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Grass-Fed Beef: What, Why and How

Evidence has suggested that grass-fed beef is healthier, lower in total fat content and less likely to carry bacteria than grain-fed beef. But all cows eat grass, after all, and they have long before precise variations of beef came onto the market. So how is beef designated as “grass-fed,” you ask? It’s a little complicated.

August 9, 2018

In 2016, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), a branch of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), announced that it was abandoning its official definition of "grass-fed." However, the USDA still evaluates and approves grass-fed claims – but the government no longer has an official definition of the term grass-fed, so it’s open to interpretation.

All meat packages have to be approved by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, which is the official regulatory component of the USDA. But they aren't required to visit farms where grass-fed cattle are raised. They can pay a third party, like the AMS, to review and approve their product.

All the while, farmers usually need an extra year to fatten grass-fed cows than grain-fed cows require, which increases food and labor costs. Furthermore, grass-fed cows produce less meat than grain-fed cows – that accounts for the increases in a farmer’s care and investment in their cattle and the value of the end product: the exceptional taste of grass-fed beef.

To add one more layer to identifying beef qualities, USDA grass-fed standard focuses on what the cattle eat, but don't have restrictions on confinement of animals and use of hormones and antibiotics. That means a big responsibility still falls on the consumer when determining what types of meat to purchase and how to select the healthiest and most sustainably produced meat products, beyond a “grass-fed” designation.

When you purchase from Market House you can be sure our farmers are committed to pasture-raised cattle and grass diets, as opposed to grain-based diets. In addition, our farmers resist the use of antibiotics and hormones – keeping naturally healthy herds.

We think you’ll taste the difference. Want to elevate the everyday? Go for our grass-fed ground beef – it’s perfect in every way.

You've always got a seat at our table.

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