UK Meat and Dairy vs US Meat and Dairy
How do British animal products compare against their US counterparts?
What first piqued my interest was all the discussion about grass fed beef and dairy from grass fed cows, particularly 'Kerrygold' butter, which was at the time just another British butter manufacturer, but seems to have almost godly status on a lot of paleo sites.
In Northumberland (where I live) you drive around and see lots of sheep and cattle grazing on standard grassy hills- the climate seems to be right.
I would be interested to find out how significant the difference is in the fat profiles of these products, and how closely British beef mirrors the nutritional values of the same animal 'in the wild'.
A lot of the information on products seems to be based on an analysis of the US food quality/welfare standards. I believe UK standards are higher, but having searched around there isn't a great deal of information on the difference. Less corn, more grass (I think at least 50%?), but a direct comparison between, say, US/UK ground beef, eggs, sausage, butter, cheese would be superb.
Also I get through a lot of caged hens eggs (30 eggs for £3 is just too good value). Is there really any significant difference in between caged and free range? Again, this is relating to UK standards. I have already exhausted all the information on the difference between cage/free range based on US standards.
This all boils down to working out what my omega 3/6 profile is going to look like by eating UK produce, although information on other nutritional values is of course worth knowing.
Caged hen eggs worry me a lot both for the really bad treatment of the animals and also for the poor nutritional content of the eggs. I am getting organic local eggs from both the farmers market and from the health food shop (different suppliers) for £1.60 for 6. Even better value is bicycling out into the countryside where a number of smallholders put a few boxes of 6 out the front with an honesty box and a price tag of £1.50 or less.
Me too. Fortunately I live 20 metres away from a butcher that sells pastured everything and even local pastured eggs for 1.60/6 too. I'm quite lucky, although my wallet isn't.
As far as the eggs go, the nutrition is different between caged and free-range eggs. Free-range eggs have more vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin E, plus they have more omega-3 fatty acids. The difference is probably mostly due to the fact that the free-range hens get to eat bugs and worms as well as chicken feed, while the caged hens are fed whatever industrial corn-wheat-soy-byproduct feed blend is cheapest. The way that battery-raised hens are treated is also an ethical and environmental issue.
Are free-range healthier for you and better for the environment and for the chickens? Yeah; and I think that they have more flavor. Will eating eggs from battery-raised hens harm your health. No.
So, if you've got the spare change in your pockets, go for free range, because they're not that much more expensive, and the benefits are worth it. If there's a farm nearby or a farmer's market with free-range eggs, you can probably get a better deal than at the supermarket, and support your local sustainable agriculture to boot. If you're on a tight budget, conventional eggs are still good for you (and tasty).
Last edited by Cathartes; 06-07-2013 at 03:47 PM.