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What should grass-fed beef look like?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 19, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Beef in the supermarkets is red. When I bought grass-fed frozen meat it was kinda brown. I bought meat at an organic store now, I asked them if it was grass-fed and they didn't know. The color is close to grey. Does that mean it's not grass-fed? And more specifically, what should grass-fed beef look like?

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on December 20, 2011
at 09:54 PM

Supermarket beef has red dye #40 and CO2 added to it so that it looks pretty. I would have freaked out completely if I asked an organic grocer if their beef was grass or grain fed and got 'I dont know'. Its bad enough the prices are usually a rip off but to get suckered into buying CAFO beef at an organic grocer? Anything non grass fed is garbage if looking for quality beef.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 28, 2011
at 11:07 AM

I asked the butcher about the difference in the colour of the meat and he told me it is to do with how long the meat is aged for. The longer it is aged for the darker it gets.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:52 PM

The grass fed beef is 100% grass fed.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:42 PM

You can't tell cause its grain finished and therefore robbe of most of the good stuff. Healthy cow looks way different. Our local farmers market had the 2 side by side and grass Finished is way darker.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 20, 2011
at 07:41 AM

If they didn't know, it almost certainly wasn't grass-fed. It is usually prominently displayed on the package so they can get their premium price for it. I've seen a lot of organic meat lately, but most of it boasts of being "soy fed" (Arghhh!)

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on August 19, 2011
at 09:06 PM

The oxidation changes the color of beef from purplish to brown to red to gray. If you've ever gotten a package of ground beef and found it brown inside, the store isn't trying to stiff you by hiding old meat in the middle; it's actually fresher than a package that's red the whole way through. You can prove this by leaving the exposed brown area sit for 10 to 15 minutes; it will start to turn red.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on August 19, 2011
at 06:03 PM

You should be able to see the yellow color of the fat yourself. For what it's worth, I don't think that applies to sheep and goat meat due to differences in beta carotene metabolism. So, my 100% grass-fed lamb meat will always have very white fat and the grass-fed beef fat next to it will be noticeably more yellow.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on August 19, 2011
at 04:29 PM

Well I asked them if the fat turned yellow, if the meat tasted good to them, and they said it was really good. Of course, they're selling it.

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5 Answers

5
Medium avatar

on August 19, 2011
at 04:02 PM

If the people in the store don't even know what they're selling, I would avoid that store.

I need to be able to know exactly where my beef came from, and exactly what it was fed, or I won't eat it.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on August 19, 2011
at 06:03 PM

You should be able to see the yellow color of the fat yourself. For what it's worth, I don't think that applies to sheep and goat meat due to differences in beta carotene metabolism. So, my 100% grass-fed lamb meat will always have very white fat and the grass-fed beef fat next to it will be noticeably more yellow.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on August 19, 2011
at 04:29 PM

Well I asked them if the fat turned yellow, if the meat tasted good to them, and they said it was really good. Of course, they're selling it.

2
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on August 19, 2011
at 03:47 PM

The color you're talking about is due to oxygen and not as a result of grass or grain feeding. As far as I know it doesn't really change anything nutritionally.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d

(3499)

on August 19, 2011
at 09:06 PM

The oxidation changes the color of beef from purplish to brown to red to gray. If you've ever gotten a package of ground beef and found it brown inside, the store isn't trying to stiff you by hiding old meat in the middle; it's actually fresher than a package that's red the whole way through. You can prove this by leaving the exposed brown area sit for 10 to 15 minutes; it will start to turn red.

1
Fae0d988575838263e670634d6d5937c

on August 02, 2013
at 08:05 PM

My mother used to raise grass-fed cattle on a ranch in Alabama and said grass-fed beef is grey.

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 19, 2011
at 10:58 PM

They add a chemical to make the meat look extra red at the grocery store. When I buy grassfed straight from the farm, unless it is instantly vacuum sealed, it is often brownish just because it has been exposed to air. When I get grassfed at our local co-op they've sprayed it with that reddening agent, you can tell if you cut into it. So, I don't think color would really matter. Although, I have reflexively pulled away from grey meat. It might've been fine, but it just didn't look like it had much life left in it.

0
6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 19, 2011
at 09:26 PM

You really can't tell. We have a top quality butcher at our local markets (the biggest in the southern hemisphere, and frigging awesome), who stocks amazing grass fed and grain finished beef. You cannot tell the difference by the look. This being said, over here all of our beef is grass fed, and only grain finished. That might make a difference, so if you are in the US and you are comparing CAFO and grass fed there may be a difference.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:52 PM

The grass fed beef is 100% grass fed.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on August 20, 2011
at 01:42 PM

You can't tell cause its grain finished and therefore robbe of most of the good stuff. Healthy cow looks way different. Our local farmers market had the 2 side by side and grass Finished is way darker.

6b8d12fc3e43179f9ae1765a4d1a9dc2

(5914)

on August 28, 2011
at 11:07 AM

I asked the butcher about the difference in the colour of the meat and he told me it is to do with how long the meat is aged for. The longer it is aged for the darker it gets.

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