5

votes

Do we have to say grass-finished?

Commented on January 17, 2015
Created October 20, 2010 at 7:03 PM

By way anticipating the answers, I will suggest... yes.

I e-mailed a local gourmet market/butcher which advertises prime grain-fed beef, to ask if they ever carry grass-fed. In reply, was I told that all their beef is grass-fed. Obviously, this didn't make sense. When I asked for clarificaiton, she said that all cows are fed grass, and the beef they sell was finished on grain rather than corn. If all cows are fed grass at some point (true for the most part) what did she think I was asking, I wonder. Did she not know the common understanding of grass-fed, or was she perhaps being a bit deceptive? From now, I guess I have to say grass-finished.

Has anyone else had this experience? Any other tips for getting the truth on what your food has eaten?

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:39 AM

Actually there have been quite a few studies that show that grass fed beef (primarily/exclusively grass fed) is higher in vitamin E, omega 3's, and alpha-linoleic acid. And to me it simply tastes better, more beefy, not bland.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877

(421)

on November 10, 2010
at 04:22 AM

I just talked to my husband about this. He says that grass-fed grain-finished is the old-fashioned way. It makes for a healthy cow but fattens it up before slaughter. Grain-fed grass-finished is rare but it exists for marketing value (getting to say grass-anything to boost the profit margin) and to increase meat safety (grass finishing restores the chemistry of the rumen and reduces the chance of E. Coli contamination).

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 21, 2010
at 01:56 PM

I was wondering this myself.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 21, 2010
at 01:55 PM

I was teasing our strong libertarian minority. =) At least, I THINK they're a minority here. Small but vocal.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on October 21, 2010
at 08:22 AM

There was a quite comprehensive study done a while back, comparing grain feed to grass fed. Will post in three days time.

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on October 21, 2010
at 02:31 AM

Melissa, I have a small "boutique" herd of 25. I have about 12 a year for slaughter. I wanted my beef to be grassfed; it was a personal decision. I don't have an incentive to "fatten" them up on grain. I feel it's hard enough for a family to buy a (1/4)quarter and the price is based on the weight of the animal. I had a guy ask me, "don't you want to grain finish for nice marbling?" um, nope.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 21, 2010
at 01:34 AM

I have libertarian tendencies, but I still think it's fraud to sell something that is presented as something else - ergo should be illegal. :) But of course, by that standard, I guess "whole grain" toaster pastries and "low-fat" gummy bears (presented as healthy or at least healthiER) are also fraudulent...? Guess ultimately the onus remains on us to research our foods' origins thoroughly.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 21, 2010
at 01:32 AM

I have libertarian tendencies, but I still think it's fraud to sell something that is presented as something else - ergo should be illegal. :) But of course, by that standard, I guess "whole grain" toaster pastries and "low-fat" gummy bears (presented as healthy or at least healthiER) are also fraudulent...?

Cd89ee22d6cacb5dec4753c13cde1ec1

(0)

on October 20, 2010
at 11:34 PM

First of all I would like to point out that a lot of consumers see the phrase, "off pasture" and think of concrete pads where cattle are forced into small areas. In reality the stock calves will still be in a pasture environment, the only difference is they are fed a highly ordered diet to ensure success in the market. Secondly, studies show that the overall environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gases derived from agriculture is 2.6%. This 2.6% is very low compared to the products of the automobiles that people drive. The same efforts are put into raising vegetation.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on October 20, 2010
at 11:27 PM

Btw, no one asked how in the world taking the cows off pasture and finishing them with grain (grown, fertilized, processed, and trucked from somewhere) can possibly be "better for the environment"!?!

Cd89ee22d6cacb5dec4753c13cde1ec1

(0)

on October 20, 2010
at 11:23 PM

As a beef advocate, I truly appreciate Melissa's input on this thought provoking question. As a producer, I can assure you that farmers and ranchers are reading reliable studies and making sure that we are practicing the most beneficial techniques for the health of the livestock and the consumer.

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on October 20, 2010
at 10:18 PM

@Melissa, do you happen to own a meat store in the East Bay, CA? I walked into one recently with 5 friends and asked if their meat was grass fed. The gentleman told me "all beef is grass fed." I then asked if it was grass finished. The guy flipped out and started yelling and going on a huge, angry rant. All 6 of us just walked out. Each of us eat almost 2 lbs a day of organic meat, guy missed out on alot of business flipping out like a nut job

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:40 PM

You won't like this study either, which shows lower Omega-6 in grass-fed cattle. Uh oh. http://www.csuchico.edu/agr/grassfedbeef/research/lipid/Garcia%202008.pdf

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:38 PM

Excellent job avoiding the question. :-) The fact that grain-finished cattle spend most of their lives eating grass is irrelevant. The health properties of the meat start declining immediately after grains are introduced into the diet: http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:33 PM

I have nothing against grass-finished beef. It is consumer choice, supply and demand. But make your choice based in scientific fact not hype. I do agree 100% that the term "grass-fed" is misleading. It should be grass-finished. But at the same time grain-fed should be grain-finished as these cattle spent the majority of their lives on pasture eating grass. I <3 Beef!

