BOTH ARE IMPORTANT FOR YOUR HEALTH
Grass-fed meat has less fat and more nutrients. But if grass-fed meat isn't also organic, the cattle could be given antibiotics and other harmful medications, they could be sprayed with harmful chemicals for fly and parasite control, petroleum-based fertilizers could be used on their pastures and the soil their hay is raised on.
On the other hand, organic meat is free of these poisons, but it can be from grain fed cattle, so it doesn't have the benefits of grass-fed meat.
All of our meat is totally grass-fed - no grain, ever. It is also certified organic under USDA organic standards, which require that no harmful substances are used on the cattle or our land as well as that the cattle are humanely treated and that we conserve and protect the soil and water.
We raise our cattle as grass-fed and organic because it is healthier for them, for people who eat the meat, and for the earth.
Grass-fed beef is tender and juicy with more real beef flavor than grain-fed meat. But flavor is just one of the advantages.
Grass-fed beef is healthier for the cattle (their systems can't handle a lot of grain) and better for the earth (it takes a lot of fuel to raise and transport grain, not to mention the cost of getting it to the supermarket if it's raised thousands of miles away.
Grass fed beef has less total fat and more 'good' fats. Estimates are that a six-ounce pasture-fed steak has up to 100 fewer calories than a six-ounce grain-fed steak.
Steak from grass fed cattle also has two to four times more Omega-3 essential fatty acid (the heart-healthy fat in cold-water fish). Plus it’s the richest known source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fat that is a potent cancer fighter.
More Taste - Less Fat
Most supermarket beef comes from cattle fed large amounts of grain in feedlots, regularly given antibiotics and growth hormones.
Our cattle live on their mothers’ milk, our certified organic pasture and hay, and natural minerals. That’s all. This natural diet makes a big difference in the meat.
This meat also has more Vitamin E and Beta-Carotene, and is much less likely to be contaminated with the resistant e-coli strains that are often found in grain fed beef.
BUY KEZIAHLAIN BEEF
What Do The Labels Mean?
It is becoming more common to find meat in supermarkets labeled pasture raised, grass fed, all natural, or all vegetarian diet. The pictures on the package and their websites show healthy-looking cattle grazing on lush pasture. But the labels aren't always very meaningful.
All natural meat, according to the USDA definition, only means that nothing can be added to the meat after it's slaughtered - such as red food coloring to make it look fresh. It has nothing to do with how the cattle were raised.
All vegetarian diet sounds like grass-fed, until you realize that grain is vegetarian also. It should mean there is no animal protein in the grain or other food the cattle eat, which is what leads to mad cow disease. Important, yes - but not grass-fed. (For chickens, however, all-vegetarian diet means that they aren't really free range. If they were allowed to roam, they would eat the bugs, worms and other tasty treats which are part of their natural diet - and aren't generally considered vegetarian.)
Pasture raised isn't the same as grass fed. Many beef cattle spend the first months of their lives on pasture while they are also nursing, before they're brought into the feed lots and stuffed on grain.
Grass fed should mean the cattle never eat grain. But the USDA allows meat to be labeled grass-fed even if they are fed grain 'in an emergency.' Since hay can always be purchased, what would be considered an emergency? Some farms describe their beef as grass-fed when cattle eat grass most of their lives even thought they are given grain a month or two before slaughtered. The meat is actually grass-fed/grain finished.
Besides the loose USDA definition, they have no certification process to verify the grass-fed claim. However, if the American Grassfed label is on the meat, it means it is totally grass fed, humanely treated, with no routine sub-therapeutic antibiotics or synthetic hormones. Only members of the association who comply with these standards can use their label.
Certified organic means the cattle were raised and slaughtered in accordance with all of the USDA's organic certification standards which cover not just food, medication and harmful chemicals, but also include standards for humane treatment and soil and water protection. (More about organic certification HERE.
Certified naturally grown means the meat has been raised by standards very similar to USDA organic rules, with a few modifications to make more accessible for small farmers. Like the American Grassfed label, this is not a USDA program. It is run by farmer/members who set their own standards for healthy food with an emphasis on small, local farms. Because of this, it is more likely that you will see that label at farmers markets and other local stores than at supermarket chains.
Buy Local - And Know What You're Buying
If a local farm says the meat they're selling is pastured-raised and all natural, it could mean that it is totally grass-fed, with no harmful medications or chemicals used. Many small farmers who raise grass-fed meat may not be certified organic but in all important respects manage their farms organically, treat their animals humanely, and use no dangerous chemicals, medications, fertilizers or other harmful substances on their cattle, fields or barns.
If they're local farmers, you can talk to them directly. Ask questions. Many will invite you to visit the farm and see how they raise their animals. You can find out what you're buying because the farmer and the farm is local - not thousands of miles away.
Naturally Raised meat
Sometimes we have 100 grass-fed meat from an animal that couldn't be certified as organic because it didn't meet one of the certification requirements. We call it naturally-raised: a label that doesn't have any specific definition but, for us, means grass-fed but not certifie organic. This meat is less expensive than our certified organic meat.. Let us know when you order if you'd be interested in buying it. If we have it, we will tell you specifically why the meat can't be certified as organic.
And That's Not All...
For more about the benefits of grass-fed meat, see www.eatwild.com.