Think Jerky Is Junk Food? This Carefully Sourced Paleo Snack Will Change Your Mind

December 12, 2016

Jerky may seem like an unlikely snack for anyone claiming to be health-conscious.

But the jerky favored by Paleo diet followers is not the chemically preserved and artificially flavored variety so often found in truck stops and convenience stores—far from it!

The New Primal is one of the companies proving that preserved meat doesn’t have to mean heavily processed. The company relies on specific cooking methods and a carefully calibrated recipe to make jerky that’s shelf-stable for up to a year—without artificial preservatives—and flavors the snack strips with natural ingredients. As one example, The New Primal Turkey Jerky spices up pure turkey breast meat with honey, pineapple juice, garlic, and ginger, and doesn’t use gluten or soy fillers, making it a Paleo-friendly snack.

In addition to being careful about using natural ingredients to prepare its protein-packed line of products, The New Primal also pays attention to the living conditions of animals on the farms where it sources the meat.

All of the poultry used for The New Primal Turkey Jerky comes from Pitman Farms in Sanger, California, a third-generation family farm known for having top-notch animal welfare practices. Pitman farmers give their turkeys about four times more space than the average commercial ranch, along with constant attention, raising them in a more humane way than many others in the industry. The farmers say this makes it easier to keep the birds healthy without the use of antibiotics, drugs, and hormones.

As anyone who’s been on an airplane knows, airborne pathogens spread quickly in cramped spaces with limited exposure to fresh air. On industrial farms, animals are often packed tightly into enclosed warehouses, and industrial farmers rely on antibiotics to keep their animals disease-free. Additionally, when certain antibiotics are given to animals, they can make them gain weight faster—requiring less food to grow—which cuts down on animal food costs.

But such actions have consequences.

The FDA has said that the widespread use of antibiotics in cattle, pigs, chickens, and turkeys has contributed to the rise in treatment-resistant bacterial infections in humans. In response to this major public health threat, the FDA is in the process of phasing out the use of medically important antibiotics on food animals except in necessary cases.

There are many ways that antibiotic resistance can spread from animals to humans, which is why it’s important to pay attention to where your food comes from—and to support companies that prioritize responsible animal welfare practices.

Photo credit: Alicia Cho

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This article is related to:

Brand, Diet, Healthy Snacks

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Melinda Gross

Melinda writes about health, wellness, and food for the Thrive Market blog. She started her career as a financial journalist in NYC and has written for Where Magazine, Worth, Forbes, and When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys working out, sketching, and playing with her daughter and mini-dachshund, Goliath.


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