Nature’s Perfect Package

In this months Harper’s Magazine James McWilliams does a wonderful job at tearing away the veil of comfort that concerned consumers may get from the so-called “humane” labels that now come with so much of the meat and poultry we by.

The sub-title to the article is: labeling our way to a clear conscience.

When Whole Foods took on the Global Animal Partnership as their labeling method of choose I thought it was a good thing, even though I found it frustrating that the higher (most human) numbers where very poorly represented – it was easy to buy level 2 chicken but level 5 chicken was nowhere to be found.  In all the time since they started using this labeling system the highest level poultry I have seen is 4.

What really surprised me is that Organic chicken only rates a level 2 rating.

This article explains this and  many more things about the various rating systems, what they mean and why we shouldn’t be lulled into any sense of comfort by them.

Again, the conclusion I draw from this is you are always better to buy from a farmer,  when you can, because at the very least with a farmer you can ask questions directly to her/him and voice any concerns you might have which in turn can be answered directly.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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