our meat supply should be safe but with constant recalls and deaths, how can the consumer feel confident? The USDA ruling will help lead the way to grass fed and safety.
There are two things you should know about E. coli and meat safety: where E. coli comes from and why grass fed beef is safer (and better in many other ways, too*).
History of a bug
E. coli is our friend. In most cases it’s a benevolent bacterium that lives in our gut and elsewhere, with other bacteria by the billions. They all form the intestinal flora that is important to good health. Cows and other animals have regular, benevolent E. coli in the gut also.
Better and safer
Aren’t all cows fed grass sometime in their life? Usually. An industrial cow does get a little time eating mother’s milk, then a little time eating grass, then a huge portion of its weight and life is the result of standing in mud or on concrete, eating questionable grain-based and custom-designed “cow pellets,” the ingredients of which you do not want to know. But technically, any cow might eat grass at some time.
Enter the USDA
The USDA is not the ideal model for food safety monitoring. Regulations usually do two things: they acknowledge there is a demand for a particular type of product and they create opportunity for big business to skirt the rules and exploit loopholes. That’s what happened with the term “organic.” But that doesn’t dilute the importance of the terms.
To be truly informed and know that you are getting safe meat, know your farmer. Who do you want to trust; the USDA or your local friend? The track record speaks for itself. For almost two years now, our household has purchased beef, chicken, pork, turkeys and eggs exclusively from four or five local sources*. I’ve never had better tasting or safer food. And it’s been easy and fun.
home directory feature column column archives news hot links calendar
Michael Braunstein is Executive Director of Heartland Healing and certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners in clinical hypnotherapy. He graduated from the Los Angeles Hypnotism Training Institute and was an instructor at the UCLA Extension University for 11 years.
Heartland Healing is devoted to the examination of various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information and not as medical advice. It is not meant as an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or by Heartland Healing Center, Inc.