For those who still eat meat (and I do three nights a week I will admit) buyers need to take heed that the supposedly “grass fed beef” they pay premium prices for at the grocery store is likely not necessarily grass finished beef.
ALL beef eat grass. ALL. However, most commercially sold beef is fed grain to be fattened up before slaughter. (Graining supposedly improves the flavor of the meat.) But the package doesn’t tell you this, does it? So, here you are spending extra money and feeling so healthy about eating beef that is sold as “grassfed” when the beef is actually grain finished either while in the slaughter yards or before shipment to the slaughter yards. IMO this is a terrible disservice to consumers.
ALL COWS EAT GRASS. ALL. But beef that is TRULY grassfed, is NEVER fed grain or other fillers before being butchered. It is sneakily deceptive to use the “grass fed” label, unless the beef is grass fed and grass finished!
So, how do you know which of the many packages of beef are in fact “organic,” grass fed and grass finished all through their lives? It takes just a bit of research because despite how packages may be labeled in supermarkets, the beef may well be grain finished. Yes, the cow was grass fed – up to the very end. I have found the best way to insure that I’m getting grass finished beef is to buy it directly from the ranch/producer or from a certified, verifiable source.
If at all possible, start by finding out if there are local ranchers that you can buy grass fed beef from directly. In doing so, however, you may be required to buy a large quantity of beef, such as a 1/4 beef or a 1/2 beef. The product most always comes cut, packaged and frozen. Sometimes you can specify how you want the beef cut: steak, roast, hamburger, etc. Even 1/4 beef will require a lot of freezer space. Remember you are paying for the beef and the butcher fees, which is one reason why the meat is more expensive.
There are other places you can find organic, grassfed beef also. Americangrassfed.org has a great map of the United States on their website showing the locations of members who belong to this organization. There’s also a site called Grass Run Farms (grassrunfarms.com) where you can find producers.
If you don’t have the time or wherewithal to pick up your product, check out Root and Revel (rootandrevel.com) for meat delivery services. I myself have never used these services, but the website lists the top 7 online sources for organic, sustainable grassfed meat delivery.
Remember that 100% grassfed/finished beef is going to cost you more than the store product. If you have storage, though, and can afford it, the price per pound is usually lower the more you purchase. Also, you will likely notice a difference in taste between grain finished beef and the grass finished. You will quickly adjust to the new flavor.
In changing from grain finished to grass finished beef, you are reportedly getting far more Omega 3 fatty acids and CLA (both are considered good fats) than omega 6s. It also has less saturated fat if that is a concern for you.
And, according to American Grassfed Association, grassfed beef is far better for ecosystems and wildlife habitat. It greatly reduces the use of petrochemicals, improves the soil with organic matter and reduces greenhouse gases, especially CO2. Also remember that cows, goats, bison, etc. evolved to eat GRASS, not cereal grains which can upset their digestive systems and lead to disease which then forces ranchers to have to use antibiotics. When these animals are given antibiotics, you end up with these in your system also when you eat the meat.
I urge you to check out these resources. Perhaps you eat so little meat (or none at all) that it doesn’t matter. And that’s okay, but I think people have the right to know the truth and not be hoodwinked into buying a product that is not truly what it implies.
For expert information about your beef, visit riverwatchbeef.com. It is shocking what you will discover.