Get the Most Important EcoNews Right in Your Inbox
It can be challenging to avoid foods produced from animals raised on factory farms, given how dominant factory farming has become. But it’s possible. Here are some suggestions from the Organic Consumers Association:
1. Buy direct from farms. You can connect online with farmers markets, subscription-based Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), buying clubs and farms at:
2. Shop carefully in grocery stores. Choosing certified organic is a good way to avoid the worst factory-farmed animal products in grocery stores.
But a certified organic product doesn’t guarantee that it’s 100 percent free of synthetic ingredients or non-organic ingredients, nor does it guarantee the highest level of animal welfare or the best pasture standard. You have to read the labels.
If you want to know that your food comes from farms that provide the highest level of animal welfare, you’ll want to look for organic, grassfed foods that are also:
- Animal Welfare Approved or
- Levels 4, 5 or 5+ in the Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Standards
If you want nutrient-dense food from animals that are 100 percent grass-fed, you’ll want to carefully vet organic companies’ pasture claims. There is no legal standard for “pastured.” The term implies that the animal has been raised primarily outdoors, on live pasture. But the quality of a pasture can range from land that consists of a mixture of living nutritious grasses, legumes and a variety of plant species, to land that is poorly managed with respect to soil and water quality, and consists primarily of dirt and gravel, with no living plants.
Products that are American Grassfed Certified, in addition to USDA Organic, guarantee the highest pasture standards and nutrient density.
3. Consider nutrition-per-calorie when shopping for factory farm food alternatives. Food from factory farms might be cheaper, but not when considering how much more nutrition you get from organic and grass-fed alternatives, or plant-based superfoods. Dr. Oz has put together a great list of foods ranked by nutrient density.
4. Don’t be a animal-consuming glutton. Being a healthy omnivore means eating more vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and nuts and seeking out super-foods. Animal products, produced in sustainable, high-welfare systems, can be harmless, but consider treating them like a luxury purchase.
5. Try going vegan every now and then. Going vegan is probably the only sure way to avoid food from factory farms when you eat out at restaurants. If you want to try vegan at home, there are plenty of nutrient-rich plant-based superfoods, and much evidence supports the health benefits of a vegan diet. Resources include:
Visit EcoWatch’s FACTORY FARMING page for more related news on this topic.