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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Greetings Thrifty Friends,

The job of the United States Department of Agriculture, or USDA, is to make laws related to farming and agriculture to keep our food safe.

And for the most part, they do a pretty good job, but forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes, and you can't trust the USDA to do everything for you.

Labeling, for example. You need to know what you're buying.

Do you know the difference between natural and organic?

Keep pinchin' those pennies,

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TODAY'S THRIFTY TIP: Know what you're buying.

'Organic' is probably the most generally reliable label for beef, pork, chicken and all of our produce. The USDA organic standards describe how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and which materials they may use, using methods that preserve the environment and avoid most synthetic materials, such as pesticides and antibiotics.

So when you buy 'organic beef' or 'organic chicken' you can be relatively certain that at some point there were federal inspectors making sure it was not raised using bio-products, hormones, steroids and antibiotics.

'Natural' is a different story. While the USDA has defined natural, their definition is so broad that it literally includes every single animal raised in the country, no matter what you feed it.

The term 'grass-fed' is also misleading label. Consumers see '100 percent grass-fed beef' and assume it doesn't have drugs. That's not true at all.

One of the safest and cleanest meat options is bison. So far bison production in this country is all drug-free. It used to be a specialty product, but now, you can buy bison all over the country in grocery stores and many restaurants.