From Mother Earth News:
You canâ€™t see it. And you canâ€™t always recognize it by reading the label. But the beef in your supermarket has gone industrial.
Before factory farming took hold in the 1960s, cattle were raised on family farms or ranches around the country. The process was elemental. Young calves were born in the spring and spent their first months suckling milk and grazing on grass. When they were weaned, they were turned out onto pastures. Some cattle were given a moderate amount of grain to enhance marbling (the fat interlaced in the muscle). The calves grew to maturity at a natural pace, reaching market weight at two to three years of age. After the animals were slaughtered, the carcasses were kept cool for a couple weeks to enhance flavor and tenderness, a traditional process called dry aging. The meat was then shipped in large cuts to meat markets. The local butcher divided it into individual cuts upon request and wrapped it in white paper and string.
This meat was free of antibiotics, added hormones, feed additives, flavor enhancers, age-delaying gases and salt-water solutions. Mad cow disease and the deadliest strain of E. coli â€” 0157:H7 â€” did not exist. People dined on rare steaks and steak tartare (raw ground beef) with little fear.
Whatâ€™s in Your Beef?
Todayâ€™s industrialized process brings cattle to slaughter weight in just one or two years. But it reduces the nutritional value of the meat, stresses the animals, increases the risk of bacterial contamination, pollutes the environment and exposes consumers to a long list of unwanted chemicals.
The beef contains traces of hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals that were never produced by any cow. That hamburger looks fresh, but it may be two weeks old and injected with gases to keep it cherry red. Take a closer look at that â€œguaranteed tender and juicyâ€