Here in The American Conservative, Gracy Olmstead delivers a shocker on the real meaning of organic and cage free, including a goodie from my favored Michael Pollan:
Back in 2007, Michael Pollan warned in his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma that terms such as Cage free” and “organic” could be more deceiving than you may think. He profiled several Whole Foods farmers whose products marked happy chickens and small sustainable farms. Sadly, the reality was often starkly different from the branding. “Free range” had but a fraction more space than their conventionally housed counterparts, and often-lived similarly putrid and unsavory existences. The idyllic little organic farm was often a large factory farm, treated with synthetic substances approved under USDA organic guidelines. [Read more here about The Cage-Free-Egg Sham]
It has been many years since Debbie and I shopped in a big box supermarket so prone to offering sub-par commercially grown food and miss-labeled food featuring government approved wording like natural and free range. We buy most of our food from our local farmers market where we know the growers and farmers. Real free-range chicken, by example, comes from birds that range free outside and are housed in small, airy, lean-to mobile sheds that are moved to fresh ground regularly by the farmers. The meat we buy comes from 100% pasture-raised cattle, that means the cattle are never fed corn, even in the finishing process.