Organic meat is sold as a tastier, healthier,
and more ethical alternative, but what are the facts ?
Science shows us that animals that have had enough exercise, have been well fed, and spared undue stress produce meat that has lots of well-textured muscle and
flavoursome fat. Organic-status meat should help guarantee all of these things, however, several other factors come into play that mean it’s important to check the provenance of your meat (mentioned below).
What we know about organic meat
Buying organic status means you can be happy that a key set of standards has been met in the rearing of an animal.
• Organically reared animals have been well looked after, with outdoor access and a stress-free existence, so tend to be healthier overall and should have good-quality meat.
• Animals eat organic feed with no artificial additives, however, this has little bearing on the quality of meat.
• Animals reared organically aren’t given antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones, although this is already the case for all cattle in many countries.
• Organic farmers are encouraged to look after the environment the animals are reared in.
• Organic stock are more likely to have been slaughtered humanely, which produces better-quality meat. If an animal is stressed pre-slaughter, adrenaline levels surge,
burning energy and producing dry, firm, dark meat.
Factors beyond organic :
There are some factors beyond whether or not an animal has been raised organically that can affect meat quality. Being fed grass or grain has more impact on flavour. Grain-fed muscle has more flavourful fat, is less acidic, and contains pleasant-tasting substances called lactones, while grass-fed cows’ meat can have a bitter, grassy flavour.
If meat isn’t stored or transported with care, this affects quality, High demand for organic means it can travel far and be stored for a long time. A non-organic farm rearing humanely treated animals slaughtered and sold locally is likely to be superior.