What’s in a Product? Read the Label

What’s in a product?  Do you think you know, so you don’t have to check?  I’ve had two instances where I’ve been shocked by the content of something I thought I knew.

Corn syrup is in just about everything.  Would you believe it’s in bratwurst?  I was running low on different meats and thought I would pick up some bratwurst from our butcher when I delivered hogs last Monday. 

I picked up a package of brats and read the label and put it back quickly.  I was trying to stay away from corn syrup before I started the meat diet.  I especially don’t want any now.

I called Carrie, one of my partners, and asked her, “Do you know Weber’s puts corn syrup in their brats?”

“Yes,” she told me.  “That’s why we came up with our own recipe.  It doesn’t need to be in there.”

I agreed.  I told her I would be over to pick up some brats soon.

The second time I was shocked was when I was negotiating a partnership with Carrie and Eric to direct-market meat together.  We discussed our production protocols and what the consumer wants.  One of the items we discussed was feeding animal products to animals.

“Never have, never will,” I confidently asserted. 

A few days later I was grinding feed and thought to look at one of the feedbag labels.  We put 40 lbs. of a vitamin/mineral premix in every ton of hog feed.  There is a kajillion ingredients on the tag and I guess I had never read all the way to the end before.  When I read the last ingredient I had to sit down.  Animal fat.

I called our feed salesman and asked him if he knew.

“Yes, it’s just a little bit.”

“Why?” I asked.

“To keep the dust down.”

To keep the dust down.  The reason JBS United puts animal fat in their feed is to make the feed less dusty.  You’ve got to be kidding me.  They are a progressive company when it comes to swine nutrition, but massively out of touch when it comes to the ultimate consumer.

I asked if we could get our feed without animal fat.  He wasn’t sure but would check for me.  Turns out JBS United has a natural product line called, Grand Prairie.  All we had to do was ask.  We switched over right away and the hogs have done just fine on the new feed.

What’s in a product?  Read the label, but do it sitting down.

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