What is Organic Meat?

Bombarded by meaty news articles on Mad Cow Disease one day and links to cancer caused by residual pesticides found in meat another day, on the back of many of our minds is the thought of quitting meat cold turkeyOf course, the next time you sink your teeth into a medium rare Rib Eye perfectly grilled in your backyard, that thought quickly dissipates.   So, how do we get our conscious and taste buds to come to a truce?  The answer lies in the field of certified organic meats.

“Certified Organic Meat” is the result of an animal grown according to principals that are at least as beneficial as those set out in the Standard for Organic Agriculture (CAN/CGSB-32.310) ratified by the Standards Council of Canada.  A grower of organic animals or agriculture must be certified by one of a limited number of certifying bodies that have been accredited by the Standards Council of Canada. 

To say confusion exists among consumers as to what “organic” means is an understatement.  A big thanks goes to those brilliant marketers who have extracted almost every English word that connotes organic – natural, naturally raised, free range, hormone-free and additive-free – each meaning nothing specific and far from being “certified organic”.   Organic meat comes from an animal that has not been fed anything grown with toxic or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or fumigants; has not been given any kind of growth hormone, antibiotic or genetically engineered product; has been conceived by organically raised animals; and has been butchered and processed following organic regulations.

Organically raised animals are provided with living conditions and stocking rates appropriate to their behavioral requirements, high-quality diet of organically-produced feed, and ethical animal husbandry that facilitates low stress, promotes good health, and prevents disease. With organic farming, prevention of maladies is emphasized over treatment of them. When a disease or infection does strike an animal, it is nursed back to health without the use of chemical treatments, but with a little tender loving care.

To summarize, the certified organic meat that The Healthy Butcher sells means:

  • Livestock must be fed 100% organic food;
  • No use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers in the growing of the animals’ feed;
  • No use of genetically modified organisms;
  • No use of growth hormones;
  • No use of drugs (such as antibiotics);
  • No use of animal by-products for feed;
  • Treating animals humanely (i.e. they have outside access at all times);
  • Inspections by an independent certification body occur on a regular basis;
  • All certified products records are kept for 5 years;
  • Strict Canadian and International standards are met.


The Standard for Organic Agriculture (CAN/CGSB-32.310) ratified by the Standards Council of Canada are available at: http://www.pwgsc.gc.ca/cgsb/032_310/standard-e.html.

A list of organic certification bodies in Ontario who have been accredited by the Standards Council of Canada is available at: 





Sources Used:



The Eco-Foods Guide: What’s Good For the Earth is Good For You, Cynthia Barstow, 2002, New Society Publishers (Gabriola Island, BC),  This is a wonderfully written Canadian book and a source of much information used on this page; if you’re interested in reading more on ecological eating, pickup a copy for yourself.

Wendy Gordon, M.S. “Giving Life:  The Health and Environmental Benefits of Organic foods”




©2014 The Healthy Butcher Inc., Toronto.