Image via WikipediaNew York-based Fairway Market has been pushing U.S. prime beef since it opened a store in Paramus this year, but its latest sales circular has a shrill tone and the text is full of exclamation marks. I guess all of this is designed to distract shoppers from knowing how the cattle were raised.
"This is what we're talking about!" and "Great food! Great prices! Only at Fairway!" are two of the large-type sentences displayed around a seasoned USDA prime porterhouse steak with grill marks, on sale Jan. 1-7 for $8.99 a pound.
Prime is the top grade assigned to beef by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (choice and select are the other grades) and signifies that this meat has the highest fat content.
But that's it. Prime can be raised conventionally, with growth hormones, antibiotics and animal by-products -- bits of dead animals -- in the feed. The circular is silent on how the cattle were raised.
The ad text says, "This is serious steakhouse steak! This ain't no supermarket steak! Could there be anything more glorious on the face of the Earth! We think not."
Well, little, old me thinks so. The cattle could be free range, rather than being confined in enormous, manure-filled feed lots (the animals are usually covered in manure when they enter, or are dragged, into the slaughterhouse, and feces often gets into ground beef). They could be grass fed, instead of being pumped full of grain, which can make them sick, and animal byproducts could be banned from their feed.
I'm sure this prime beef tastes good and $8.99 a pound is a great price, but you can find grass-fed beef on sale at Whole Foods Market, also in Paramus, for around $9.99 a pound. What do the arrogant New York owners of Fairway have to say about that?