Americans are expected to eat a record-breaking amount of meat and poultry this year: more than 220 pounds per person, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
That’s about three pounds more per person than last year, and about 50 pounds more per person than was consumed by Americans in 1960. Another number that is on the rise, according to Maine farmers, merchants and a Consumer Reports 2015 survey, is the number of consumers who want to know that the animals they are eating were raised in an ethical manner. But, short of visiting the farms and seeing how the cows, pigs and poultry actually live, it is not always easy to know for sure. Labels can help with that, but are not a panacea. And supermarket packaging that touts words such as “local,” “family farms” and “naturally raised” do not always mean what consumers think they do.
For Clark, who also has certifications for his farm through the Non-GMO Project and Where Food Comes From, Inc., labels help prove that farmers do what they say they are doing. And that is important to him.