How Far Has Your Steak Traveled?

June 20, 2011

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article about Master Purveyors, a large wholesale meat market in New York. It looks at how the meat is sorted and how restaurants will ultimately decide which steaks to purchase for their customers. 

There is something alarming about the article though. In it, the owner of Master Purveyors says that the animals arriving to their warehouse today (it's unclear which day of the week the interview occurred on) were walking on Friday. Once processed at the slaughterhouse, the meat made an overnight trip from Chicago. Later in the article, we learn that renowned chefs will purchase meat here for use in their restaurants in far off locations like Waikiki and Beverly Hills. 

Think about that process for a second. The animal lives in some location, likely not Chicago. It's taken to the slaughterhouse. It's then taken to Chicago for distribution. After an overnight trip, the meat arrives in New York. Then, some chefs will select particular cuts for consumption in far away places. An additional airplane trip will take it the rest of the way. 

That's a lot of transportation. That's a ton of gas. Just a reminder that we need to consider the environmental impacts of obtaining the best quality meat. 

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