Watch Out For Wild Fork Foods

Rotten Meat, Corruption, and Your New Neighborhood Butcher

Wild Fork Foods has stores popping up in cities across the country. It looks like a great idea – a local retailer focused on providing a big selection of quality meats available both in store and delivered to your home. In the “Our Story” section of the website it’s described like this: “By controlling every step of the process from farm to fork we ensure you get the highest quality, biggest selection and most consistent eating experience.”

It goes on to describe the quality, convenience, and sustainability that is woven into the DNA of Wild Fork Foods. What it does not do is explain just whose story this is. The reason for this rather puzzling omission, I’m nearly sure, is that Wild Fork is not some upstart, values-based brand seeking to improve things for everyone involved in food production from farmer to consumer. Instead, it is a creation of JBS.

Who Owns Wild Fork Foods?

Wild Fork Foods is owned by JBS, the largest meat packer in the world. To give you an idea of how big it is, JBS slaughters over 50 thousand cattle per day, to say nothing of pork and chicken. Wild Fork Foods is the newest expansion of the JBS empire, and the first branch that is focused on selling directly to customers.

Just a few of the many brands owned by JBS. Source: JBS 2016 Annual Sustainability Report

The Many Problems with JBS

I’m generally not a fan of stark dichotomies. As a rule, us vs. them thinking, demonization of opponents, and disdain for contrary belief systems make it harder to see problems clearly while also turning us into miserable human beings. As I tried to explain in my reflections on the retirement announcement of a sugar lobbyist, I think most people genuinely believe themselves to be on the side of good, or at least caught up in the same sort of amoral morass as everyone else.

That said, JBS, which owns Wild Fork Foods, is over the top, comic-book-villain evil. Here are a few highlights.

Destroying the Amazon Rainforest

Though JBS has operations all over the place, it is based in Brazil, which is also home to huge swaths of the Amazon rainforest. When it comes to producing beef there is no more pressing environmental topic than why and how it contributes to deforestation. Does buying beef from a farm like mine help or hurt the cause? What about intentionally buying conventional beef from a Texas feedlot?

No need to ruminate on such thorny questions when it comes to JBS, because JBS has been repeatedly documented purchasing cattle raised on illegally cleared land.

Intentionally Selling Rotten Meat

This one is exactly what it sounds like. JBS systematically paid off inspectors to look the other way as it implemented a program to chemically treat and sell rotten meat. To my mind, the absolute lowest bar a meat packer should clear is not deliberately disguising and selling spoiled product.

Massive Corruption

I’m not an expert on Brazilian politics, so I’m not going to attempt any sort of deep analysis of the corruption and bribery JBS has engaged in at home. But it is massive, involving hundreds of officials and huge amounts of money. Meanwhile, in America JBS took $78 million dollars in emergency pandemic funds, more than any other pork producer, even as it has used suspicious methods to aggressively expand its US holdings.

Wild Fork Foods is sourced from JBS

But is it fair to lump a subsidiary company like Wild Fork Foods in with JBS as a whole? It absolutely is! In the intro I quoted Wild Fork’s website talking about “controlling every step of the process from farm to fork.” What this really means is that, when it comes to meat production, JBS has a finger in every pot, with 107 different subsidiary brands listed on its website. I can’t say for sure which of these supplies what, since all the Wild Fork Foods stuff has custom labelling, but I can make some educated guesses.

Where Does Wild Fork Food’s Chicken Come From?

There are over twenty different possible sources for Wild Fork Foods’ chicken. including Pilgrim’s, Country Pride, Gold’n Plump, and Pierce Chicken. These are all very large, commercial farms that do not raise their chickens on pasture.

There are also many possible sources for its pork

Wild Fork Berkshire pork most likely comes from Byron Bay Berkshire Pork. The standard pork could come from anywhere.

The Same is True for Beef

This is a little trickier to answer. “We source beef from the best slow feeders in Nebraska and Colorado,” says the FAQ.

First I need to point out that “slow feeders” is a made up term. I have never heard it before, and a google search does not reveal any practice or product related to “slow fed beef.” I assume some P.R. person was grasping for a way to pretend that wild fork sells anything other than utterly conventional meat it.

Given the claim that it’s raised in the U.S. the standard beef – excuse me, the “slow fed” beef – could be from my old friends at Cedar River Farms. But it could also be from Clear River Farms. Or Clear River Farms Premium. Or Blue Ribbon Angus. Or Blue Ribbon Beef. Or Four Star Beef. Or Four Star Natural Beef. Or Moyer Angus Beef. Or Showcase Premium USA Beef. Or Swift Black Angus. Or one of the many other sub brands I didn’t bother looking into.

You get the idea, and this is assuming that all the standard beef Wild Fork sells really is domestic, rather than the product of the country of origin loophole, which allows beef raised anywhere in the world to be labelled “Product of U.S.A.” if it is packaged in America.

The Source of Wild Fork’s Organic and Grass Fed Beef

I won’t list all of the Australian brands that might be providing Wild Fork with organic beef, because there are even more than America brands.

