I am starting a series on definitions of products to help the consumer understand what this flurry of words means when they go to their coop or farmers market. I hope that by helping you come up with an understanding about what this means in the marketplace, you can ask informed questions of the vendors to see if they are producing and selling what it is that you are, in fact, looking for.
I will start with the definition of Heritage as it relates to Cattle and their products. ALBC just launched this definition at the Annual Meeting in November, 2010 in Hamilton, NY. Marjorie Bender did an excellent job of moderating this discussion and the results are a very nice definition. http://albc-usa.org/heritagecattle/definition.html .
In a nutshell:
Heritage Cattle Products must come from:
* Heritage Cattle only.
* Herds with ongoing breed selection practices for longevity, fertility, and productivity.
* Herds that follow sustainable management practices that provide for animal well-being
~ diets that are all plant-based, and primarily forage-based.
~ raised primarily in open, pasture or range, environments. This specifically excludes total confinement operations.
~ free from routine prophylactic antibiotics.
~ free from administered synthetic or natural growth promoters or growth hormones.
~ humanely slaughtered.
A. Definition of Heritage Beef Products:
Beef animals and their products marketed as Heritage Beef must:
* Be produced from the mating of registered, purebred parent stock.
~ This allows for the sale as Heritage of those offspring that are produced by mating registered animals of two different Heritage breeds.
* Include the name of the breed of that animal on the label, or the two Heritage breeds used in crossbred production.
B. Definition of Heritage Milk or Heritage Milk Products:
Milk marketed as Heritage Milk must:
* Be exclusively from animals that have been produced from the mating of registered, purebred parent stock.
~ This allows for the sale as Heritage of milk from those offspring that are produced by mating registered animals of two different Heritage breeds.
* Include the name(s) of the breed(s) of the animals on product label.
Products made with Heritage Milk:
* Must be made exclusively with Heritage Milk to use Heritage in the product name.
* As an ingredient may use “Made with Heritage Milk” on the label but cannot use Heritage in the product title, and the label must state the percentage of milk from each Heritage breed.
* Must include the name(s) of the breed(s) of the animals on product label.
Terms like “heirloom,” “antique,” old-fashioned,” and “old timey” imply heritage and are understood to be synonymous with the definition provided here