I'm very new to eating animal products still. I'll admit I'm completely terrified of eating conventional meat, dairy, or eggs. But I'm honestly not quite sure what's real & what's woo. I also want to branch out and try different meats/cheeses/etc. but there are limited organic options and some of them are cost-prohibitive.
So... I have heard that meat & dairy from Ireland & New Zealand are more likely to be ethically raised & healthier... and seem to be cheaper than items specifically labelled 'organic'. How about cheeses from other countries? What about meats, like goat from Australia? Is wild-caught fish from China safer? Any certain cheaper brands that use mostly organic practices but aren't specifically certified? Anything else you might look for to save money & still get healthy, antibiotic-free, etc. animal products?
How much more is reasonable to pay for organic? Is it really smart to buy an organic, free-range chicken that costs 3x more than a conventional one??? If the price difference is too drastic, do you buy conventional or forgo that item altogether? How about eggs, they cost $4/doz for organic cage-free or $3 for free-range or $1 for conventional, which would you choose? Is rbst-free dairy the same as hormone/antibiotic-free dairy?
Ahhh so many questions, please elaborate as much as you want because I'm very interested in a broader discussion on this than just the questions above. For reference, our finances are really tight, so I guess I'm getting at what things are "nice if you can afford it but really unnecessary" and which are more critical.
(The co-ops and farmers markets around here seem to charge much more than the grocery stores plus are more driving & more inconvenient times.)