Where's The Beef? (aired 4/10/04)

With the discovery of mad cow disease in the United States, consumers want the safest choice when they buy beef. Consumer Reports says there are only two types that offer you any real assurance against mad cow, but they're not easy to find.

The Bremer family eats a lot of hamburgers. Because of the recent mad cow scare, the Bremers now look for organic beef for their burgers.

"We've looked for it, but it's not really available in supermarkets. You have to go find a specialty shop in order to find it. It makes it a little difficult."

Consumer Reports Urvashi Rangan (PRON: err-VAH-shee RANG-un) is a food labels expert. She says there are only two types of beef that offer a reasonable assurance of safety. One is "organic."

"Organic describes an environmentally-friendly farming production method that bans animal by-products in feed."

And since organic labeling is enforced by the USDA it's considered safe for consumers. There's a second label to look for — "biodynamic."

"It's independently verified and also prohibits the use of animal
by-products in animal feed. It's harder to find. You may not find it in
As for organic beef, Consumer Reports says a Web site called eatwellguide.org can help you find stores that offer it.

Start by typing in your zip code. Then specify organic beef. You'll get a list of stores that sell it — either in your area or online.

That's good news for the Bremers — since burgers are a big hit at their dinner table.

Again, the Web site that can help you find organic beef is at www.eatwellguide.org.

Consumer Reports underscores that cattle raised for “organic” and “biodynamic” beef is not fed animal by-products — a source of mad cow. Beef labeled “natural”, “kosher” or “free-range” can be fed animal by-products so these labels offer no protection against mad cow. If you’d like to read more about these different labels and what they mean, you can go to Consumer Reports ecolabels.org.

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