Useful and sharable resources for animal-based foods... that aren't scary. LEARN MORE.

Uncover the USDA-Approved Natural Alternatives to Chemicals on Meat

written by

Marie Reedell

posted on

February 2, 2024


There's a myth in the natural food community that, if meat is certified USDA, it's covered in yucky chemicals. Sure, that's likely true if you're buying from the supermarket or from any mega-company that prioritizes profit over ethics. But, when you buy from small farmers and small businesses, this myth is not necessarily true. 

First, let's address why chemicals are being put on meat at all. When beef or pork is hung to age or when chickens are put in an ice bath to cool them down (all standard practices for meat), the USDA requires that an antimicrobial is used to help prevent the spread of disease. This is required. But, the type of antimicrobial used is the processor's choice. The USDA has a hefty list of "approved substances", and they range from chlorine to acids to vinegars.

Second, let's address this question: Why? Why are meat processors choosing lab-produced chemicals that contain toxins? I think there are a few potential reasons:

  • It's easy to get approved.
  • It's a way to minimize liability from food-borne illnesses.
  • It's cheap and therefore more profitable (most of those yucky chemicals are derived from subsidized corn or soy).

But, no matter the reason, synthetic chemicals are NOT required. They're optional. There‚Äôs a way to be USDA and be natural at the same time.

Miller's Bio Farm is blessed to live in a naturally minded area of the country: Lancaster County. It's quite unique, and I wish farmers everywhere had access to our feed suppliers, animal breeders, processors, etc. We are all working together towards removing toxins and doing things like nature intended... even if certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, USDA, and other government agencies.

Our 100% grass-fed beef and woodland pork are washed with organic apple cider vinegar. That's right - ACV is an approved USDA antimicrobial! And, our pastured chicken is air chilled, which means it's washed in nothing at all. And, it's all 100% approved by the USDA.

This is a stark difference from more mainstream processors that are, 99% of the time, using chlorine or citric & lactic acids to wash their meat. Ugh. I don't want that stuff on my food, do you?

The moral of the story is: you can be natural AND be in the system. It's not necessarily one or the other. At Miller's Bio Farm, we are trying to affect change from within the system. It's possible, and I hope you'll support us! And I hope that more food producers around the country stand up and take action, too!

What do you think about natural food within the system we live in? Do you think it's possible? I'd love to hear from you. Comment below (no account required - start typing for the guest option to appear) or contact us.

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