Costco Meats and Chicken


SherryZ

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While shopping at Costco last week, I noticed some of their beef selections said "organic." I should have taken a picture of the label to post. Also they have chicken parts now that say organic (of course) and other organic type buzz words which also included "vegetarian fed." I didn't buy any as I wasn't sure if these are acceptable. Vegetarian fed could refer to diferent grains as opposed to grass fed. Is that a problem? I have been buying all my meats and chickens at Whole Foods (which are delicious) but if Costco's are acceptable I could save a little cash. Any comments on these choices? Is more info needed? Thanks, SherryZ

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I think the guidelines say the best meat you can afford. We buy most of ours at Costco or Trader Joe's (ground beef and chicken at Costco, steaks or other cuts at TJ's). If it says "vegetarian fed" on chicken, that usually means it's grain fed, because chickens are kind of gross animals and will eat literally anything -- that means the only way they can claim a chicken is totally vegetarian fed is if it's completely grain fed.

My understanding is that grass fed organic is ideal. There are also some cases where "natural" (rather than organic) is pretty good; I think Trader Joe's standards for natural beef are super high, for example, but not necessarily organic.Also, sometimes smaller producers can't afford the organic certification, so they may be using organic practices but not be permitted to label their food as such because they haven't gone through the (rather costly) certification process.

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You can get really healthy eating Costo beef and chicken, so it is fine to take advantage of the cost savings.

The cheaper cost is partly related to the business plan of Costco and partly related to the meat being produced by the factory-farming system. I mention that because the higher cost at Whole Foods does not mean Whole Foods makes a meaningfully bigger profit. Real grass-fed, organic food is more expensive to raise than other approaches and so stores have to charge more for it.

I think the health benefits of the real, grass-fed stuff is meaningful in comparison to the conventionally raised stuff, but the scientific community is not universally convinced. If the difference were huge, scientists would be able to measure it and there would be no controversy. As things are, the difference is not obvious.

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As for the vegetarian chicken - if it's eggs especially, don't get them! Chickens are omnivores and bugs are supposed to be a pretty big part of their diet for protein and calcium/chitin for egg shells. I wonder how they're able to certify that no bugs got into the chicken shacks and were eaten...

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