What do you think of when you hear the words ‘grass-fed’? Or when you think about how organic beef is raised? If you imagine rolling green pastures and long, lazy days grazing, then this one’s for you. It turns out, you can’t always take a label at face value. We think everyone has the right to know what their label means. That’s why we’ve detailed why “grass-fed” doesn’t always cut it.
Why reading labels matters
When the organic food label got its start in 1990, organic farmers wanted to differentiate their practices and products. But the “variations in the definition of organic from state to state” made it difficult to regulate. This lack of regulation led to any company being able to claim organic on its label whether it meets the rigorous standards or not. That means that beef and other ‘organic’ products you find in the store could say they’re all-natural, organic, certified, or any number of things and they’re only telling the partial truth.
Some ways you can interpret the label is by understanding organic certifications and reading the fine print. And look for terms like 100% grass-fed and finished, third-party verified, GAP4 certified, and USDA certified organic.
The difference between grass-fed and grass-finished
For now, let’s focus on the first part. Specifically, the difference between a label that says “grass-fed” and one that says “100% grass-fed and finished.”
Grass (and grain) fed
An animal doesn’t need to eat grass its entire life to have the “grass-fed” label. Due to a lack of regulation, “as long as the cow was fed greenery at one point in its life, it can be labeled as grass-fed beef.” At one point in its life. That could be as little as one day spent grazing. More often, these animals started with a grass diet but ate grains for the remainder of their lives. So the label should technically include “grain-finished beef.”
100% grass-fed and finished
When the label gives not only the percentage but also says “finished” it means that from birth to butcher block, that animal ate a purely grass diet. With this diet, the meat “is ultimately the most nutrient-dense beef you can buy, and ideally what to look for when you purchase beef.”
At Oreganic™, we are proud of our process and stand by every label and certification we’ve earned. We meet the rigorous protocols and yearly audits to bear the USDA certified organic label. And we follow strict standards for our animals’ diets and welfare. Our animals live up to their 100% grass-fed and finished label and eat only certified organic grasses in open pastures their entire lives. Unlike many commercial animals, our animals never spend time in stressful, cramped feedlots.
We ensure the top care of our animals and top quality for our customers. And we raise our beef in the most natural way possible because we know stress-free, happy cattle produce better tasting meat (that’s better for you, too).
Making a healthier choice
The next time you see an organic label, make sure you understand what it’s saying––especially with subtleties like the animal’s diet. And the next time you’re craving a burger or prime rib, know that Oreganic™ stands by our labels and processes.