Chicago Meat Authority has increased its organics offerings to include steak and beef. CMA has been certified by the Midwest Organic Services Association as a handler under the USDA National Organic Program. As a handler, CMA is required to have a program in place to ensure that organic products remain pure and are not cross-contacted with non-organic products or prohibited substances.
“We have expanded our certified organic program to include beef items such as premium steaks, roasts and grinds,” said Lisa Rabe, director of technical assurance at CMA. “We were previously certified for organic pork products and now are able to offer beef to our customers who want to offer a line of organic products. Our aim is to offer excellent options to meet all of our customers’ needs today and in the future, including clean labels, grass-fed and grass-finished options.”
As a certified handler, CMA stores organic raw material and finished products separately from non-organic products in keeping with the company’s rigorous quality control procedures. All procedures and processes are monitored and verified to ensure that all requirements are followed.
CMA has been certified to produce organic beef, pork butts and picnics. Products are certified USDA organic when they are produced using exclusively organic methods containing only organic ingredients. The organic requirements include the collection of information on the history of every animal including the breed history, veterinary care and feed plus the animals must be raised on certified organic land that is not subject to most synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, sewage sludge or genetic engineering for at least three years and animals must have outdoor access.
Organic farms tend to be smaller than so-called factory farms and farmers and ranchers have to manage their herds for longer times before slaughter because they do not use synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics. While all of these factors add to the cost of each product produced, consumers have shown a willingness to pay a premium for food that is grown and produced according to the USDA National Organic Program.
Since 1990, MOSA says the organic food industry has grown by more than 20% per year. In 2014, organic sales reached $39 billion and represented 5% of all food sold in the United States. Americans increasingly are showing more of an awareness and interest in adding organic food to their diets. Approximately 70% buy organic food occasionally and nearly 25% buy some organic food every week.
Chicago Meat Authority began in 1990, encompasses 80,000 square feet and produces sales of $125 million per year. The company sells to the hotel, restaurant and institutional markets in addition to meat purveyors and multi-unit regional and national chains. CMA also specializes in custom cuts for further processors including grinding operations, deli manufacturers and the meat snacks market. The company employs 200 specialty butchers who customize meat for selective chefs.
Source: Chicago Meat Authority