Choose Antibiotic-free Food

One of the easiest ways to curb the overuse of antibiotics in livestock production is to make informed and wise decisions when choosing what to eat...

As people gain more knowledge about how their food is produced and start demanding healthier options, more meat and dairy producers are electing to raise their livestock without the routine use of antibiotics. However, when you go into a supermarket, grocery store or farmers’ market how can you tell if the meat or dairy product you are purchasing were raised with or without the use of antibiotics?

The following labels can help inform you to make the choice that is right for you:

No Label

If there is no label indicating the meat is produced in any other manner, you can be sure that it is factory-raised meat, produced with the routine use of antibiotics. Many years ago, most meat came from small family farms. Today however, this is NOT the case. Large confinement facilities produce most of our meat which results in high-volume, low-quality food along with environmental pollution as well as human health issues.


Generally, natural meats and poultry do not contain antibiotics or hormones and are minimally processed. This doesn’t mean that the animal was raised in their natural environment or that it was given feed that contained no additives.


This label means that animals are allowed to roam on pasture and eat what they are naturally inclined to eat. These animals have generally not been fed antibiotics or hormones. Rather, they are allowed to grow at their normal pace and do not live in a stressful environment.


Organic means that the meat was raised without antibiotics, hormones, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and that the feeds are organically-grown (without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilizers).

This label is the only one that requires certification. Any product with an organic claim must comply with the requirements of the Organic Products Regulations. Only products with organic content of 95% may carry this label. Certified organic products must also bear the name of the certification body.

So the next time you go into a grocery store, take a look around and remember that if there is no label stating how the product was raised, it was probably raised with the use of antibiotics. Avoid factory farmed meat and choose natural, organic, or grass-fed. These choices are better for the health of your body, your community, and your environment. The only way you can be sure you are buying healthier products is to know where your meat comes from.

To find locally-grown, natural, grass-fed, or organic meat in your area, visit the Eat Well Guide or go to our Building Alternatives section. See the Greener Choices Eco Label Centre to find out more about labels. Finally, visit our Industrial vs. Family Farm section to learn more about the differences in production methods.