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:30 PM

OK grass fed benefit in regards to omega 3 fatty acids would require you to eat 4.5 pounds cook grass-fed daily to meet the requirements.--Even I don't love beef that much and who could afford it anyway.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:16 PM

Cue the libertarians to crucify me for suggesting that the government should get involved in our health and food! Attack!

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:14 PM

LOL. So is your position that more Omega-3 isn't a good thing? If not, your original statement ("There is no scientific data supporting grass-finished claims as to being more nutritious...") is clearly false. Let us know.

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:08 PM

"Similarly, the Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acid ratio is an important feature of fat intake in humans. The recommended daily intakes of Omega-3 fatty acids from the World Health Organization of 1.1 to 1.6 grams/day show it would require a person to eat 4 1/2 pounds of cooked grass-fed beef daily to meet the minimum daily requirement. Therefore, any speculation that eating grass-fed beef will enhance human health due to Omega-3 fatty acid consumption is clearly incomplete at best, and usually false."-Dr. John Comerford Associate Professor and Extension Beef Specialist

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:04 PM

http://blogs.das.psu.edu/tetherton/2010/10/07/telling-the-grass-fed-beef-story/

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:03 PM

It's been clearly shown repeatedly that grass-fed beef has more Omega-3 than grain-fed. And since it has about equal Omega-6, this results in a "better" O3/O6 ratio, if one considers "better" to be higher.

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:55 PM

http://www.hpj.com/archives/2010/jun10/jun7/0527StudyShowsGrassfedBeefL.cfm

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:50 PM

So Lisa how many cows do you own? Or how long have you been a large animal Vet?

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:50 PM

Recently proven not true just hype! I'll find the link and attach.

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:39 PM

I agree with Mark. And even if you didn't believe grassfed was better nutritionally, grass fed AND finished is the natural way; and better for the cows.

6fa48935d439390e223b9a053a62c981

(1676)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:33 PM

Oh yes it is true. Grass-fed beef exhibits a healthy fatty acid profile, while grain-fed beef is the stuff to avoid because of the inverted o6/o3 ratio.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:06 PM

Why do they think corn is not a grain, and what grain were they using, then, I wonder?

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:06 PM

Are you sure? I've looked into this quite a bit, and I've never heard of grain-fed, grass-finished. The whole point of giving them grain at the end is to get the cows fatter just before slaughter. Doing it the other way around would make no sense.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:05 PM

I thought all beef was grass-fed at first, including conventional grain-finished.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877

(421)

on October 20, 2010
at 07:48 PM

That's crazy pretty crappy. I agree it should be illegal to call something grass fed when its not fully.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on October 20, 2010
at 07:32 PM

Agreed, should be illegal

  • 03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

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8 Answers

5
77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 20, 2010
at 07:29 PM

Yes.

There is a farm around here that has an agreement with the local restaurants to provide "grass-fed" and "grain-finished" beef. Most of the local hippies think that it is "grass-fed" and therefore awesome.

I think it's better than nothing, but a far cry from the stuff I get from my local farmer, which is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.

IMO they shouldn't be legally allowed to call it grass-fed unless it is 100% grass-finished. Sigh.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:16 PM

Cue the libertarians to crucify me for suggesting that the government should get involved in our health and food! Attack!

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877

(421)

on October 20, 2010
at 07:48 PM

That's crazy pretty crappy. I agree it should be illegal to call something grass fed when its not fully.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 21, 2010
at 01:34 AM

I have libertarian tendencies, but I still think it's fraud to sell something that is presented as something else - ergo should be illegal. :) But of course, by that standard, I guess "whole grain" toaster pastries and "low-fat" gummy bears (presented as healthy or at least healthiER) are also fraudulent...? Guess ultimately the onus remains on us to research our foods' origins thoroughly.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on October 20, 2010
at 07:32 PM

Agreed, should be illegal

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on October 21, 2010
at 01:32 AM

I have libertarian tendencies, but I still think it's fraud to sell something that is presented as something else - ergo should be illegal. :) But of course, by that standard, I guess "whole grain" toaster pastries and "low-fat" gummy bears (presented as healthy or at least healthiER) are also fraudulent...?

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on October 21, 2010
at 01:55 PM

I was teasing our strong libertarian minority. =) At least, I THINK they're a minority here. Small but vocal.

