What Do Labels Tell Us

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For those of you who do not live near a Whole Foods, let me just explain how they sell meat – they have a labeling systems  from 1-5 on all meat – 1 is the worst and as best as I can tell is just factory meat – as the number gets higher the quality of the met and the life the animal has gets better. I usually wont buy anything under a 3 if I buy from them at all almost all of our meat comes from Heritage Foods.  Whole Foods has a  with a nonprofit called Global Animal Partnership who they work with and who decide what meat gets what grade.  I like this system because it seems to give you some sense of where your food is coming from. At least in theory. I have found chicken often labeled with 2 different grades, so one tag says 2 another says 3?  When asked the butcher says that’s a 3 it was mislabeled – then two weeks later it only has one label a 2.  The most confounding experience of late is the chicken above which is $8.20 and is rated a 2 so it has some enhanced factory situation, but surely isn’t a bird I’d want to eat – the bird below is Organic  and cost $13.07 and is rated a 2? WTF so you’d spend $4.87 more almost 5 bucks for an organic bird that if this rating system means shit was raised in the identical way as the bird that is 5 bucks cheaper? Obviously 2 is of a high enough standard to get organic certification in this country and one producer spent the money and the other did not. Still its pretty confounding to me, given we are taught and I have always believe that organic was better, but apparently when it comes to chicken and Whole Foods….not so much.

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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: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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