0

votes

Grass fed vs. grass finished vs. ???

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 02, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Having just listened to the http://undergroundwellness.com podcast about US Wellness and their grass fed products, it left me questioning how grassed is my grass fed beef.

Has anyone already inquired with Trader Joe's or Wegman's supermarkets or Whole Food Markets to get more info about their grass fed beef?

Specifically: 1. Has the cow been fed grass it's entire lifetime? 2. How 'bout the last 140 days? 3. Any lab analysis about omega 6: omega 3 ratio, 4 etc. ???

I also learned that:

grass fed usda definition is 80% of it's life on grass and is OK for hormones & antibiotics (usda).

grass finished is better term: for last 100 days, only ate grass.

They were making some point about it being more economical for a cows up to 600 pounds to be only consuming monther's milk and grass. They said between 600-900 pounds grass feeding a cow is cheaper? (I really don't understand that point at all). Then, they say between 900-1200 pounds cows are typically fed grain.

HELP! I'm confused!

Thanks, Mike

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 06, 2012
at 04:53 PM

BTW, I really like the taste/texture of the wegmans chuck roast and 93% ground beef instead of the 85% Trader Joes ground beef.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 06, 2012
at 04:53 PM

Wegmans replied: Dear Mike, Thank you for your e-mail inquiry. Our Grass Fed, Organic Beef is 100% grass fed from start to finish. It is never grain fed at any time during its life. We do not have any lab analysis about omegas in the organic beef available.

6e5a2aab861626c1d693878875145191

(10)

on April 02, 2012
at 10:33 PM

Should say 100% grassfed farms.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 02, 2012
at 08:42 PM

I never noticed levels. Interesting. Thanks! BTW, surprisingly, their beef bones (for making broth) are from corn fed cows. I wonder what happens to all the grass fed bones?

0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on April 02, 2012
at 08:21 PM

i agree- meeting your supplier is like hunting and not like a supermarket visit. And ask questions!

78cb3c4f70de5db2adb52b6b9671894b

(5519)

on April 02, 2012
at 08:00 PM

@Chris, the "no hormones and no antibiotics ever" label has nothing to do with their feed. Grassfed would probably be labeled because it is viewed so positively by consumers. If it's not labeled, I'd assume it was fed grain

2fd93e91bb14e641a2bac9c6033e84e2

(1614)

on April 02, 2012
at 07:46 PM

Not answering your specfic question, but I know both Trader Joe's and WF's meat has specific stickers or labeling on some of their meat products that indicate "No hormones no antibiotics EVER." But I'm not sure if that's on grassfed/grassfinished exclusively or not. Hope that helps.

Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

8 Answers

best answer

2
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on April 02, 2012
at 08:37 PM

Whole Foods Level 4 Grass-Fed meats (green label) are fed and finished on grass. No grains, ever. If you check at your local WF, they'll be able to tell you (or you can read for yourself in the case) where the meat comes from.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on April 02, 2012
at 08:42 PM

I never noticed levels. Interesting. Thanks! BTW, surprisingly, their beef bones (for making broth) are from corn fed cows. I wonder what happens to all the grass fed bones?

5
4303a65967884e68bfae59817c227351

(1881)

on April 02, 2012
at 07:53 PM

This is probably the best argument for meeting your local ranchers and buying from them if you can. I'd suggest asking the butchers at the respective location you're purchasing from these questions, and possibly even getting the company/ranchers information from them and inquiring yourself. My guess is they won't know with any degree of certainty. Without your own research though, you're just going by hearsay in a corporate game of telephone.

0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on April 02, 2012
at 08:21 PM

i agree- meeting your supplier is like hunting and not like a supermarket visit. And ask questions!

2
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on April 02, 2012
at 08:14 PM

99 percent of grass fed beef is finished with corn at some point ( depends on how local the slaughterhouse is) and the untold truth is grass has a season and if you local meat comes from say NJ or NY- grass isn't part of the diet til spring. I don't mine a little finishing as long as the animal is humanely treated.

Read: 'Steak' by Mark Schatzker- he has a chapter on Tall Grass beef; it is a great read to learn about where our favorite meat comes and how from around the world:

http://ingredients-mp.blogspot.com/2011/05/steak-book-review.html

2
58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

on April 02, 2012
at 07:55 PM

I don't know about Trader Joe's or Wegmans because I don't have them where I live. But I DO have a Whole Foods and I know that my Whole Foods gets their grass fed beef from a farm about 45 minutes away. I've met the farmer and talked to him about his cattle and processing, so I know the grass fed beef at my particular Whole Foods is 100% grass fed and finished and processed on his farm, too. But its my understanding that different Whole Foods get their meat from different places, so you'd have to ask your individual store. Just talk to the meat guys at your local establishments and they should be able to tell you.

1
6b6c938c368e7a135e74c468c9ed1189

on April 03, 2012
at 07:41 AM

http://www.eatwild.com/products/index.html

This is a fantastic resource for finding REAL meat. I buy from Slanker in Texas and Hat Creek in NorCal. Cheaper and healthier and better tasting than WF or TJ's. Slanker has pastured pork too. Heaven!

1
6e5a2aab861626c1d693878875145191

on April 02, 2012
at 10:27 PM

USDA definition for grassfed says 100% forage based diet, but doesn't say antyhing about hormones, antibiotics, confinement, etc.
Grass Finished can mean anything, since it has no legal definition. The American Grassfed Association Certifies 10% grassfed farms, and has a trademarked logo to support it ( it's on their website) and the farm is actusally audited every year. Other than their mark, grassfed on a label can mean almost anything.

6e5a2aab861626c1d693878875145191

(10)

on April 02, 2012
at 10:33 PM

Should say 100% grassfed farms.

1
1ce9661622ba354c61669ffe900a01ab

on April 02, 2012
at 09:32 PM

Trader Joe's (at least in my area) sells grass fed ground beef (packages indicate grass fed). It's imported from Uruguay (and doesn't taste as good as other brands of grass fed I've tried), very "earthy" tasting (if that makes sense, lol), which some may like.

1
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on April 02, 2012
at 09:25 PM

I live in Missouri (where US Wellness Meats is based) and am a PhD student in agricultural and applied economics, and food labeling or even talking to farmers can be a really tricky business for consumers because we often don't speak the same language. If you talk to almost any farmer in Missouri about whether his or her cows are grassfed or pastured they will tell you "yes" because almost every cow born in Missouri has spent some of its life on pasture. It can be very tricky teasing out how much grass was eaten vs. how much grain and other aspects of health and wellness. I buy my beef from a local farmer whose cows spend their entire lives on pasture but are given some occasional supplemental grains "when necessary." This farmer describes his cows as grassfed (they are hormone, steroid and antibiotic-free). Another local farmer also describes his cows as grassfed, and they are pastured, yet his cows are given supplemental grain every day as part of their routine feeding and spend the last month of their life fattening up on corn. Boy! It took a lot of very patient, friendly conversation to tease those differences out.

Some brands and stores are getting better about labeling exactly how much time the animal spent on pasture and what it ate. But these labels are pretty dicey, too. I think as we keep demanding grassfed meat and clear labels, stores and farmers will respond, but it will take time. Until then, I would try not stress out too much about it. Do the best you can to find a quality meat source and be willing to expand your definition of quality if needed. The farmer who I buy meat from is a good guy and really seems to care about his animals, the environment, and his farm. I feel good buying from him and am confident his animals are at least 90% grassfed (which is good enough for me at $2.98 per pound!)

Good luck!

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!