2
D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877

on October 20, 2010
at 07:30 PM

I've been told to go only for meat that is grass fed AND grass finished! I've never heard of grain finished and grass fed (grass being more expensive on the farmer to do) but I do find meat that is grain fed and then grass finished all the time (maybe that is what your girl meant?). It's better than meat that was only grain fed but the fat is still not ideal. Just make sure you are super clear and say you want grass fed and finished. Hope this helps.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18706)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:05 PM

I thought all beef was grass-fed at first, including conventional grain-finished.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:06 PM

Are you sure? I've looked into this quite a bit, and I've never heard of grain-fed, grass-finished. The whole point of giving them grain at the end is to get the cows fatter just before slaughter. Doing it the other way around would make no sense.

D0a103cafaf4768c6dc69b1772a55877

(421)

on November 10, 2010
at 04:22 AM

I just talked to my husband about this. He says that grass-fed grain-finished is the old-fashioned way. It makes for a healthy cow but fattens it up before slaughter. Grain-fed grass-finished is rare but it exists for marketing value (getting to say grass-anything to boost the profit margin) and to increase meat safety (grass finishing restores the chemistry of the rumen and reduces the chance of E. Coli contamination).

2
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on October 20, 2010
at 07:06 PM

I always clarity grass finished when buying market meat. I buy my cow by the half from a great local farm I found on eatwild.com and have seen the cow and shaken the farmers hand.

I'm pretty paranoid about market meat... Have you seen food Inc and king corn etc?

1
1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

on October 20, 2010
at 08:09 PM

All cattle spend the majority of their lives on grass. Some are also finished on grass, but most are finished on grain-it is quicker and more efficient. There is no scientific data supporting grass-finished claims as to being more nutritious or safer. In fact there is scientific data proving that grain-finished is better for the environment. But the important thing to remember is that all cattle spend the majority of their lives on grass. If you like the TASTE of grass-finished better than grain-finished and can afford the premium then choose grass-finished. But don't be a victim of false claims as to being healthier, safer and better for the environment because it just isn't true.

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:04 PM

http://blogs.das.psu.edu/tetherton/2010/10/07/telling-the-grass-fed-beef-story/

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:39 PM

I agree with Mark. And even if you didn't believe grassfed was better nutritionally, grass fed AND finished is the natural way; and better for the cows.

Cd89ee22d6cacb5dec4753c13cde1ec1

(0)

on October 20, 2010
at 11:34 PM

First of all I would like to point out that a lot of consumers see the phrase, "off pasture" and think of concrete pads where cattle are forced into small areas. In reality the stock calves will still be in a pasture environment, the only difference is they are fed a highly ordered diet to ensure success in the market. Secondly, studies show that the overall environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gases derived from agriculture is 2.6%. This 2.6% is very low compared to the products of the automobiles that people drive. The same efforts are put into raising vegetation.

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:50 PM

Recently proven not true just hype! I'll find the link and attach.

04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

(2261)

on October 21, 2010
at 02:31 AM

Melissa, I have a small "boutique" herd of 25. I have about 12 a year for slaughter. I wanted my beef to be grassfed; it was a personal decision. I don't have an incentive to "fatten" them up on grain. I feel it's hard enough for a family to buy a (1/4)quarter and the price is based on the weight of the animal. I had a guy ask me, "don't you want to grain finish for nice marbling?" um, nope.

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:50 PM

So Lisa how many cows do you own? Or how long have you been a large animal Vet?

B22e5946e28a1845a6006737e59edfc6

(2437)

on October 20, 2010
at 10:18 PM

@Melissa, do you happen to own a meat store in the East Bay, CA? I walked into one recently with 5 friends and asked if their meat was grass fed. The gentleman told me "all beef is grass fed." I then asked if it was grass finished. The guy flipped out and started yelling and going on a huge, angry rant. All 6 of us just walked out. Each of us eat almost 2 lbs a day of organic meat, guy missed out on alot of business flipping out like a nut job

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:30 PM

OK grass fed benefit in regards to omega 3 fatty acids would require you to eat 4.5 pounds cook grass-fed daily to meet the requirements.--Even I don't love beef that much and who could afford it anyway.

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:40 PM

You won't like this study either, which shows lower Omega-6 in grass-fed cattle. Uh oh. http://www.csuchico.edu/agr/grassfedbeef/research/lipid/Garcia%202008.pdf

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:03 PM

It's been clearly shown repeatedly that grass-fed beef has more Omega-3 than grain-fed. And since it has about equal Omega-6, this results in a "better" O3/O6 ratio, if one considers "better" to be higher.

03aeff8d87a3b53a449b5b8e9158da98

(3268)

on October 20, 2010
at 11:27 PM

Btw, no one asked how in the world taking the cows off pasture and finishing them with grain (grown, fertilized, processed, and trucked from somewhere) can possibly be "better for the environment"!?!

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:14 PM

LOL. So is your position that more Omega-3 isn't a good thing? If not, your original statement ("There is no scientific data supporting grass-finished claims as to being more nutritious...") is clearly false. Let us know.

