IS ALL BEEF EQUAL?
GRASS-FED, ORGANIC, NATURAL, CERTIFIED HUMANE, PASTURED...what do they all mean?
In your local grocers meat counter you may find 3 to 4 different labels on beef packages. At a Whole Foods or Farmer’s Market you may find even more labels on beef packages. The truth is, they are ALL very confusing, and some even misleading.
If there is no specific labeling other than the cut, you can be sure that it comes from industrial feed lot beef.
When asked at our local grocery store, the meat department could not explain the difference in all the labels and even thought that all the 100% grass-fed, organic beef came from Australia even though the label stated it was a product of the USA!
It is extremely unfortunate that most of the beef raised in the U.S. comes from CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations). In other words, they are a commodity, just a bottom line!
It is unfortunate for the beef cattle in that they must endure such horrible, unnatural conditions and it is unfortunate for consumers who are led to believe that the meat is healthy. Cows are confined in very large, very crowded groups with not a blade of grass. They are fed an unnatural feed of grains, mostly GMO corn and soy, that makes them ill as they are not able to digest it, so are given antibiotics and additional chemical additives to increase their appetite and bulk them up. The animals are highly stressed from being in unnatural conditions and being fed unnatural feed. They are forced to stand in their own excrement, further stressing them and causing more illness, requiring more antibiotics. Nearly 75% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used in CAFOs!
“Natural Beef” is a label to be aware of. Most beef is defined as Natural, but it only refers to what happens AFTER processing and has nothing to do with how or where the animal was raised. Besides, who even knows what the word NATURAL means anyway, because there are no guidelines for its use. Preservatives are considered natural.
Even the label ‘Grass-Fed Beef’ can be misleading. A large percentage of beef labeled “grass-fed” ends up in feed lots to be fattened up before slaughter. They start life on farms, grazing with their mothers and the herd until they are about 6 months old and then are separated and placed in pens to learn to eat in troughs before being transferred to a CAFO to be fattened up on grain. So look for a label that says 100% Grass-Fed.
Even more confusing is the term “Certified Organic”. You would think that it would be some of the best beef around, but in reality “Certified Organic” only means organic feed. While most meat with this label is from cattle that stay on the ranch, they can be fed grain and some even are shipped to feed lots.
Well, certainly, any beef package labeled “Certified Humane” is from cattle not fed grain or sent to feed lots, right? Not so! Actually, for beef cattle feedlots are permitted.
So, what is the best BEEF to eat? If health is your concern then you don’t want beef that is full of antibiotics, fed GMO grains, eaten grass sprayed with synthetic fertilizers, fattened up in a feed lot and treated inhumanely. If humane animal stewardship is your concern, then look for labels that state Certified Organic and 100% Grass Fed. If both HEALTH and ETHICALLY RAISED MEAT is your concern, then search for a local farmer who you know raises beef or will allow you to visit the farm and get information to the above concerns.
Grass-Fed, Grass-Finished Beef is just what it says. These animals live on pastures and eat only grass. Why is this better? For starters, cows are ruminants and therefore, herbivores. They were created to eat only plants, herbs, grasses and forbs (weeds). Of course, the quality of the grasses they eat are a product of the soil they are grown in, so nutrient rich soil untouched by any “cides” (herbicide, pesticide etc) will produce quality food which transmutes into healthy, nutritious beef loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and CLAs (conjugated linoleic acid) – the good fats. Broth made from beef bones is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is full of amino acids that are not found in the muscle meat we eat and gives us chondrotin and glucosamine for our joint health. And, last but not least, the rich gelatin produced by cooking the bones down gives us collagen for a skin, bones, ligaments and muscles.
It becomes clear that what a cow eats is directly related to the quality of the meat. But another huge factor, is how they are treated. An animal that is treated poorly, produces stress hormones that are carried into their flesh. Stress causes illness, illness causes a host of other problems like loss of appetite, weight loss, behavioral changes and often require antibiotics or other medical intervention to cure. What they eat and how they are treated directly effects the quality and health of their meat.
Temple Grandin is a pioneer in animal husbandry believing that all creatures deserve respect. Here at LoganBerry, we also believe in her statement and steward our animals in a humane manner. Our cows are on pasture from the day they are born to the day they a taken to the abattoir. They are rotated daily assuring fresh pastures, given shelter in bad weather, clean water and treated with the respect they deserve for the sacrifice they make. In the winter when green grass is scarce, they are fed hay from our own fields. Once again, insuring there are no “cides” to contaminate the grasses.
We raise cows for their role in the health of the land and for our enj0yment and nourishment. They are not a COMMODITY but an integral part of our Farm community. We do not believe that any animal should be considered a commodity!
Be aware of what you put in your body. If you eat Beef, eat beef that you know was raised humanely. Eat ETHICAL BEEF! Our Grass-Fed, Grass-Finished Beef is for sale on our ONLINE MARKET at https://squareup.com/market/loganberry-heritage-farm
For more information on how to buy our Beef; by the cut, the quarter or half, call the Farm at 706-348-6068