Food

36 Packaged Meats That Are Actually Natural And Good For You

All the meats in this post satisfy three requirements: They contain no antibiotics, no hormones, and they come from animals that were raised humanely.

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What does it mean when meat packaging uses the word "natural"? Not much.

hormel.com / BuzzFeed

According to the USDA, the word "natural" means only that a product was "minimally processed" and "contains no artificial ingredients." It doesn't indicate anything about farming practices or the animals' welfare. It doesn't mean, for example, that the animal wasn't given growth hormones or raised with space to move around.

A recent BuzzFeed investigation reported that 11 out of 13 major food companies would not share information about where their meat comes from. Concerns over the negative health consequences of eating meat raised with antibiotics and hormones have been brought up by a number of individuals and organizations, including the World Health Organization.

This post contains a list of companies that raise their animals without antibiotics or hormones and can provide more specific information about the welfare of their animals.

1. 365 Everyday Value

Whole Foods

Whole Foods' in-house brand is stamped on everything from paper towels to bacon. When it comes to the meat products, the company lists animal welfare standards on its website, including "ensuring that animals have enough space to perform their normal behavior" and prohibiting confinement or inhibiting freedom of movement.

2. Applegate

Applegate

Applegate's offerings include deli meats, hot dogs, burgers, bacon, sausage, chicken strips, and corn dogs. Their products are either Certified Humane or meet Global Animal Partnership standards, a program meant to encourage higher welfare practices and systems that benefit farmers, consumers, retailers, and animals. Read more about it on their website.

4. Coleman Natural

colemannatural.com

The company says it never uses antibiotics or hormones and that it allows its "animals to grow at their natural pace in a comfortable, reduced-stress environment" that includes "spacious barns with plenty of room to run around." Coleman sells its poultry, pork, and prepared foods at retailers like Whole Foods, Costco, and Shaw's.

6. Grow & Behold

In addition to meeting the requirements of Kashrut, Grow and Behold also makes animal welfare a priority, saying that its livestock "are free to behave as cows (or chickens or sheep) are wont to behave." The company sells an array of products, including chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, fish and cheese. Depending on where you live, products can be either picked up or delivered.

9. Nature's Rancher

Whole Foods

Nature's Rancher sells poultry, hot dogs, burgers, pork products, bison, and quail at Whole Foods nationwide. The company explains their animal welfare standards on their website, including that they participate in the GAP program and provide their pigs with "ample space to exercise, lie, and move freely without obstruction."

11. Organic Prairie

Offering organic beef, chicken, pork, turkey, hot dogs, burgers, sausages, and bacon, Organic Prairie says it offers meat from "family farms" raised by farmers who "practice respectful, humane animal care." Read more about their practices, find a local retailer, or order online on their website.

16. 5 Knives

5-knives.com

5 Knives says they carefully source the Berkshire-Chester White pigs they use in their sausage, bacon, and ham. Their pigs are "Raised Right in Vermont," according to the company, and you can read all about what that means on their website. 5 Knives products are available all over Vermont, and in a growing list of New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts retailers, as well as online.

17. Hudson Valley Harvest*

Offering an assortment of vegetables, beef, pork, and shelf-stable goods like applesauce, Hudson Valley Harvest sells its products in stores along New York's I-87. Read about their animal welfare standards, explained for each species, on their website. (*Note: Hudson Valley Harvest says they never use antibiotics as growth enhancers but will administer medicine to sick animals.)

19. Murray's Chicken

Murray's Chickens are raised in the Pennsylvania countryside and available throughout most of the Northeast. The company is Certified Humane, Non-GMO Project Verified, and consumers can look up the individual farm their chickens came from using a number on the packaging. Products are available up and down the East coast, and stores can be located on their website.

20. Nature's Place

As Hannaford supermarkets' in-house meat brand, Nature's Place offers customers all-natural beef, poultry, and pork. In addition to certifying that the meat is antibiotic and hormone-free, the grocer says it is "equally committed to working with farms that provide the healthiest environments for their animals and have sound animal-friendly methods of production." Read more about their standards on their website.

21. Sugar Mountain Farm

sugarmtnfarm.com

Not only does Sugar Mountain Farm sell pig products, customers can also buy live pigs to raise themselves. Located in Vermont, the farm says it also keeps chickens, ducks, dogs, and geese on hand to achieve sustainability through co-grazing and natural pest control. Products are available in Vermont.

23. Florida Fresh Meat Company

floridafreshmeat.com

Florida Fresh Meat Company offers beef, pork, lamb, goat, chicken, duck and — wait for it — gator meat throughout the state. The company's website says they raise "healthy, docile animals" that "feast on a salad bar of pesticide-free 'gourmet' forage." Learn more here and find a retailer near you.

24. Publix GreenWise

Publix

Publix's GreenWise brand offers chicken and beef raised without antibiotics or hormones. The chain "source verifies" all of its beef, meaning that it keeps track of the cattle to monitor birth, feeding, handling, and living conditions. And the company says their chickens are "raised with care in clean flock houses with plenty of fresh air, space, and light."

26. McDowell Farms

mcdowell-farms.com

A family farm in Southern Ohio, McDowell has achieved a Step 3 rating with Global Animal Partnership. The farm says its pigs are "never housed in crates" and have "enhanced outdoor access." Their products can be bought in Whole Foods stores in Ohio and Kentucky.

27. American Homestead Natural Pork

meatopia.org

Working with a network of "family farms" that have been "certified with the industries highest standards for animal welfare," Homestead says its hams, chops, sausages, offal et al., come from pigs raised in "low-stress environment[s]." The company also has an organic line. You can read more about their animal welfare and sustainable farming practices here, order online here, or find them in a Whole Foods on the West coast.

29. Callicrate Beef

ranchfoodsdirect.com

Raised by rancher Mike Callicrate (a vocal advocate against industrial farming in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation), Callicrate Beef is sold through Ranch Foods Direct, which also supplies the Colorado Springs and Denver areas with beef, poultry, pork, goat, and rabbit. Callicrate says they employ "humane treatment of our animals." Online shopping is also available.

30. Country Natural Beef

Country Natural Beef is a cooperative of Western ranchers that say they are committed to healthy animals, healthy land, and healthy people. Read about their animal welfare practices, including everything from breeding to slaughter, and find a retailer or restaurant serving their products near you.

33. Llano Seco Ranch

llanoseco.com

Selling a variety of pork and beef products in California, Oregon, and Nevada stores, Llano Seco Ranch was incorporated in 1861 and calls itself "a reminder of a lost era when Californian, American, Indigenous, Mexican, and Spanish histories intersected." Though they are "leaving organic certification due in large part to the cost of organic feed," the Rancho is GAP certified to help ensure customers of animal welfare standards.

35. Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Meats

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Panorama's meat is raised by a cooperative of ranchers in California, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Colorado and its sold in California and Texas. The company says their cattle "enjoy room to roam, and graze on grass and forages at their leisure, not according to a schedule." Read more about their practices on their website.

36. Pozzi Ranch

pozziranch.net

Pozzi Ranch raises lambs on open pastures in Northern California. Consumers can buy Pozzi's lamb at Whole Foods in Northern California or, for those looking to buy large quantities, directly from Pozzi. More information about their practices and offerings is available on their website.

Looking for more? Visit Eat Wild for a list of 1300+ farms all over the country that sell directly to customers. And add your favorite truly natural brands in the comments.