The Grassfed Primer
Consumers’ concern about the safety of their meat has risen as multiple beef recalls have made the news in recent months. However, the latest recalls making headlines are nothing new; between Jan. 1, 1994 and Nov. 31, 2007, roughly 800 separate company recalls took place – equivalent to over 300 million lbs. of meat and poultry products. Nearly all were caused by two types of bacteria: Listeria and E. coli.
At the heart of the problem is the standard industry practice of raising and processing animals at the fastest rate and the lowest cost. With over 80 percent of meat in the United States coming from mass production units, consumer fears may be justified. Fortunately, an alternative exists. Studies show that meat from grassfed cattle, such as those raised by Animal Welfare Approved farmers, is less likely to harbor dangerous bacteria. Download the Grassfed Primer for a comprehensive overview of the history and benefits of grassfed beef.
Food labels are packed with information, but some of the common claims and terms found on food labels can be very confusing – if not downright misleading. For example, a dozen eggs in a carton boasting the statement, “natural” can legally come from an industrial farm where hens are permanently confined, fed antibiotics and never see a blade of grass – much less roam and forage the way a chicken does “naturally.”
So how do you know if a food label is accurate – or even true? Fortunately some of the terms and claims used on food labels are legally defined. And in some cases the claims are independently audited (as with Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Organic and American Grassfed Association). However, in most cases the terms and claims used on food labels are not verified at all. In such cases you may wish to request further information from the supplier to ensure that the product really does meet your expectations.
To help make sense of the bewildering range of food claims and terms, Animal Welfare Approved has produced Food Labels Exposed, a comprehensive guide that provides clear and factual definitions for the most commonly used claims and terms for the production, marketing and labeling of meat, dairy, eggs and other farmed products. Download AWA’s Food Labels Exposed here.
A Breath of Fresh Air
AWA’s latest report, A Breath of Fresh Air: The truth about pasture-based livestock production and environmental sustainability, confirms once again that the most sustainable livestock production comes from pasture. Although pastured cattle might have a slower growth rate and produce more methane per pound of meat, this is more than offset by the overall benefits of the entire pasture-based production system. Download A Breath of Fresh Air here.
Lies, Damn Lies
Over the last decade, two key statistics have come to dominate the discourse on global food security. Leading scientists, politicians, and agriculture and GM industry representatives alike have frequently claimed that we the need to increase global food production by 50 percent by 2030—and for food production to double by 2050—in order to feed a population of nine billion by 2050.
Published in partnership with the UK’s Soil Association, Lies, Damn Lies: The false facts about food production investigates the sources and basis of these two key statistics, and reveals how the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisors, the US Secretary of Agriculture, the Chief Scientist of the US Department for Agriculture, Syngenta, Monsanto, and many US and UK politicians have all got their facts very wrong indeed. Download Lies, Damn Lies here.
Taking Pictures of Your Farm
Good photos are becoming increasingly important for businesses including farms. But taking good quality shots on your farm–particularly of animals–is far from easy.
Written with AWA’s go-to photographer, Mike Suarez of Gorilla Byte Media, our new Taking Pictures of Your Farm booklet will help you take better photos on your farm for use in social media and other promotional material. Download Taking Pictures of Your Farm here.
AWA Guide to Using Social Media
Social media is an umbrella term used to describe a number of new online tools that allow people to stay in touch with each other and share information and ideas through their computers and, increasingly, smartphones and tablets. But while social media is great for staying in touch with friends and family, it also provides businesses of all shapes and sizes with a fantastic opportunity to communicate directly with new and existing customers-and at minimal cost! The AWA Guide to Using Social Media is designed to help farmers of all ages and abilities get connected with their customers and other farms and businesses by using the two most widely used social media platforms: Facebook and Twitter. Download AWA Guide to Using Social Media here.