About Sustainable Meat & Seafood
Most of the educational information in this What's Organic? Why Local? section pertains to produce. (Our directories, event listings, and resources do encompass sustainable produce, meats, dairy, and seafood...)
Operating sustainable animal farms or fisheries is extremely complex and still remains controversial.
Problem with Certified Meat
For meats, "organic" certifiers do regulate animal feed quality, use of hormones and antibiotics, and access to open space. However, they do not take into account healthy diet, waste management (brought forth by the recent E.coli spinach outbreak), or slaughterhouses and ethics (whether animals suffer).
Ranchers also disagree whether "certified organic" meats should come from animals fed "certified organic" feed their whole lives, or whether they should just be finished with that high quality feed.
What makes an animal farm sustainable? The intuitive solution involves humane treatment of animals, natural diets (ideally on pasture), and no negative impact on the environment.
Currently, no single label encompasses these factors.
No Certified Seafood
Check out our recent Tasty Bites newsletter covering The Scoop on Seafood.
For seafood, there is still no regulated "sustainable" or "organic" certification on a state or federal level. Any seafood that claims to be "organic" is not required to meet any standards, has not been evaluated for toxic contaminants, and continues to be sold to consumers at a premium price.
Truly sustainable fisheries help preserve species populations, healthy habitats, biodiversity, and unpolluted waters. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine standards or enforce them as of yet.
There are however a few helpful guides:
- Seafood Watch Seafood Guide
- Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector
- Blue Ocean Institute's Seafood Guide
Learn More...For more about sustainable meat and seafood, read the resources listed below.
For information about sustainable produce farming and its effect on land, water, ecosystems, and economies, go back to What's Organic? Why Local?
Animal Welfare, Sustainable Table
Slaughterhouses and Processing, Sustainable Table
Waste Management, Sustainable Table
What's Troubling Our Waters, Seafood Watch