A year ago, a Texas State University professor wrote for The New York Times that meat from free-range pigs had caused a surge in food-borne illness. Dr. James McWilliams neglected to mention that the basis of his article was research funded by the National Pork Board, and he was excoriated as an industry shill.
Recently, he wrote for The Atlantic: Lost in all the huffing and puffing over my omission, however, was the gist of the underlying question itself: to what extent are animals raised under free-range conditions prone to contracting diseases that can affect humans? ¦ [A]s these very recent studies all suggest in one way or another, free-range however it ultimately stacks up against confined methods comes with its fair share of problems.
Many people assume that free-range meat is somehow healthier, says Stier. For some, there are attractive aspects of free-range farming from an ethical perspective, but the fact is that there are health risks associated with food produced this way. The same people who publicize potential health hazards of conventionally produced food should be reporting this, and they re not. Free range food is getting a free ride.