What About Organs From Grass
Grass-fed animal organs are rich in vitamin A, vitamin B12, coenzyme Q10, bio-available heme iron, selenium and enzymes. Like the origins of grass-fed meat, they come from animals that have been pasture-raised and kept hormone, antibiotic- and pesticide-free. Farmers raising animals this way try to maintain unpolluted lands for healthier animals right through to their organs.
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Official Usda Definition Of Grass
In 2016, the USDA determined that it did not have the authority or ability to certify grass-fed cattle production procedures to prevent consumer confusion. As a result, USDA announced that it would no longer offer an official definition of grass-fed. This led to concern about the efficacy of labeling and its effect on consumer confidence.
In 2019, USDA updated the standards for receiving a USDA grass-fed label. The new standards require a government inspection to verify grass-fed claims and prevent ranchers from raising grass-fed cattle in feedlots.
The common labels you’ll see that we will focus on today are grass-fed, grain-fed, grass-finished, natural, and organic. Each of these labels tells you specific things about the way the animal was raised.
You may notice that the vast majority of beef has no label at all other than the weight and price. That’s because labeling isn’t required. Processors pay to have products inspected and certified in order to be permitted to use USDA labels.
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What’s old is new again. Across the U.S. farmers are turning back to a traditional method of cattle raising: feeding cows on grassy pastures instead of troughs filled with corn. A decade ago, there were only about 50 grass-fed-cattle operations left in the United States. Now, there are thousands and the numbers are growing.
Just look to your local farmer’s market or specialty grocer for the evidence. It’s much easier these days to get your hands on grass-fed beef from farms where cows spend their days out on pasture grazing on all sorts of grasses from clover to wild onions to different types of tufted grasses called fescue. And beef eaters notice a difference from corn-fed cattle.
So there’s more of this meat on the market, but is it really any different? I was curious about differences both in taste and nutrition so I called on farmer Forrest Pritchard, who runs Smithfield Farm in Berryville, Va.
Tiny Desk Kitchen host Allison Aubrey gave a blind taste test of grass-fed beef and corn-fed beef to NPR’s Ari Shapiro and Susan Stamberg. See the video for the results. Maggie Starbard/NPRhide caption
Tiny Desk Kitchen host Allison Aubrey gave a blind taste test of grass-fed beef and corn-fed beef to NPR’s Ari Shapiro and Susan Stamberg. See the video for the results.
From Pasture To Trough
Farmers first made the switch from grass to corn years ago because corn allows them to fatten up their cattle faster.
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North American Meat Institute: Corn
What is the difference between grain-fed or corn-fed and grass-fed cattle?All cattle are grass fed, but some cattle are fed a diet that includescorn for part of their lives. Grain-fed or corn-fed beef is themost widely produced type of beef in the United States. It isa product prized around the world for its highly-marbled cutsthat are especially tender and juicy. Grain-fed cattle spend mostof their lives grazing on pasture before moving to a feedlot forapproximately four to six months prior to harvesting.
At the feedlot, the cattle are fed a carefully balanced diet thatusually includes corn, soybeans, by-products, forage and the appropriate minerals and vitamins. Feeding cattlea grain-based ration for a small period of time helps improvemeat quality and provides a more tender and juicy product forconsumers.
While cattle are in feedlots, beef nutritionists ensure the animalshave a balanced diet, good care, access to clean water and room grow and roam.
Ok Tell Me About Grass Fed Beef
Grass fed beef means that the cattle are given access to pasture where they can graze and forage for food as they would naturally do in the wild. Some farms may subsidize the grasses in the winter if the climate does not support a year-round, lush pasture. The overall intent of grass fed is to keep the eating patterns as natural as possible. This is the opposite of a grain-fed diet, where grains are given to animals, resulting in high calories and an unnatural growth pattern, where the cattle grow much faster . Keeping cattle on pasture year-round, like the farmers we from at Pre, keeps all those key nutrients in the diet, so that each animal retains more Omega-3s and B vitamins. This means the steaks are leaner, more flavorful and tender. That is why Pre steaks are smaller in size than a conventional grain-fed steak and why Pre steaks have more of an off-white fat color. Keeping the diet of the animal natural is also a key benefit for those who live a Paleo or Keto lifestyle.
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Potential Health Benefits Of Grass
Grass-fed beef and conventional grain-fed beef is a source of several vitamins and nutrients that help your cells fight damage and your body build stronger muscle and cartilage tissue.
In addition to being packed with B vitamins, grass fed beef has been found to be higher in vitamins A, E, and other antioxidants compared to grain fed beef.
Grass-fed beef has many of the same health benefits as grain-fed beef, but research has found a few added perks:
Grass-fed beef has significantly lower levels of saturated fat compared to grain-fed beef. In fact, the fat content of grass-fed beef can be compared to skinless chicken. Replacing saturated fat in grain-fed beef with the unsaturated fat in grass-fed beef has been proven to reduce your risk of heart diseases.
