Know Your Farmer. Know Your Food.
Imported Beef Comes With Lots of Unknowns
What’s the big deal about Imported Beef? Are you aware that much beef on the retail market is imported? Total imports for 2013 were 2.25 billion pounds of processed beef with total live cattle imports of 2,027,990 head. The largest exporter of beef to the US is Mexico. Do you really know what you are eating when you buy non-locally grown foods?
Food scandals are a dime a dozen these days. From rat meat masquerading as lamb, to tainted milk, to exploding watermelons. Most recently Chinese news media announced that authorities had seized nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of smuggled frozen meat dating to the 1970s. Some people simply have different values than we do.
Yes, buying local is better! It boils down to trust. Do you really know how that imported beef is grown, what they feed their cattle, the cleanliness of their meat processing practices? Exactly! When you get to know the farmers who grow your food, you build relationships based on understanding and trust. You know what they value and that they put those values into practice in growing the food they provide for sale.
You might be thinking that buying high quality beef and pork locally is more expensive. That is because there is not the economy of scale found in mass feeding programs centered in the Western US. Feedlots today sometimes house over 100,000 animals and four companies now control 80 percent of the beef market. But everything is relative. Isn’t it nice that local farmers provide consumers a choice of buying local with all the benefits that come with it?