Chemicals, pesticides, hormones and antibiotics are just a few of the nasty toxins we make our bodies ingest everyday through the consumption of certain meat and dairy products, vegetables and fruits. While awareness of the harmful chemicals used in the growing process of fruits and vegetables is increasing, many people remain unaware about the use of antibiotics and hormones used commonly in the production of grain fed, or feedlot meat. Through our various themed lunches Wickedfood Earth Country Cooking School strives to educate people about the truth of grain fed meat. Our cooking school chef has put together the following notes which we hope will broaden your understanding of grain fed meat:

  • Grain fed meat products have lower nutritional value than their pasture fed counterparts. Studies have in fact shown that feedlot meat often contains more total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and calories and less vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids than its natural grass fed counterpart.
  • You may think that steak or mince looks fresh, but quite often the colour and juiciness of the meat has been enhanced with gases, water, salt, preservatives as well as other additives.
  • Antibiotics are used in the growing of grain fed meat in order to prevent sickness caused by the unnatural feeding of excess amounts of grain. Unfortunately these drugs are stored in the animal’s system and are subsequently ingested into our systems when we eat the meat. This can in turn cause people to experience a resistance to common human antibiotics such as Tetracyclines.
  • Hormones are commonly used in the feeding of grain fed meat as they ensure faster growth and weight gain, thus the animal can be slaughtered at a younger age which allows for a faster and more effective production line all year round.

Courtesy of Wickedfood Cooking School here are a few hints for you to follow so you can avoid grain fed beef should you wish:

  • Opt for organic. The use of growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics is not allowed in certified organic meat production. Nor is feed made from animal byproducts, including meat, blood and bone meal from chickens, pigs and ruminants.
  • Go for the grass. Choose beef from cattle that were 100 percent “grass-fed” or “grass-finished.” These animals are raised on their natural diet of grass from birth to market, and are not routinely given antibiotics and hormones. Look for a comprehensive grass-fed label.
  • Look at labels. Check for phrases like “Naturally Raised,” “No Hormones Added,” “Raised Without Antibiotics” and “Never Fed Animal Byproducts.” Don’t be afraid to do a little detective work; these kinds of labels rely primarily on the integrity of the producers, rather than independent certifying agencies.
  • Poke the package. Look for thin, flexible plastic wrap that clings to the meat. Modified atmospheric packaging, or MAP, requires meat to be wrapped in thick, gas-impervious plastic with enough head room to trap the gases that keep the meat looking fresh for an unnaturally long time.
  • Deduce the date. Meat must have a “Sell by” or “Use by” date that states how long the meat is likely to remain safe to eat. But producers are not required to tell consumers when the meat was packed. Processors who use MAP avoid listing the packing date, as it would spoil the illusion of freshness. Look for meat that tells you exactly when the meat was packaged for sale.
  • Buy beef and not water. It’s easy to avoid injected beef. The large print usually boasts “Extra Tender and Moist” or “Marinated for Flavour.” But the fine print of the label reveals injections of up to 30 percent of a mysterious water-and-chemical concoction.

Wickedfood Earth Country Cooking School is one of the few cooking schools in the country aimed at the corporate, general public and hobby cook, dedicated to once-off classes and food related events, that is run on a professional basis, open 7 days a week. Since inception the school has been developed as a training facility that caters to the needs of all members of the community. Courses and classes have been designed to appeal to a cross-section of students, from domestics, housekeepers, newly-weds and kids, to experienced cooks and even chefs who want to improve and update their culinary skills. A wide variety of classes and courses are on offer, from basic to advanced kitchen skills, to pasta making, easy entertaining and ethnic cooking from around the world.