2

votes

Other than price, whats the problem with whole food's grass fed beef?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 25, 2013 at 11:40 PM

I keep hearing a lot of negative feedback on the grass fed beef from whole foods.

I actually 2 speicifc commentsd from this site- one was saying that whole foods grass fed doesnt taste "right" compared to other grass fed, and another comment posted by somebody who said they know people who work at the meat section at whole foods who said they wouldnt eat the meat there.

Why is this? My whole foods has 100% grass fed/finished beef, is it somehow inferior in quality to say u.s wellness?

59fa7cd87fb9d669adf21e5cf3e7ada5

on April 09, 2013
at 08:40 PM

I like to interact with the actual cow before I purchase. Get a feel for its disposition. Does it seem content? Does it seem stressed?

Ca71bbbf420ac8abfad4c5185ecddf31

on March 28, 2013
at 03:32 AM

Local farmers are just like anyone else, looking to make a buck. I've had local farmers tell me different things each time I go to the farmers market often. They may say grass fed, but how do you really know. At least with the 5 step program there is some regulation.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:31 PM

I think that local farmers are often more in touch with humane and healthy ways to raise the animals, but usually can't afford the process for being organic. Grass-fed is poorly defined and regulated: http://www.grass-fed-beef-101.com/definition_of_grass_fed_beef.html

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:30 PM

Well in the case of chickens for example, organic means no growth hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified feed, or animal by-products, which sounds good. It also means cage-free, which really means almost nothing (the chickens are not literally in cages, but could be confined just as much as if they were) and free-range (which means "access to the outside" which could just mean there is a single door somewhere in a crowded hen house). Organic beef could be 100% grain fed and confined. So just seeing the organic label doesn't immediately mean the quality you'd hope for.

1f17fe8167fa0e9b98a06902ea261502

(80)

on March 26, 2013
at 04:38 PM

I thought organic was defined and regulated, at least in the US? Or am I missing something?

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on March 26, 2013
at 02:28 AM

They probably wouldn't eat it because it's so damn expensive..

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8 Answers

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on March 26, 2013
at 01:16 PM

I am just skeptical of the "grass fed" label at any large store, just like "organic". It is not precisely defined or regulated, and the stores know that it is good for marketing, so they tend to blur and corrupt the meaning of it so that they can put a label on the package and charge more for it. Not saying that Whole Foods definitely does this, but I am just skeptical until convinced otherwise.

You would think that "grass fed" always means that the animal has only eaten grass. Of course it isn't that simple. Sometimes they are given grass when they are young and then fattened up on grain for slaughter, known as "grain finished". Other times they're fed grass, but with "access to grain" which means there's grain there somewhere on the farm if they want it, in which case it isn't easy to tell how much they have. In other cases they're started on grain and given grass before slaughter, known as "grass finished", I think the point here is to just be able to say that the animal ate grass for marketing purposes. Then there are other factors such as how much space the animals had, how much exercise, what breed they are, whether they were given antibiotics or hormones, etc.

Would all of these feeding techniques constitute "grass fed"? Perhaps, unless there are some laws or regulations that keep the details straight.

Truly 100% grass-fed, free-range meat tends to be leaner, gamier, and tougher than grain-fed, hence less marketable to consumers who have grown used to red meat that is pale pink, tender, and bland. It also takes longer to fatten up an animal on an all-grass diet when they get a lot of exercise (think about it, less exercise means you get to slaughter weight faster). One farmer I talked to likened fattening up a steer on grain to fattening up a teenager on Twinkies.

A lot of people are all hip about grass-fed beef until they try a tough, livery lean piece and realize that it takes quite a bit more care in the kitchen and different expectations at the table to eat it on the regular. Also that if you really want to be paleo about it you should be eating the whole animal including the organs and bone marrow and not just juicy rib-eyes.

I recently bought a half steer of grass-fed beef from a farmer and talked with him for about an hour about how he raised the animals, what he did and didn't do, etc. and was impressed. However he admitted that the way he raises beef makes it harder to make a living, and he sometimes sells his grass-started steer to other farmers where they are grain-finished, because there is such a larger market for grain-fed beef. Farmers trying to raise truly grass-fed beef are going against the grain (pun intended) and most eventually succumb to market pressures and give the consumers what they want.

1f17fe8167fa0e9b98a06902ea261502

(80)

on March 26, 2013
at 04:38 PM

I thought organic was defined and regulated, at least in the US? Or am I missing something?

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:30 PM

Well in the case of chickens for example, organic means no growth hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified feed, or animal by-products, which sounds good. It also means cage-free, which really means almost nothing (the chickens are not literally in cages, but could be confined just as much as if they were) and free-range (which means "access to the outside" which could just mean there is a single door somewhere in a crowded hen house). Organic beef could be 100% grain fed and confined. So just seeing the organic label doesn't immediately mean the quality you'd hope for.

