QUESTIONS ABOUT FARM AND FOOD
Since Pataskala Meats opened we have fielded many questions from the general public in regard to farming practices and food safety and taste, so we would like to address these concerns to educate our customers about our meat products. Many times these subjects are used in the same conversation and intertwined, but they need to be separate discussion items as shown below.
According to USDA regulations, it is illegal for Pataskala Meats to provide any meat that has antibiotic residue at the time of harvest. Antibiotics are used on the farm as needed when animals are young and weak, or when they have a sickness that can be cured using them. Antibiotics are used on animals the same way they are used on people, only to promote the welfare and health of the animals. Antibiotics have a withdrawal period that states how long it takes for the drug to be expelled from the animals system. Once the antibiotic is expelled from an animal, it is safe to harvest with no known safety concerns.
Growth hormones are used mostly on large factory farms to increase the rate of gain of animals. Sometimes, they can be used on dairy cows to promote larger milk volumes. Small family farms usually do not spend the time or the money on these products or have the data available to know how to use them properly. The FDA has approved some growth hormone products, and others are used illegally. It is almost impossible to prove that an animal has been subjected to growth hormones. Pataskala Meats sources as much local meat as possible from small local farmers, and can also guarantee that anything that comes from our farm is hormone-free.
This has been a hot topic in our retail store as the general public has been told through advertising that grass fed animals are healthier to eat and taste better. There are several problems with grass fed products:
- The number 1 problem is that there is currently no USDA specification to indicate whether an animal can be classified as “grass fed”. What does this mean, it was fed grass once? It was raised entirely on grass or hay? It was given a combination of grass and grain? Without a specific definition farmers are using the grass fed title loosely and the public has no idea what product they are receiving.
- Animals fed primarily grass or hay have much less flavor than grain fed animals, the fat and marbling found in beef steaks is from grain not grass, so the quality of the product is lower and the cost is higher.
- Hay and grass is a crop, just like corn and soybeans. Crops need maintained and eradicated of weeds to remain pure. High protein grasses/hay would have to be used in the winter time if grains are not used, as animals get cold in Ohio and have to maintain energy from food to stay warm and maintain weight. Maintaining large areas of grass crops sometimes requires the use of pesticides just like grain crops, to eradicate weeds.
- For all of these reasons, Pataskala Meats does not endorse or sell any products considered 100% grass fed. Our farm animals are fed healthy combinations of grass and grain, animals eat pasture grass in the summer and hay in the winter with grains. No pesticides are used on our hay or grass at the farm.
Our customers have asked for a wider variety of products including fish, chicken, bison, kobe beef, sausages, etc. Pataskala Meats is still a new business, but we are working daily to improve the variety of products offered. The more customers we can get, the higher the volume of products we can source that will sell. As we gain a customer base we will continue to work to provide as many products as we can, including cooked food products, so we ask our customers to check us out regularly and see our progress and request products that you want so we know how to prioritize our growth. We love and appreciate our weekly customers as they are the cornerstone of our business.