The one thing I’m absolutely positive about, because it’s specified for some reason, is that the grass fed beef comes from Grass Run Farms, which, much like Cedar River Farms is:

A.) Not a farm.

B.) Owned by JBS.

But speaking of grass fed beef…

What real grass fed beef looks like.

Is Wild Fork Foods Grass Fed Beef Really Grass Fed?

I don’t think so.

Though Grass Run Farms (which, again, is where Wild Fork grass fed beef comes from) does not have a full protocol on its website, the FAQ section does emphatically state that cows are never fed corn or soy, except for soy hulls, and those don’t really count, right? My guess is that it asks its producers to follow the AGA standards, which allow not just soy hulls, but also corn cobs, corn silage (no grain silage is specified, but good luck regulating that), flax seed, corn gluten meal, and about a dozen other supplements, as well as any supplement the farmer might come up with that does not violate the spirit of the regulations.

I’ll let you decide for yourself whether or not a useful definition of grass fed beef allows for the feeding of corn gluten meal.

Is Wild Fork Foods Meat Sustainable?

Because Wild Fork Foods sources meat from hundreds of farms, it does not have a single sustainability standard. While some meat may be sourced from sustainably run farms, most of it comes from conventional beef, pork, and poultry operations.

Everything Wrong With Meat Production

Wild Fork Foods is bad because it is taking the language of reform – traceability, sustainability, cleanliness – and cynically using it to market the products of a company that is opaque and destructive, a company that has been active in its disregard for basic safety. Even worse, it is a way for JBS to capture even more of a sector it already dominates. By marketing direct to the consumer, it cuts out the restaurants and grocers that at least theoretically might choose to work with a competitor.

I remain firm in my belief that expecting consumer choice to reshape the entire food system is unrealistic. Due to price and availability, many people cannot eat only local, well raised meat. But in this narrow case I think it’s worth a complete boycott. Dodging all JBS products won’t be possible for anyone who ever buys meat at a store or eats meat in a restaurant. But not buying from Wild Fork Foods at least avoids sending every last penny of your food dollar to JBS. And that, I think, is worth it.


  1. Sally ingraham09/15/2022

    Sorry to hear about your groundhog. We have many of them and they have devastated the things I planted in raised beds. Especially carrots. And parsley, which I think tastes like carrots. And my favorite lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson.
    A friend with a plague of squirrels read about killing them with bubble gum, which apparently they can neither resist nor digest. I hesitated to use this cruel method, but when the groundhog defied me by sitting in the raised bed a few feet away, chomping on my kale with an insolent expression, I decided to try it. We threw (wrapped) Bazooka gum down the burrows. We think they read and enjoy the Bazooka Joe cartoons. Sometimes I find the empty wrappers lying around. The groundhog population seems to have declined. Amazon sells giant containers of bubble gum.

  2. Tom Nichols12/28/2022

    Sounds like you have a hidden agenda to blast Wild Fork Foods.

    Consumers choose to purchase good quality meat at good prices. That’s why they are a success.

    1. Garth Brown12/30/2022

      Hi Tom, thanks for stopping by! I don’t think my agenda is hidden. I am a farmer, and I love small farms. I want more people to support small farms. That said, I realize that tons of people can’t buy meat from farms like mine, either due to cost or availability. Most people will buy meat from grocery stores. The huge meat packers that produce almost all meat sold in America have problems, with inhumane treatment of animals and deplorable working conditions foremost among them, but JBS is in a class of its own. I think it’s worth making a particular effort to avoid JBS to the extent it’s possible to do so, but everyone will have to make their own choice.

      1. Seltzer Water08/10/2023

        So just to clarify, Wild Fork is sourcing product from factory farms across the Midwest? I’m trying to understand the claim you’re making.

        We’ve tried for years to source sustainable meat but honestly I’m at the point where it appears that sustainable has the same marketing label as calling it organic. We’ve purchased from numerous local farms with varying success. The overall issue is the food delivery model in the US and the bizarre “barrier to entry” with being able to actually eat healthy in the US. It’s as if that’s not really the goal. Making healthy food cost prohibitive for a majority of the population is a death sentence. I’ll never forget the PBS documentary that demonstrated how it’s actually cheaper to eat daily from the McDonald’s dollar menu than to go to the grocery and cook. We have systemic societal food problem.

        1. Garth Brown08/24/2023

          Sorry for the late response. Yes, Wild Fork sources its products from factory farms. I wish I had a better solution to the systemic problems with food in America, but it’s a mess, and at this point it seems like labelling causes more confusion than clarity.

    2. William A. Frank01/23/2023

      So, called Wild Fork customer service and they have made a business decision to screw all New Mexicans (could easily be 3-4 thousand potential customers) and NOT offer them a chance at an annual membership. Instead, we are asked to pay $30-$70 shipping costs per order! Far as I’m concerned Wild Forks, in making this poor business decision, can stick their stuff up their ass.

