02.01.04

2.1.2004: Meldung: Wild Oats Markets Responds to Customer Demand for Advice on Buying Safer Beef

Wild Oats Markets Responds to Customer Demand for Advice on Buying Safer Beef
Wednesday December 31, 1:46 pm ET

Natural Beef Expert From Wild Oats Provides Tips to Consumers On Making Safer Choices

BOULDER, Colo., Dec. 31 / -- Wild Oats Markets, Inc. (Nasdaq: OATS - News), a leading national natural and organic foods retailer, provides valuable information to consumers about the safety of all-natural and organic beef as it relates to the first U.S. case of Mad Cow Disease (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or BSE), and offers tips on making informed choices when purchasing beef."Since the news of the first BSE incident in the United States surfaced a week ago, more and more consumers have been coming to our stores asking about the benefits of all-natural and organic beef," said Paul Gingerich, Vice President of Meat for Wild Oats Markets. "Now that Mad Cow disease is a very real issue for us in this country, consumers are seeking alternatives to conventional beef raised on factory farms, and we are offering them several helpful tips and advice on making better, safer beef purchases for their families."
Based on the most commonly asked customer questions, Wild Oats Markets offers the following tips for people who want to have greater confidence in the beef they purchase in light of the recent news of BSE in the U.S.:

* Buy all-natural or organic beef. The prevailing viewpoint on BSE is
that it is transmitted via feed containing animal by-products (meat-
and-bone meal). All-natural and organic beef standards (such as those
used by Wild Oats Markets) prohibit the use of any animal by-products
in the livestock feed. Therefore, cattle raised the natural way are
fed a 100 percent vegetarian diet, which is the native food choice for
this species. Additionally, all-natural beef contains no antibiotics
or growth hormones.
* Know the source of the beef you buy. Buying beef from trusted sources
is one of the primary ways consumers can ensure the safety of their
beef. Natural beef is tracked from conception to consumption, and
Wild Oats Markets knows where its beef comes from and where it has
been every step of the way.
* Ask if the beef you"re buying is from downer cattle (cattle that are
non-ambulatory at time of slaughter). Yesterday the USDA banned
downer cattle from being used as food for humans. It has always been
Wild Oats policy to not use downer cattle in its beef supply.
* Ask if the beef you"re buying is from a dairy farm or cattle ranch.
Due to the average five-year production life of a dairy cow, these
cattle are older and therefore may be more susceptible to contracting
BSE, as the disease has a two-to-five year incubation period. Not
only do cattle raised exclusively for beef production produce higher
quality, more flavorful beef, but they are typically younger. Wild
Oats only purchases beef from suppliers who raise cattle for
high-quality beef production and does not sell beef derived from dairy
cows. Additionally, Wild Oats only purchases beef from cattle that
are 30 months in age or younger.
* Buy boneless beef. BSE can reside in the spinal column, therefore
cuts of beef such as Porterhouse steaks and T-Bones, which have meat
near the spinal column, can have a greater risk of containing BSE.
For steaks, the best choices are boneless New York Strip, Ribeye or
Sirloin.
* Have your grocery store grind your beef for you. While Wild Oats
all-natural ground beef is made from whole muscle cuts of beef, many
conventional ground beef products are not. If you don"t have a Wild
Oats store or another trusted source for natural meat in your
neighborhood, for ground beef used in sauces and for hamburgers,
request that round or chuck roast be ground at the store while you are
present.
* Consider beef alternatives. If consumers are still concerned about
potential risks associated with Mad Cow disease, there are several
alternatives for high-quality and flavorful protein sources. American
Bison (buffalo) is the closest to beef, but poultry, pork, lamb and
several vegetarian meat substitutes, such as tofu and grain-based
products, are available at Wild Oats stores.
At Wild Oats, all natural beef, pork and poultry products in the meat and deli cases are guaranteed by the Company"s suppliers to have never been given antibiotics, artificial hormones and growth-promoting drugs. Additionally, meat and poultry suppliers are required to provide proof that absolutely no animal by-products of any kind -- implicated in the spread of Mad Cow disease -- are used in the feed given to the animals.
About Wild Oats
Wild Oats Markets, Inc. is a nationwide chain of natural and organic foods markets in the U.S. and Canada with annual sales of nearly $920 million. The Company operates 102 natural foods stores in 25 states and British Columbia, Canada. The Company"s markets include: Wild Oats Natural Marketplace, Henry"s Marketplace, Sun Harvest and Capers Community Markets. For more information, please visit www.wildoats.com .



Source: Wild Oats Markets, Inc
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