Do you eat beef? Probably. Do you know what it takes to get good beef? Maybe not. Meat connoisseurs will most likely know the basics of raising cattle and how diet and living conditions affect the final product. For everyone else, the lines get blurred with words like “organic”, “all-natural”, “grass-fed”, or grain-fed." Isn’t organic the same as all-natural? Why does it matter what the cow eats?
Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed The way cows are fed can have a major effect on the nutrient composition of the beef. You are what you eat, right? This applies to cows too.
Grain fed means the cows are fed a high fat grain based diet made from corn or soy. The cattle are typically kept in over crowded, stressful environments. The result is a less nutritious and more fatty meat.
Grass-fed means the cows have had grass in their diet. But it goes a little deeper than that.. Grass fed can mean that the cow was fed grass for the majority of their life, then finished off with a high fat grain diet before slaughter. So if you want to be sure you’re getting 100% grass fed beef, look for “grass fed, grass finished” on the label. Grass fed cattle contains less calories, healthier fat content, five times as much omega-3s, and is packed with higher concentrations of other vitamins and antioxidants.
So what makes beef organic or all-natural? The terms are commonly used interchangeably. There is actually a pretty significant difference between the two.
All-natural beef can’t contain any artificial ingredients, flavorings, coloring, chemical preservative or any other synthetic or artificial ingredient. The product and its ingredients are not more than minimally processed. The animal is not given any antibiotics unless medically necessary, and must complete a withdrawal period before going to slaughter.
With much more stringent standards, “organic" beef refers mostly to the things you CANNOT do while raising cattle. The restrictions are kind of overwhelming as there is a lot of them. Here’s an article from the USDA explaining in more detail.
When buying from your local grocery store, read labels carefully, wording is important. When you purchase from T-N-T Market, you can be assured our beef is all-natural 100% grass-fed/finished and raised humanely. All of our beef is raised locally and is always fresh.
Find our booth at the Grogan’s Mill Farmers Market every Saturday from 9am to 1pm