Buying meat boxes online is becoming more and more popular in the UK because of increasing quality, affordability and convenience! However, because there’s now so much choice, it’s also becoming more and more difficult to know what to buy and, perhaps most importantly, from who! Like most of us, you want to make sure the farmer you’re buying from is treating animals with care and respect, not administering them with any hormones, chemicals or preventative antibiotics, and giving them a fair chance of a long, happy and natural life! But how?
Everyone seems to have a badge, credential or guarantee on their website making some kind of big promise, so we’ve compiled a little list of the most common ones and what they mean to help you make educated decisions on the meat you’re buying and the impact it has on you, the cow and the environment.
- "Free range”: Occurs where animals that will eventually produce themeat you consume lead a lifestyle that allows them to freely roam outdoors for at least part of the day.
- “Grass fed” beef means that the cow has had a diet that is pasture based — that includes grass, silage and herbs. This is as opposed to cows reared in battery-like environments that are given grains instead to increase the rate by which they fatten them up!
- “Organic” meat is actually very strictly regulated by European Law so the trust you have in this word should be high :) It basically means that the beef has been reared eating grass that has not been treated by any man-made fertilisers, intensity of the resources used to produce it are low, and considerable respect has been paid for the animals that produce it.
- “Slow reared” refers to how the animal has been physically developed and at what pace. As the name implies, unlike those which have been administered hormones or fed heavy portions of grains and cakes on a daily basis, slow reared means the cow has physically developed naturally. This most commonly correlates with high animal welfare standards and more premium taste in the beef that the cow provides.
- “Free of preventative antibiotics” means the farmer which has reared the herd of cattle from which your beef has come does not ‘carpet bomb’ his cattle antibiotics as a means to preemptively avoid disease or illness. Rather, they focus on ensuring high degrees of animal health, safety and sanitation to avoid illness or disease all together and only ever use antibiotics in urgent cases of illness.