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Meat on the mind

(article, Culinate staff)

As Jonathan Bloom noted four years ago on Culinate, you can buy eggs with individual expiration dates stamped on them. But as Twilight Greenaway reported back in August for Take Part, the European Union goes us a few better, with [www.takepart.com/article/2013/08/20/what-if-food-labels-served-warning-signs "eggshell stamps" newpage=true] declaring not just expiration but provenance and quality. 

The labels, Greenaway wrote, have encouraged shoppers to buy the better eggs, leaving those from caged hens sitting on store shelves.

"We’re probably not likely to see labels reading 'cows raised on a crowded feedlot' on burger labels any time soon," mused Greenaway. "But can you imagine what that kind of step might do to boost grass-fed beef production, and bring down overall meat consumption, for that matter?"

Last month, Greenaway detailed the increasing use of the Non-GMO Project label on meat. "On the surface, some might argue that organic brands don’t technically need a second label, since the National Organic Standards do not allow genetically engineered ingredients in any food that is certified organic," Greenaway explained on Civil Eats. "But the Non-GMO Project (and the resulting label) came about because not all organic products are tested for genetic contamination. The Non-GMO Project requires 'ongoing testing of all at-risk ingredients, or any ingredient being grown commercially in GMO form.'"

In other meaty news, the Whole Foods grocery chain has an online magazine, titled Dark Rye, dedicated to exploring "the realms of food, health, sustainability, design, tech and social enterprise." Issue 13, which came out this past summer, was devoted to the topic of meat, with articles, videos, and recipes about ethical hunting and animal husbandry — and about the choice to skip meat altogether in favor of, say, seitan.

Finally, for those of you who still like to play with your food, take a look at the 2008 show put together by the irreverent artist Banksy, in which chicken nuggets were arranged in whimsical dioramas. (Banksy has rather specialized in meat over the years, in fact.) But don't even think about eating them; as a new report in the The American Journal of Medicine points out, chicken nuggets are, at best, only 50 percent chicken meat. "The rest? Fat, blood vessels, nerve, connective tissue and ground bone — the latter, by the way, is stuff that usually ends up in dog food."