Naturally Raised Meat Standard

On November 28, 2007, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service released for public comment a proposed voluntary standard for meat products to be marketed as “naturally raised.” Public comments on this proposed standard are due by January 28, 2008.

In brief, the proposed standard as written gives us great concern. Under this standard, to qualify for a USDA “naturally raised” label the livestock must not be administered antibiotics and growth hormones. That is good, but that is all the standard addresses. It fails to address other production practices that one associates with “naturally raised,” for example, ensuring the animals are raised on pasture.

The standard as proposed will enable large-scale feedlots that don’t use antibiotics or hormones to qualify for a USDA label that says their product is “naturally raised.” We have seen some of the feedlots (have some right here in our home state) that would fit this category, and we have to say, there isn’t anything natural about that.

To view the proposed standard online go to: And be sure to watch our website for more information.

Contact: Traci Bruckner for more information, by email at or by phone at 402.687.2103 x 1016.

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