pork

Burger King hypes up 'cage-free' pork - but what does it really mean?

Saturday, April 28, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: Burger King, cage free, pork

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(NaturalNews) The latest fast food chain to alter its image in an attempt to appeal to the health-conscious crowd is Burger King, which announced recently that it will begin using only "cage-free" chicken eggs and pork products at its restaurants. One major problem with this, though, is that the term "cage-free" is very loosely defined legally, especially as it pertains to pork products.

According to grist.com, the Washington Post, and others, Burger King has already begun working with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to begin implementing the plan. However, the complete migration to cage-free pork and eggs will not take place until 2017, despite the fact that Burger King is already calling itself "the first national chain to pledge cage-free pork and eggs."

But what is cage-free pork anyway, and how is it really any different than conventional pork? Most industrial breeding pigs that are raised for food production are kept in gestation crates, which are tiny, fenced-in enclosures that are not much larger than the pigs themselves, for their entire lives. These inhumane enclosures prevent pigs from moving around or getting any sort of exercise (http://www.humanesociety.org).

So it is definitely a positive start for Burger King to phase out gestation crate-based pork from its supply chain, which is also the intention of McDonald's, Wendy's, and several other fast food restaurants and food producers. By mutually pledging to use only cage-free pork, the entire pork industry will be forced to respond by changing its ways to meet demand.

What about the beef?

Oddly enough, pork makes up a very small portion of Burger King's overall menu offerings. With the exception of the "Country Pork Sandwich," the ham in some of its breakfast offerings, and the bacon added to several of its burgers, the vast majority of the products Burger King sells are beef products that come from cows.

So what is Burger King doing to phase out the use of beef from cows pumped with growth hormones and antibiotics? What about beef that comes from cows kept in confinement on filthy feedlots, and which are fed genetically-modified (GM) grains that destroy their digestive systems? Just like with the pigs and chickens, Burger King is doing nothing.

You see, raising a fanfare about the use of cage-free pork and eggs might sound nice -- and, admittedly, these are better than truly conventional pork and eggs -- but there are still many other problems with factory food that are not addressed. The cage-free pork and eggs Burger King will eventually use will most likely still come from factory farms where animals are pumped up on drugs and fed toxic foods.

Burger King offerings still loaded with MSG, GMOs, hydrogenated oils, and other toxic additives

Not only that, Burger King's menu items will still be loaded with monosodium glutamate, various hydrogenated oils from GM crops, chemical flavor and texture stabilizers, and various other toxic chemical additives. You can view a complete list of Burger King's menu items and their ingredients here:
http://www.bk.com

The moral of the story here is that while Burger King and its fast food counterparts talk a good game, they still have a lot further to go to make their menu offerings even close to healthy. In the meantime, we can only hope that these gradual changes will set a precedent for the entire food industry to at least begin cleaning up its act.

Sources for this article include:

http://grist.org

http://www.washingtonpost.com

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