Lean meat, such as grass-fed beef, has been shown to actually have a positive effect on cholesterol levels.
Studies have found that grass-fed beef contains two to six times more Omega-3 fatty acids than feed-lot beef. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to help prevent and treat many diseases including, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune responses such as lupus, eczema, and rheumatoid arthritis, and a number of other conditions.
Studies have also found that grass-fed beef contains more antioxidants than grain-fed beef. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage that can lead to serious diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Building and Maintaining Muscle Mass
There Are Healthier Ways To Eat Red Meat
Remember that moderation is important. Because of the link between red meat and colorectal cancer, the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests capping your weekly intake at 18 ounces. If you typically enjoy a three-ounce serving of cooked beef , that means six servings a week. But keep in mind that half-pound burgers are eight ounces, and steaks are generally larger.
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What Is The Environmental Impact Of Grain
Theres no way around it. To satisfy the sky-high demand for beef in the US, cattle farming takes an enormous toll on our planet both in open pastures and purpose-built feedlots. Scientists at Japans National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science estimate that producing 1 kilogram of beef emits more greenhouse gas than driving 155 miles.
Were talking hundreds and thousands of large animals here, and either they need acres upon acres of grassy land to graze on or acres and acres of land to grow their feed. In fact, much more of the grain grown in the US goes to feeding animals than humansabout 80%all of which requires a lot of energy to produce and transport.
Here are some of the environmental pros and cons of grass and grain feeding cattle:
Pasture Vs Grass Fed: You Need To Know The Difference
Look out for the Pasture for Life certification mark.
Misleading labels make it harder to identify when the meat has been fed 100 per cent only on pasture. As Luke Hasell explains, it can be difficult for consumers to recognise when meat has been fed 100 per cent only on pasture as some meat in the UK is already sold as Grass-Fed even if livestock have also eaten cereals.
So when shopping for meat reared exclusively on pasture, customers should look out for the official certification mark from the Pasture for Life Association, which only applies to produce sourced from animals reared on a wholly pasture fed diet on certified farms.
Pasture fed cows not only feed on grass, but munch on herbs, flowers, clover and other legumes that lurk on their pasture. This gives a rich, intense flavour to the meat, with a slight herbal sweetness. The superior taste means that using grass fed beef will transform your cooking.
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Most Would Agree That We Are What We Eat
Reputable studies have shown that grass-fed beef has a better ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6, is high in antioxidants such as vitamin E and contains higher vitamin and mineral levels. Medical practitioners and dieticians suggest that Omega 3 helps to lower blood pressure and assist with depression.
Grass fed meat would appear to have more CLA , a type of fat thats thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks.
How To Cook And Enjoy Grass
When it comes to taste, it helps to think of grain-fed and grass-fed beef as completely different. Grain-fed beef is what we are most familiar with marbling with a rich texture and an almost sweet taste. Grass-fed beef, in contrast, has a chewier texture and gamier, slightly grassy flavor.
The two types of beef also cook differently. With a much leaner composition, grass-fed beef cooks faster than grain-fed or other conventional beef, going from perfect to overcooked in seconds. To make a grass-fed steak as juicy as possible, you need to first season the meat, pat both sides dry, and cook using a high-heat oil and low temperatures.
Use a thermometer to check when the beef is done 130-135° Fahrenheit for medium-rare and make sure to let your beef rest for at least 6-10 minutes. This will allow the natural juices to redistribute in the meat.
And of course, pair your nutritious grass-fed meat with equally nutritious sidings. Top your ground beef patty with some avocado and tomato, plate slices of rye sourdough alongside your ribeye, and sprinkle some all-natural jerky or biltong on top of your breakfast eggs. Yes, grass-fed beef is healthier for you and is even better when part of a complete healthy diet.
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How To Cook 100% Grass
100% Grass-fed meat is from cows that are pasture-raised on grass, from start to finish. They are rich in good fats, and managed sustainably. Compared to conventionally raised meats, which get little or no exercise, it’s leaner and there is true muscle integrity in the meat. But leaner doesn’t mean tougher. Cooked more gently, grass-fed meat is juicy and tender.
When cooking a grassfed steak, you’ll want sear it and then allow it to finish cooking at 325F. This allows the naturally-occurring sugars to caramelize on the surface, while keeping the muscle fibers from contracting too quickly. Tough grass-fed steaks result from over-exposure to high heat, which causes the muscle fibers to contract tightly and become chewy and dry.
The biggest mistake people make when cooking grass-fed beef is over-cooking it. These five tips will ensure a perfectly cooked steak every time.
1. Lower the cooking temperature. Because grass-fed beef is leaner than its grain-fed counterpart, you need to cook it at a slightly lower temperature for 30-50% less time. Otherwise, you cook off the fat and are left with a dry, tough, unappealing mass of meat thats lost many of its nutrients.
