Raw Deal

During my recent meeting with investigative journalist Chloe Sorvino, the Forbes expert leading coverage of food, drink, and agriculture, we delved into her latest book, Raw Deal. This eye-opening exposé sheds light on the flaws within the U.S. meat industry, highlighting issues in our country’s food system and the unmet promises of alternative meat producers. Sorvino’s book extensively explores the detrimental consequences of industry consolidation, price-fixing, and a lack of transparency for consumers, making it a comprehensive examination of the meat industry, its vulnerabilities, corporate greed, and the impending impact of climate change on food production.

Furthermore, Raw Deal emphasizes the importance of American grazing, underlining that importing meat is inherently less efficient than sourcing protein locally. If American farmers and livestock producers continue to face significant economic challenges, the idea of importing sustainably produced grass-fed meat as a solution might not be viable. Many rural areas in the U.S. have already suffered due to international agribusiness, and further production shifts abroad could have severe economic consequences.

Sorvino’s book also delves into how some large alternative protein companies can potentially harm human and environmental health. Former Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario, an investor and board member of Meati, the only alt protein start-up that’s a public benefit corporation, states, “The larger plant-based food companies, you know their names, they’re using GMOs. They’re imprisoned by pesticides and chemical fertilizers. It’s unnatural. It brings on gut health issues. It doesn’t taste good. It’s highly processed.”

Antibiotics are primarily used to increase animal growth rates in industrial agriculture, and their seepage into the ground negatively impacts soil carbon storage and ecosystem health, as found in a December 2001 study by researchers at the University of Idaho. This stress caused by antibiotics undermines the soils’ capacity to handle multiple stressors, potentially diminishing ecosystem efficiency, stability, and resilience.

When it comes to deciphering meat labels, Chloe Sorvino recommends looking for the “100% grass-fed” label, signifying that the animal has exclusively consumed grass throughout its life. Grazing animals in open-range conditions naturally disperses antibiotic-free manure across the pasture, improving water absorption, soil quality, and avoiding the hazards associated with waste lagoons in industrial agriculture. Renowned animal behaviorist and author Fred Provenza, in his 2018 book Nourishment, observes that livestock, when allowed to graze naturally, select a healthy mix of forage, which imparts vital phytochemicals to their meat, ultimately yielding a superior product.

A key takeaway from Raw Deal is that meat from bison that graze on pastures, free from the confines of feedlots, stands out as one of the best commercially available options.


  • Posted on by Ynez

    It's not just a life free on the range eating grass that makes Wild Idea so special and wonderful, it's the Field Harvesting that is especially humane. Being loaded onto trucks and dragged into slaughter houses is so cruel that most humans can't even watch film about it never mind visit one. I buy Wild Idea because they are sustainable, natural and totally humane, every food animal should live and die like this, factory farming and slaughter houses go against God and Nature and stain our very souls.

  • Posted on by Charles

    Thanks for sharing. Wild Idea and others are doing a great service to the environment.

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