Bigger, Not Better

May 13, 2010 at 12:12 am Leave a comment

Environmentalists are quick to point out the evils of large-scale, factory farms in which cattle and other livestock are raised: They’re bad for the animals and the environment. Eco buffs hardly ever bring up another serious drawback: industrial meat doesn’t taste that great.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, Mark Schatzker — author of a just published book about steak — describes the sad state of America’s bland-tasting beef. He notes that cows raised on factory farms get fat real fast, thanks to a grains-only diet, hormones, steroids, and now even muscle relaxants. Today’s steroid cows, he writes, yield 40 percent more beef than they did just 30 years ago.

Bigger, though, hasn’t meant better. “What we’ve gained in yield and efficiency, we’ve lost in flavor,” Schatzker writes.

Cows raised the old-fashioned way — on grass — produce the best beef, but it’s not always guaranteed. Even grass-fed cows need fat to taste great.

Entry filed under: US Food Policy. Tags: , , , , .

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