Myth: Local meat and poultry are safer and better for the environment than food that’s been trucked a long way.
While the familiarity of a local producer may have an appeal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that meat is safer or more environmentally friendly. From an efficiency perspective, larger operations that are concentrated can take advance of economies of scale. Some larger operations have access to more sophisticated technologies to protect the environment that smaller operations may not be able to afford. Those potential benefits that a larger operation can offer to the environment may outweigh the downside of trucking meat a long distance. In addition, transportation costs for local systems are often small scale, which can be much less fuel efficient than a larger transportation systems.1
From a safety perspective pathogens can’t distinguish between small and large operations. In fact large operations are often better equipped with food safety technologies that small, local producers may not have.
Today, livestock and poultry tend to be produced in the climates that are suited to their species and breeds. Poultry thrives in the Southeast. Cattle are suited to Midwestern and Western climates. Consumers in those regions shouldn’t be the only ones who get to enjoy affordable meat. Our system allows everyone around the country to have access to quality meat and poultry.