November 26, 2019
These days, perusing product labels can feel a lot like reading a novel. Being an informed shopper requires a lot of time and research, especially when it comes to the meat case. Certified Organic, grass finished, grass fed: what do these terms really mean? And more importantly, how they impact how you purchase beef for your family.
Q: What is organic beef?
A: USDA Certified Organic is a term applied to lots of different products, from produce and porter beer to perennial plant seeds. When applied to beef, USDA Certified Organic means the product label will feature an official USDA Organic seal and the cattle qualifying for that beef product have met the following requirements:
- Fed 100% organic feed and forage. This includes no GMO feed (but is not required to be grass fed or grass finished)
- Raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (i.e., the ability or access to graze on pasture)
- Never administered antibiotics or hormones
Q: What is grass fed beef?
A: All cattle consume grass and forages during some point during their lives. Therefore, consumers should always look for “100% grass fed” to ensure the cattle qualifying for that particular product or brand have never received any grain.
Q: What is grass finished beef?
A: Most beef labeled as grass finished means that cattle received a grass or forage diet their entire lives. Grass Run Farms beef is both 100% grass fed and finished, meaning that the animals consume only grasses and forages, never anything else.
Q: Do these labels impact cooking techniques?
A: Home chefs won’t notice a difference when preparing these three types of beef. However, consumers will want to also shop for meat quality, such as USDA Choice, to ensure you have the best eating experience possible. Our brand is among the only grass fed beef brand that offers graded beef consistently. But, as we say, great beef requires great techniques. Get our beef preparation tips here.
Q: Why should you choose one over another?
A: Every consumer makes decisions unique to their meal needs, preferences, diet, health requirements and price point, but we’d like to throw our cowboy hat in the ring when it comes to 100% grass fed and finished. Many consumers choose 100% grass fed or grass finished for environmental and sustainability reasons, while many consumers will choose Certified Organic for health benefits.