The Red Meat with a Difference
In stark contrast to the rugged image of the Canadian bison with its thick coat of fur, roaming wild on the Prairie, the meat has become a gourmet treat, enjoyed by the most sophisticated palates, and recognized for being as delicious as it is healthy.
A lean red meat, bison has a rich, distinctive flavour, and a sizzling bison steak or a juicy bison roast is a culinary experience not to be missed!
From ancient to modern
Bison were once a staple in the diet of North America's pre-Columbian inhabitants. But the animal's near-extinction in the nineteenth century, and the slowness with which the population has been rebuilt, means the bison meat industry of the 21st century is very new. As a result, Canada's bison producers are working hard to familiarize domestic and international consumers with what they have to offer.
Bison is valued for the gourmet quality of its meat, but almost every part of the animal has a use. Hides become leather, while the horns, bones and teeth become a medium for traditional First Nations carvers and bead-makers. The wool, which the animals grow for winter and shed in spring, can be spun into high-quality fibre.
Canada's bison industry is growing rapidly because of increased consumer demand for specialty meats. It's especially attractive to health-conscious diners because the meat is nutritionally dense, but is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than beef or pork. Even better, Canadian bison are raised as naturally as possible, and are fed almost completely on pasture and hay.
Sustainable and safe
Raising bison has another great advantage—it's sustainable. Nearly all the animals' nutritional needs can be met by grazing on perennial grasses that grow naturally across Canada. Agricultural inputs are therefore very small, and the herds themselves have a minimal effect on the natural environment.
Canadian bison meat products also offer high quality and safety standards. The bison industry is closely regulated by the federal government's Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The industry has also established the Canadian Bison Identification Program -– a trace-back system to control and eradicate disease—and work is underway to develop the Canadian Quality Bison Program to ensure its farm practices meet Canada's rigorous food-safety standards.
Taste the Canadian difference
Healthy, lean and delicious, Canadian bison will suit the most discriminating palate. For further information on Canada's bison industry, please visit:
- Agri-Food Trade Service
- Canadian Bison Association
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