6fa48935d439390e223b9a053a62c981

(1676)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:33 PM

Oh yes it is true. Grass-fed beef exhibits a healthy fatty acid profile, while grain-fed beef is the stuff to avoid because of the inverted o6/o3 ratio.

8e3782b68e033763485472f414f507a5

(2433)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:38 PM

Excellent job avoiding the question. :-) The fact that grain-finished cattle spend most of their lives eating grass is irrelevant. The health properties of the meat start declining immediately after grains are introduced into the diet: http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 08:55 PM

http://www.hpj.com/archives/2010/jun10/jun7/0527StudyShowsGrassfedBeefL.cfm

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:33 PM

I have nothing against grass-finished beef. It is consumer choice, supply and demand. But make your choice based in scientific fact not hype. I do agree 100% that the term "grass-fed" is misleading. It should be grass-finished. But at the same time grain-fed should be grain-finished as these cattle spent the majority of their lives on pasture eating grass. I <3 Beef!

Cd89ee22d6cacb5dec4753c13cde1ec1

(0)

on October 20, 2010
at 11:23 PM

As a beef advocate, I truly appreciate Melissa's input on this thought provoking question. As a producer, I can assure you that farmers and ranchers are reading reliable studies and making sure that we are practicing the most beneficial techniques for the health of the livestock and the consumer.

1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

(34)

on October 20, 2010
at 09:08 PM

"Similarly, the Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acid ratio is an important feature of fat intake in humans. The recommended daily intakes of Omega-3 fatty acids from the World Health Organization of 1.1 to 1.6 grams/day show it would require a person to eat 4 1/2 pounds of cooked grass-fed beef daily to meet the minimum daily requirement. Therefore, any speculation that eating grass-fed beef will enhance human health due to Omega-3 fatty acid consumption is clearly incomplete at best, and usually false."-Dr. John Comerford Associate Professor and Extension Beef Specialist

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on September 01, 2011
at 08:44 AM

I was just doing some research on this myself. The short answer I believe is that there is no standard definition of the terms. Grass fed could mean the animal was fed grass at one point in its life, or exclusively. It also doesn't specify anything about whether or not it was pastured - it could have been kept in a pen and fed hay and technically it would be "grass fed", though not very healthy.

There is also grass-finished and grain-finished, I guess specifying that the animal was fattened up on that type of food, but not necessarily specifying what it ate early in its life.

Companies can charge more for meat with "grass" somewhere on the label, and are only too happy to do so, even if it doesn't mean what you think it means...

0
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 21, 2010
at 07:10 AM

Around here, yes, you have to be careful when the say 'grassfed.' As Melissa said, all cattle start on grass. I am guessing it may be too hard to raise them if they started the corn too early. Maybe they get too sick and fail to thrive? SOme people probably figured out they can use a sneaky marketing ploy by saying 'grassfed' but not giving specifics. Around here, what I look for are the words "100% grassfed" which seems to be often on the packages of meat that are also called 'organic.' Then I ask questions to make sure, and I get the name of their meat provider and look it up on the internet and make sure that is in fact what that provider sells. Short of actually visiting the cows and following them in their daily lives and then to slaughter, this is the best I yet know of to do. But don't get me wrong, I have in fact been known to politely ask to see the living conditions of meat I was about to buy. I asked my local egg provider if she would show me her chickens before I bought any eggs. I wanted to see their feed and their conditions before I was satisfied enough to buy the eggs.

F04accbde77890a6e2844b801c868599

on January 17, 2015
at 03:58 AM

This reminds me of the first episode of Portlandia. :)

0
1419647bdfdd62d62c37ef36f8ec2aca

on October 20, 2010
at 10:43 PM

Actually I'm from Texas and raise primarily registered Brahman cattle. I provide seedstock for Beef farmers and ranchers. I don't sell meat. But I am an advocate for beef and try to provide consumers with scientific facts about the nutritional benefits of eating beef and try to answer questions about how beef is grown from the pasture to the plate. There are a lot of misconceptions out there! I still maintain that there is no scientific evidence that grass-fed is healthier than grain-fed. But that is waaaay off from our original question so my work here is done! Hope you all enjoy a juicy steak packed with Zinc, Protein & Iron in your near future be it grass-fed or grain-fed. I've got newly weaned calves that need my attention. Just glad the Vegans didn't show up here to attack me! LOL!

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on October 21, 2010
at 08:22 AM

There was a quite comprehensive study done a while back, comparing grain feed to grass fed. Will post in three days time.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on September 01, 2011
at 08:39 AM

Actually there have been quite a few studies that show that grass fed beef (primarily/exclusively grass fed) is higher in vitamin E, omega 3's, and alpha-linoleic acid. And to me it simply tastes better, more beefy, not bland.

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 03, 2013
at 10:15 PM

spam .

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