Choosing healthy meat for our families is crucial, but when faced with a myriad of labelling jargon, how can we be sure that we are making the best decisions? Buying cuts of meat that are tasty and free of both hormones and antibiotics is not as easy as it sounds, but here are some tips to make things simple.
1 Know where your meat comes from. Not all meat is equal, so knowing where it is sourced can help you to understand more about the quality. Animals raised on clean pastures, with access to plentiful, fresh water and farmed in a natural way, produce meat that tastes better and is far healthier than industrially farmed alternatives.
2 Choose meat that is hormone and antibiotic-free. Intensively farmed animals require antibiotics to keep them free of diseases and are often given growth hormones to speed up their growth rates. These then transfer into the meat and are ultimately consumed by us! Sourcing meat that is naturally farmed, and antibiotic- and hormone-free ensures that your family is eating the healthiest meat possible. It’s important to look for meat that is naturally farmed and ideally 100% grass fed, as well as labelled as hormone- and antibiotic-free.
3 Understand the label jargon. Meat is graded to demonstrate quality. However, understanding the labels is not easy. For example, Farmer’s Market sells beef that is certified PRS, an Australian Standards’ grade for prime steer animals, which produce a full-flavour beef steak, with a good level of fat. The grade relates to the age of the animal, so you may also see labels such as YG, PR, SS and A Grade, which is the lowest and is usually what is offered in supermarkets. You may also see the Australian MSA grading scheme which is graded MSA 2 (which is a failure for export), MSA 3, 4 and 5, with MSA 5 being the highest grade. Most MSA meat that is a good standard for eating is graded 3, 4 or 5, so when choosing your cuts, make sure you check the grading.
4 Opt for 100% grass-fed meat. This is not a new concept to most and refers to the diet of the animals. If a label shows that the meat is from a 100% grassfed animal, that means that the animal has spent its entire life on grass, resulting in happy cows, with a lower fat content than grain-fed animals. Animals fed on grain have fattier meat, which is sometimes more tender, but definitely not as tasty. However, just because a label says ‘grass fed’ does not mean the animal has been only grass fed. Many animals are also fed grain to fatten them up. Farmer’s Market offers only 100% grass-fed meat products, and works closely with farmers who share the same views on natural farming methods.
Understanding food labelling and knowing more about the source of produce will enable you to feel confident that what you are buying is the best for your family. Find out more about Farmer’s Market beef, pork, lamb, poultry and seafood range at www.farmersmarket.com.hk.
Tags: butcher, eating, emma pike, family, farmer's market, health, healthy, meat