Valuable Information On Non-GMO Feed & Meat.

Here is a list of questions we’re frequently asked about our Non-GMO meats, honey, eggs, and animal feed and the answers we provide.

A GMO is a genetically modified organism. Scientists use genetic engineering to alter the DNA of plants to create genetically modified organisms. These organisms are frequently designed to withstand disease, improve crop yields and reduce resistance to herbicides. Genetically modified products were introduced in the early 1990s. No long-term studies have been published analyzing the side effects on humans, so there is much we don’t know about GMOs and human health. One thing we do know is that genetic modification is frequently used to create crops and plants resistant to herbicides and pesticides, like Roundup. Recent studies have shown that Roundup is toxic to long-term soil health and is thought to contribute to the decline in bee populations worldwide. The environmental and ecological impact is significant, and just one of the many reasons we choose to mill and feed our animals only Non-GMO products.

A farm must satisfy numerous FDA requirements to be considered organic. All feed that an animal eats and pastures where it grazes must be 100% organic. Organic farmers cannot use growth-promoting hormones or pesticides in their processes. Becoming an organic farm and maintaining those standards is incredibly expensive, which increases prices to the end consumer. The terminology “all-natural” is not regulated by the FDA. At Sunrise Farms, we use this terminology to promote the level of care we take when producing meat, eggs, honey, and animal feed. We develop pristine, healthy pasture for our animals to graze, mill feed from only the finest, cleanest Non-GMO grain, and do not use any preventative antibiotics on our animals. To us, the term “all-natural” means, as God intended, and it is just one of the many ways that Sunrise Farms is different.

Eggs from cartons labeled and certified by the USDA as “cage-free” must come from hens that are able to roam both horizontally and vertically in their hen-house. They must have access to fresh water and food; however, access to the outdoors is not required. We allow our hens to graze outside on high-quality pasture, digging for grubs to supplement their Non-GMO feed. Scientific studies have shown that pastured eggs have double the amount of Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids, making them the most nutritious eggs available.

Federal law requires that ham and bacon products be labeled as “uncured” if the curing agent is celery powder. While these meats are chemically “cured,” the use of celery powder as opposed to sodium nitrite requires a separate designation because celery powder is not USDA approved as a preservative. Celery powder contains naturally occurring nitrates rather than the synthetic nitrates used by commercial plants.

All bacon is cured; it’s just the curing method that is different. Processors cure conventional bacon with sodium nitrite and salt. Sodium nitrite protects the pork from harmful bacteria and preserves the color so that your bacon or ham is a brilliant pink – think of what you see under the deli counter. Scientific studies have shown a correlation between sodium nitrite and increased risks of cancer. We cure our bacon the old-fashioned way, in a salt brine, using the naturally occurring nitrates in celery powder, rather than the synthetic nitrates used by commercial plants. This method produces a cut of meat that tastes saltier if you don’t handle it properly. We recommend soaking the bacon overnight, or for a couple of hours, changing the water several times. This will help minimize that salty taste. Check out our guide to cooking all-natural ham.

There haven’t been many studies analyzing the connection between local honey and seasonal allergies. One published study did show that there was no connection between the two. Anecdotal accounts, however, seem to indicate a regular exposure to local honey can help alleviate some allergy symptoms. Since honey is so delicious anyway, that’s good enough for us.

We start our calves on Non-GMO cattle feed to help them wean from their mothers at the appropriate time. This supplemental diet gives them the nutritional boost they need as they cross over to graze on our high-quality pasture for a grass-finished product. Our butchers tell us our meat has better marbling than most other producers in our region, and we believe our process is the reason. To achieve a designation of “grass-fed,” the farmer or rancher must send documentation to the USDA stating that his animals were raised on a grass-only diet. The USDA does not consistently verify such claims. Since grass-fed beef is typically more expensive, we encourage you to get to know your farmer and ask questions to ensure you’re getting the product you want.

Chick starter feed contains higher levels of protein, amino acids and vitamins compared to traditional chicken feed. These elevated levels jumpstart your flock for healthy, all natural growth. The feed is also ground into smaller granules that are easier for small birds to digest.

Industrial meat production accounts for more greenhouse gas emissions than virtually any other source, and wholesale transportation drives up pollution. By purchasing your meat from a local source, you’re supporting small-scale farms with smaller herds, which make less of an environmental impact and require less transportation. Plus, you’re showing your commitment to a local business in the community.

Industrial farms raise cattle in feedlots that restrict movement and emphasize feed as opposed to pasture. This principle allows a cow to put on weight quickly without losing it due to activity. Ultimately, the cow goes to slaughter on a shorter timetable. At Sunrise Farms, we supplement our cattle’s diet with Non-GMO feed after weaning but then allow our herd to graze on our Virginia pasture to their hearts’ content until they reach around 1,000-1,200 lbs. Our process is slower, but our animals are healthier and happier which translates to better-tasting meat.

We are committed to minimizing the use of antibiotics because excessive dosing of animals fuels antibiotic resistance. We do not administer any preventative antibiotics, which is the method many industrial farms use to medicate animals before they show any symptoms of disease.

Soy is a great protein source that is difficult to replace which explains its wide use in animal feeds. Many people, however, feel more comfortable with a soy-free option. We mill soy-free feed alongside our non-GMO soy-based feed due to the growing concern about soy allergies being passed down the food chain.

While our meats are naturally raised on pasture without preventative antibiotics, we use non-GMO soy based feeds from our own mill for our animals.

Contact Our Team About Non-GMO Meats & Feeds!