Saturday, February 8, 2014

Australian beef isn't as 'natural' as it once was

At ShopRite supermarkets, the whole beef tenderloin for filet mignon from Australia is free range and grass fed, and it's cheaper than the same cut raised in the United States, where most cattle are grain fed and kept confined in feedlots before slaughter.

"All natural" is the most overused and meaningless phrase, as shown by these boxes from Perdue, which sells chicken raised in crowded conditions and given harmful animal antibiotics. Perdue has the nerve to call its poultry "premium."

Editor's note: Today, I discuss free-range, grass-fed Australian beef, and a more relaxed shopping experience at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack. 


I still buy Nature's Reserve free-range, grass-fed beef from Australia for the meat eaters in my family, even though farmers down under give growth hormones to their herds.

At the ShopRite in Paramus, the whole beef tenderloin for filet mignon from Australia is on sale through today for $6.99 a pound with a store card, cheaper than the same cut raised in the United States.

But farmers who raise beef for Nature's Reserve are now using growth-promoting hormones administered by implanting a pellet in the cattle's ear.

The Web site of Meat and Livestock Australia says consumers face "no appreciable risk" from eating beef raised with growth hormones.

Here is the phone number for "squawks" about Perdue's low-quality chicken.

Limited sale

On Friday, I went to the Paramus ShopRite to buy Nature's Reserve Whole Beef Tenderloin for Filet Mignon (from Australia), which usually is sold in pieces of 5 or more pounds.

But the store didn't have any of those, only smaller pieces of around 2 pounds each, and the sale limits shoppers to one.

So, when I was leaving the store and looking over my receipt, I saw that I paid $8.99 a pound for two of the three pieces and $6.99 a pound, the sale price, for the third.

I went to customer service and argued that since the store didn't have pieces of 5 or more pounds, it should give me the sale price on all three of the smaller pieces.

It did, issuing me a credit of $8.32.

The whole tenderloin can be trimmed and cut thickly into filet mignons or thinly for marinating and grilling on the stove top for Korean-style barbecue.

The Australian beef sold by ShopRite is of far better quality than you'd encounter in Korean barbecue restaurants, which tend to use cheaper cuts.

The ShopRite also had sweet potatoes for 99 cents a pound or 79 cents a pound for 5 pounds or more. 


Perdue's latest marketing ploy is, "We believe in better chicken," but the company doesn't actually promise to raise and sell "better"  or naturally raised poultry.

After 5 p.m. on weekdays, the main aisle at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack usually is wide open.
Organic whole wheat spaghetti in Classico Tomato & Basil pasta sauce and Season-brand anchovies from Costco Wholesale. Two optional ingredients are fresh chopped garlic and diced rind of Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, also from Costco.

A liter of Chosen Foods 100% Pure Avocado Oil from Mexico was $9.89 at Costco in Hackensack. Besides being made from Haas avocados that are non-GMO verified, the oil is said to have a higher burning point than canola or extra-virgin olive oil.

Afternoon delight

I've tired of fighting the morning crowds at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack, and the panic buying before storms.

My last three trips to the warehouse store have been in the late afternoon, around 5, and they've been a pleasure.

On Thursday, I went through checkout at 5:15 p.m. with, among other items:

Pure avocado oil for salads and cooking, a new item; 2 pounds of sliced, reduced-fat Jarlsberg Lite Swiss Cheese ($8.59); a 3-pound bag of raw U.S. No. 1 almonds ($14.99); three LED 40-watt bulbs, $14.99 after an instant $5 coupon; and six 2-ounce cans of Season-brand Anchovies in pure olive oil ($6.99).

I also picked up a pair of Levi 569 jeans for $24.99 and a pair of dressy Kirkland Signature Men's Pants for $19.99. 

Snack, dinner

I roasted the salt-free almonds in the oven for 1 hour and 2o minutes at 275 degrees, and dusted them with Ground Saigon Cinnamon from Costco for snacking on their own or with cheese and fruit.

The anchovies, from Morocco, went into a large, covered pan with a 32-ounce bottle of Classico Tomato & Basil pasta sauce, a small can of tomato sauce, two cans of Moroccan sardines in tomato sauce (chopped), a few ounces of extra-virgin olive oil and red-pepper flakes.

I brought the sauce to a boil, lowered the flame and added a pound of organic whole wheat spaghetti from Whole Foods Market that had been boiled for about 10 minutes or until the pasta was al dente, cooked them together for another minute or two, mixing them well, and turned off the fire.

I ate the seafood spaghetti with grated Pecorino Romano Cheese.


  1. I almost always grab a Nature's Reserve whole tenderloin when my local ShopRite puts it on sale up here. I've gotten it as low as $4.99/lb, which is an incredible bargain given the quality. My only beef (so to speak) is that the butchering is often sloppy - there are deep gashes down the loin where the butcher just hacked it away as quickly as possible with his scimitar. Since I like to cut the center part out and make Chateaubriand, that means I have to tie it carefully to close those gashes so it doesn't cook unevenly. But otherwise, it's fantastic beef with excellent flavor, and very tender. The side lobes, trimmed and ground, make the best burgers I ever had.

    1. Thanks for the tips. Yes. It is more expensive now, even on sale, but still a great deal.


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