3 Tips on Choosing Safe Meat: Environment, Feed, and the Cooking Method

3 Tips on Choosing Safe Meat: Environment, Feed, and Cooking Method

Cattle Raised in Nature is Relatively Safe

Cattle Raised in Nature

Is there anything you keep in mind when choosing meat? Of course taste is vital, but where the cattle was produced and the safety of the meat are also important for many. We will be introducing the key factors when choosing safe meat so that you can enjoy meat worry free.

  1. Cattle Health

    When choosing safe meat, the important key is that the cattle itself is healthy for obvoious reasons. At farms, it's important to know that inspections by sanitary facilities and hygiene guidance are carried out. Next it’s important how the cattle was raised. The stress level is different when cattle are raised in a small shed or in a spacious ranch. The exercise level differs as well so the percentage of muscle and fat varies. This is the same thing for us human beings. People who exercise and people who don’t exercise are different. Lastly, it’s the food that matters to build a healthy body for us human beings. This also applies for cattle as well. What kind of diet the cattle consumed is also an important point for meat safety.

Key Points on Purchasing Safe Meat at Grocery Stores

Women buying meat at grocery

Feed is very important to raise a healthy and safe to eat cattle, but it will take a large amount of time and expenses will be high if farms actually try to raise all cattle with safety in mind. Distribution will be reduced, the value of meat will increase steadily, and it may be difficult to even eat the meat at home in the future. Because of these concerns, it’s considered difficult to raise all cattle with a high level of safety in mind. Let's look at examples of cattle raised with high-risk feeds in order to choose safe meat.

  1. No Fattening Hormones

    Using hormones on cattle speeds up the growth and causes rapid weight gain. In Japan, even the use of natural hormones is prohibited, but using fattening hormones is allowed in some other countries. It’s said that the hormones may increase the chance of breast cancer for humans but research is still being conducted. Selling and importing meat using growth-promoting hormones that exceed the standard level is prohibited in Japan. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell if the imported meat contains hormones or not so if you choose meat produced in Japan, you wouldn’t need to worry about the extra hormones!
  2. Genetically Modified Food-free

    Genetically modified food is food that has had changes introduced to its DNA using the methods of genetic engineering. This includes resistance to pathogens and herbicides and for better nutrient profiles.
    Genetically modified foods are not illegal in Japan, however they are not commercially planted mainly because the general public is skeptical about its safety. But, due to the issue of food self-sufficiency, even if it is a food is processed in Japan, there are cases where raw materials are imported from other countries, so sometimes we may be consuming genetically modified food without even knowing it. In research, it was found that genetically modified food can cause allergic reactions to some people and further development was discontinued. If we consume meat that previously ate genetically modified feed, we may be affected as well.
  3. Antibiotic-free

    Antibiotics are used as a treatment when the cattle becomes sick or to prevent certain diseases. However, when antibiotics are used for cattle, it also enters the human body when the meat is consumed. There is a possibility that antibiotics will not work sufficiently for treatment when we actually need it. Therefore, choosing antibiotic-free meat a key point.

Transforming Meat into Safe Meat by Cooking and Eating Methods

Cooking methods

We’ve introduced the key points on purchasing safe meat, but we may think that delicious and safe meat is expensive. Now we’ll be suggesting some methods to easily transform meat bought at supermarkets into a safe one.

  1. Trimming the Fat Completely

    The fat contains many saturated fatty acids, and ingesting too much fat may cause lifestyle diseases and obesity. Also, saturated fatty acids are easily soluble in oil, so there is a high possibility that fatty acids also may contain unnecessary substances for the body. Therefore, when purchasing meat, it’s better to choose meat with little fatty part or firmly remove any fat when cooking.
  2. Carefully Skimming the “Scum”

    Foam rising to the surface of a liquid is called a “scum”. Scum includes amino acids and impurities, which could include toxins such as oxalic acid that causes calculus and thiaminase of which decompose vitamin B1. Scum is edible but by carefully skimming it, visually the soup is better and the taste is gentler. Therefore, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the taste and safety of cooking depends on how carefully the scum is skimmed.
  3. Chewing Well when Eating

    The enzyme called amylase in saliva of humans helps the process of digestion. By chewing firmly, the amount of amylase increases and nutrients are digested better. Also, eating sour food such as Umeboshi (pickled Japanese sour plum) or lemon will help to digest better since more saliva will be produced.

By choosing safe meat, we can protect ourselves from health issues. Cheap and convenient meat can be good but knowing where and how the cattle was raised can really be a deal breaker when choosing what to eat for dinner!

Writer:
Yumi Katamura
Profile:
Registered dietitian

10 years’ experience as a registered dietitian at a general hospital. Holds classes and also writes and supervises internet contents about health. Yumi is passionate about sharing her knowledge from kids to elders about the importance of nutrients in food.

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