There are more reasons than ever to eat less meat.
The dangerous E. coli contamination and subsequent nationwide recall of meat products from the XL Foods meat processing plant has likely given most meat eaters reason to pause. It brings back memories of the deadly listeriosis outbreak at Maple Leaf Foods (22 people died) and is another wake-up call that the food system we take for granted isn’t as safe as we assumed.
These major public health issues have exposed a few chinks in the armour of our largely centralized food system, a system where negligence within one enormous beef processing plant can touch (and has) every community in the country.
The industrialization of food processing has severed the farm-to-table connection and we’re all worse off as a result. Sure, we have an abundance of cheap food but ironically we’re not eating as well and E. coli outbreaks are just one symptom of a system that has gone awry.
If there’s a silver lining to all of this it’s that our local beef producers are getting a bit more attention. And they should. There are a number of New Brunswick farmers who are raising livestock ethically, and sustainably. That means you can have fairly easy access to grass-fed beef that’s fresher and better quality (more nutritious too) than factory-farmed beef.
In Southern NB, look for NB-raised meat at Cochran’s Country Market and Kuinshoeve Meats in Rothesay, and Kredels Corner Market in Hampton. Contact Murray Bunnett Family Farm (506-756-8261) or Goddard Farms (506-433-2544) for details on buying their meat directly or visit their stands at the Kingston Market. You can also search out local producers online by visiting www.acornorganic.org and www.buylocalnb.ca (Both sites have a searchable database).
You will often pay more for quality. Locally-raised meat can be more expensive than regular grocery store meat from factory farms. But if eating well is important to you, there are ways to make it fit your grocery budget.
As author Michael Pollan puts it, “Spend more. Eat less.” Today the average North American eats twice as much meat as we did fifty years ago. We’re eating about 30% less beef but overall we consume way more than we need. Reduce your portion size to the recommended amount (2.5 to 3 oz. per serving for an adult) and fill out your meal with more vegetables and grains.
Choose meatless options more often. Beans and lentils are nutritional powerhouses. They’re cheap too and can be substituted for meat in all sorts of dishes.
Supporting our local food economy can make us all less vulnerable to crises in the national food system. And the added benefit, we’ll all eat much better.
|Stay safe and healthy with naturally raised, organic meat products.