- Rare 120F
- Medium Well 135F
- Well 140F
4. Dont play with your meat. Avoid the temptation to poke steaks or roasts with forks or pat burgers down with spatulas. This lets all that delicious fat escape, giving you a less juicy end result.
What’s The Beef The Pros And Cons Of Grass Fed Vs Grain Fed
It is no secret that Canadians love their beef. Whether eating steaks fresh from the barbecue, enjoying spicy chilli, or digging into a classic burger, Canadians each consumed on average more than twenty-five kilograms of beef in 2018 alone, and this number is projected to remain stable in 2019.
It is no secret that Canadians love their beef. Whether eating steaks fresh from the barbecue, enjoying a spicy chilli, or digging into a classic burger, Canadians each consumed on average more than twenty-five kilograms of beef in 2018 alone, and this number is projected to remain stable in 2019. Food trends may be changing across the country, but one thing is clear: for many individuals and families, beef is a dietary staple.
There are a variety of cultural reasons for this. Canada, a country home to peoples from all over the world, has a rich and varied cuisine but the availability and quality of Canadian beef is ideally suited to dishes as different as Korean bulgogi, Argentinian milanesa, Hungarian goulash, Ukrainian borscht, Turkish kebabs, and Indonesian satay as well as Western European classics like steak frites, meatballs, and steak and kidney pies. For millions of Canadians, the taste of beef is the taste of the homeland.
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The Conventional Way Of Raising Beef Cattle
There are nearly 10 million cattle raised for beef in Canada every year .
Today, most beef cattle start their lives on cow-calf operations where they are able to graze on pasture with their mothers and the rest of the herd for about 12 months. During this period, their diet mainly consists of a variety of natural, high-fibre grasses.
At about a year old, or once calves reach 200-300 kg , they are sent to feedlots, which are large, open dirt lots sectioned into many pens. Each pen has a feed and water trough and maybe a small covered area for protection from weather extremes, but often little else.
Cattle spend the next three to six months in feedlots. Instead of the grasses they are used to eating, they are fed mostly high-energy grains like corn and barley until they reach slaughter weight. This switch to a grain-based diet causes them to quickly put on fat a process called finishing. This finishing phase is important in the North American beef industry because consumers prefer an even distribution of fat throughout the muscle in the cuts of beef they buy.
It is assumed the grass-fed label was originally developed to identify cattle that spent their whole lives on pasture instead of being finished on grains in feedlots. Today, however, this is not the case.
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Do you know where your grass-fed beef came from?
About 75% to 80% of grass-fed beef sold in the U.S. is grown abroad, from Australia, New Zealand and parts of South America, according to a 2017 report from the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. Those countries have the advantage of “vast expanses of grassland, low-input beef that is not finished to a high level and is very inexpensive,” says Rowntree even with the cost of shipping it halfway around the world. Most of what comes from Australia is ground beef, not steaks, because the end result of their finishing process tends to be tough.
Many U.S. customers who want to support local food are likely unaware of the foreign origin of most grass-fed beef. By law, if meat is “processed,” or passes through a USDA-inspected plant , it can be labeled as a product of the U.S.
“But does it benefit the American farmer?” Rowntree asks, comparing this market to the sheep industry, “which lost out to imports from Australia and New Zealand.”
The popularity of grass-fed beef is pulling U.S.-based multinational companies into the market as well, which will drive prices down further. Meat processor JBS USA now has a grass-fed line, Tyson Foods is planning a Texas grass-fed program and earlier this year, Perdue announced it was getting into the market.
Which system is better for animal welfare?
To many grass-fed advocates, this is one of the main reasons for switching to grass-fed beef. After all, cows evolved to live this way.
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Reason #: Factory Farms Make Aggressive Pathogenic Bacteria
Lets face it: feedlots are horrible places. International conglomerates force cows together in crowded conditions with barely enough room to even eat. Cows end up spending all of their time standing in their own filth, sometimes a foot or more of it.
Since this is a naturally disease-ridden environment that would kill most animals, companies use huge amounts of antibiotics to keep the cows from getting infections. The cows suffer, and their gut health goes down.
The end result is that your piece of inexpensive hamburger you are getting has a very high chance of being contaminated with things like E. Coli, or other bacteria that are not good for you.
Animals fed grass with enough room to move around, have a much lower bacterial load and the types of bacteria are less aggressive. Thats why you used to be able to eat a hamburger medium-rare, but you wouldnt dream of doing that today with industrial meat. Its not sanitary. Grass-Fed beef Isnt pumped full of antibiotics
It also turns out that when you feed corn and soy to ruminants like cows, their digestive tract isnt well suited for it. So you end up getting animals that require more antibiotics.
Its a descending spiral, with no positive end if we keep doing it. Overcrowded conditions, combined with food that makes animals sick, combined with conditions that make animals sick, combined with antibiotics that make bacteria more aggressive, can only lead to broad-scale environmental animal and human destruction.