CHILLIWACK (NEWS1130) – In recent weeks, News1130 has been telling you about a massive recall affecting more than 100 beef products across the country, including popular labels like President’s Choice and Western Family.

It’s because of an E. coli scare, linked to a company in Saskatchewan. Mary Forstbauer is an organic farmer in Chilliwack who sells beef at farmer’s markets across Metro Vancouver. She says E. coli is not as common in organically-raised cattle.

“Cows are meant to eat grass, not grains. Quite often, when they have a diet of grain, that causes their intestine to produce bacteria that’s not natural — which is the E. coli — and that would then contaminate some of the meat products,” she explains.

She tells us there are a few questions you should ask when you’re buying organic beef. “My first question would be ‘Do you know whether or not the beef has been grass-fed or grass-finished or grain-fed and grain-finished?’ Once I had the answer, the next question I would ask is whether or not the farm is certified-organic.”

“Personally, I would prefer organic beef,” adds Forstbauer. “The husbandry is different; the animals are grazing. They’re not locked up in barns or in close paddocks. They have a lot more room to roam around. The end product is usually less fatty [and] less watery.”

She says her farm grows cattle. “There are other farmers at the farmer’s market that grow the cattle the same way.”

“We’re finding the meat is a lot more dense; it’s a lot more filling. It has more flavour. When you buy grain-finished, it’s usually because they want to fatten them up… before they go to the butcher,” she notes.