      This is what I’m emailing to the Wild Fork’s, Ricardo Marotta, Head Chief Operating Officer, Retail Online Operations & Business Development: “Attn: Mr. Ricardo Marotta
      Head Chief Operating Officer, Retail Online Operations & Business Development

      Dear Mr. Marotta,

      “For some business reason, such as not having a physical store in New Mexico, Wild Fork has decided to not offer the 3-4 thousand potential customers of New Mexico the possibility of becoming members. Instead, Wild Fork, with this poor business decision, has decided to forgo all that potential business based on some extremely poor decision making. Whomever made that decision, I would be terminating immediately. I had called Wild Fork customer service and was told it was due to Wild Fork not having a physical store in New Mexico. While that is true, I have a friend who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado and he has a yearly membership and there are no Wild Fork stores in Colorado either according to your website. Nearest physical Wild Fork location to both my friend and I is located in Dallas, TX. Now understand that Dallas, TX is 726 miles from Colorado Springs while Dallas TX is only 593 miles to Alamogordo, NM. Care to explain your business reasoning for knowingly and deliberately excluding me, and all New Mexicans for that matter, from being able to participate in an annual membership with Wild Fork and instead expecting us New Mexicans to pay anywhere from $30 to $70 per order to purchase your products and have them shipped to our homes?

      By the way, I did place my first order recently and had it shipped here for free. Enjoyed your product. Thoroughly disappointed and perplexed in your business decision not to allow residents of New Mexico to apply for annual membership. Simply can’t grasp the logic behind this.

      If after reviewing this email and doing some internal review/research, you decide that your business practice may have erred in this decision, I welcome your email reply, or you may feel free to call me at (575) 489-3993 and discuss your decision.


      William A Frank

  3. Bill Gates12/30/2022

    God put all animals on Earth for humans to decide how to treat them. Animals are food. God taught us that. Why are you upset?

    1. Garth Brown12/31/2022

      Hi Bill, I’m not upset, though I don’t think I’m on board with your theology.

      1. Jon05/16/2023

        Bill’s comment is scary stupid

  4. Healthy IslandHopper01/30/2023

    Thanks for this well researched heads up Garth. While I understand that many readers might think you biased, I have already begun to do my own research. I now better understand who JBS is from their destructive rain forest activities. I as I imported plantation-grown pine lumber back in the early 90’s from the south of Brazil. I thought they were just cattle ranchers back then.

    I hope try at your readers will at least do some research for themselves, as this is easily done. Conglomerates like JBS profit the most by cutting (or removing) the high costs of access, safety and health considerations in their processing of our foods. This level of false labeling and marketing should not be tolerated by our own elected officials.

    1. Garth Brown01/30/2023

      Thanks for reading and for the thoughtful comment!

  5. Wyze04/09/2023

    This sounds way too personal and biased. A lot of “i think” and “i can guess” proves nothing other than you don’t know. Right off the bat, when i google “beef slow feeder” AND “slow fed beef” there is a plethora of information about what this means. In fact, the first result explains, “slow fed meat is meat that has been raised humanely”, written in 2015. There are even older articles that say along the lines of the same.

    I’m not saying your wrong but this article reeks of personal feeling and emotion and not any ACTUAL data, but instead skepticism and assumptions, almost as if your mad they get more business than you. You provide an image of what i assume is your farm? OK, so where is the image of one of theirs for proof? See what i mean? Again, not saying your incorrect but among your first sources is Wikipedia, a site NOTORIOUS for quick fed misinformation. The rest are news articles and i have to be honest, after everything that’s been happening with the media in recent times i can not take the word of the guardian seriously. I don’t think anyone is these days. Now again, i want to emphasize, I’m not automatically assuming your completely incorrect. Truthfully, you may be closer to right than even you know. But this article to me feels way more personal than any actual research being done. And you lost me at not knowing what slow fed beef is, which is apparently a pretty popular term nationwide. When you search “slow fed beef” you find two things… slow feeders for hay and the terms “humane” and “grass fed”. The fact you would claim google has no results (or very little) on this term, which is a obviously either a mistake on your part, or a blatant lie, further illustrates the personal emotion put into this article. In another article you claim coffee is better than meditation, which to me is like saying apples are better than oranges. Caffeine is meant to wake you, where as meditation is more related to sleep. In fact, many experts claim meditation can even be used as a sleep replacement. So why compare coffee to this? That’s not really the point though. The point is: this article is WAY to personal for most to take seriously. It does have some interesting things to think about though-ill give you that much.

    1. Garth Brown04/09/2023

      Thanks for stopping by. I know google sometimes shows different people different results, so can you link me to a site that defines “slow fed beef?” I’m still not seeing one.The fact that ‘grass fed’ also comes up looks like google trying to offer up anything, because, again, I’ve never heard anyone else use the term “slow fed beef” let alone definite it in a definite protocol, the way “grass fed” or “non-GMO” has been defined.

      As for the rest, how JBS operates is pretty well established, and the fact that it owns Wild Fork is clear from any number of sources.


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