0
1089c6cedbcbaaf3a92d426cc0154482

on July 24, 2013
at 02:07 AM

I live in NYC and all the Whole Foods grass fed beef comes from a local farm- http://www.simplygrazin.com/. I think it tastes great, but I haven't eaten conventional meat in years so my taste buds might be corrupted...

0
907e0ac5db5d29eeda5de8e2465668ff

on July 24, 2013
at 01:15 AM

the marbling is fat which usualy comes from feeds like grains, corn etc. you should look for deep red meat with lots of slivers of fat (marbling like squiggly lines) and decent fat around the edge of the cut to cut off after cooking. you dont want large areas of fat (like white puddles among the red). now corn and grains are the some the highest gmo contaminated foods. thats why its best to get grass-fed/grain finished or all out organic. too much grains and corn will produce larger chunks of fat throughout while grain finished in the last 2/3 or less of its life will yield better marbling and deep red color. it is best this way because, while cooking, the slivers of fat can blend with the meat better creating more flavor and richer taste. however, the question will always remain because cant see what they feed them, we dont know.. these days it seems people say anything is organic.. when you think of the odds of getting gmo foods without even realizing it, it seems easily possible for any provider of meat to lie about their fed process/ingredients. ill trust grass fed and organic tho until given a reason not to. just gotta hope its legit, right?

0
3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on March 26, 2013
at 05:07 PM

The main issue I've seen with grass fed beef is that it's a bit difficult to cook and tastes slightly different. After growing up with "corn fed" beef, we're used to a lot of marbling of fat in the muscle and a certain taste. When you cut out a lot of the bad fats, the flavor changes and the cooking parameters change up. I've found it very difficult to cook a grass fed steak on the grill, and it feels a bit dissapointing when you want a big juicy steak. It's also very easy to overcook.

On the other hand, we've found that using grass fed ground beef is an awesome alternative to regular beef. When you make chili or spaghetti sauce (use on spaghetti squash or other non-pasta alternative) it tastes no different than regular beef. When you stir fry sliced grass fed beef, or chunks in a veggie mix, the differences dissapear.

I guess if I worked at whole foods and compared their aged NY strip done on a grill vs local grass fed beef, I'd probably wouldn't want the grass fed either. It does appear to me, though, that the average Whole Foods worker doesn't understand the importance of grass fed beef. After all, half the store is whole grain, sugary products. Organic, probably, but healthy, probably not.

0
6f4425e3c7dc0efe60da531c5d991487

on March 26, 2013
at 03:18 PM

If only meat could talk.... By the time beef winds up in your local Whole Foods chain, god only knows where it's been.
Buying local from a farm where you can actually see their operation and speak to employees/owners is your best option, outside of raising your own.

59fa7cd87fb9d669adf21e5cf3e7ada5

on April 09, 2013
at 08:40 PM

I like to interact with the actual cow before I purchase. Get a feel for its disposition. Does it seem content? Does it seem stressed?

0
Ca71bbbf420ac8abfad4c5185ecddf31

on March 26, 2013
at 02:36 PM

http://www.globalanimalpartnership.org/

This seems rather regulated to me. I would trust local farmers less. They are the ones who aren't regulated. While whole foods can be expensive, at least they ground their meat up in store so its pretty fresh, you can get it wrapped in paper to avoid the estrogen filled plastic wrapping of many farmers markets.

For my money nothing better than whole foods around.

Ca71bbbf420ac8abfad4c5185ecddf31

on March 28, 2013
at 03:32 AM

Local farmers are just like anyone else, looking to make a buck. I've had local farmers tell me different things each time I go to the farmers market often. They may say grass fed, but how do you really know. At least with the 5 step program there is some regulation.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on March 26, 2013
at 10:31 PM

I think that local farmers are often more in touch with humane and healthy ways to raise the animals, but usually can't afford the process for being organic. Grass-fed is poorly defined and regulated: http://www.grass-fed-beef-101.com/definition_of_grass_fed_beef.html

0
0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on March 26, 2013
at 04:30 AM

The $25/lb steak tastes just fine. I think their little numbering system signs do refer to it as "pasture centered" or something like that - indicating grain-finished?

However, I think every restaurant, grocery store, butcher shop/department, etc - will have employees that would "never" eat there.

I'd say the same about half a dozen restaurants I've worked in - but in reality, I've still eaten scores of meals in, and if I didn't know what happened behind the scenes; would there be any actual, physical, risk? No.

Meh. Squeamish bunch: us over-fed, over-provided-for, first-world yuppies.

On the contrary: I don't trust WholePaycheck™ one damned bit.

0
39f961d6f1fdfd18609eca08cb9aecad

on March 26, 2013
at 12:32 AM

id like to know this myself

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