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Grass Fed Or Grain Fed-How Do You Find Out?
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So I've been wanting to make sure my meats are from grass fed animals. I don't have reactions to meat or anything but i just felt it would possibly be the healthier option? Either way..when I look at the meat at our local A&P store I don't see anything stating one way or the other...how do we find out?

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Grass finished will state that on the package (and will be more expensive :angry: )

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Jess is spot-on. Because of the higher cost producers are only too keen to label it as organic, grass-fed. If it doesn't say it, I'd bet my bloomers it isn't. :lol:

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Because of the cost of finishing cows on grass, yes they are significantly more expensive and it will always say it on the package. Loudly and proudly. If you aren't seeing a small area in the meat section of your store dedicated to grass finished beef, it isn't selling it. You can ask if they can get it, but if they are ordering it just for you it is possible it will be even more expensive than the generally accepting expensive.

I will tell you that without a doubt the taste is exceptional and it is far superior. I will also tell you that depending on what you are doing with the meat, it may or may not matter and you may not want to spend the extra money. I would never waste the extra on something going into a casserole or stew or some such for instance unless it were super gourmet. You just won't be able to taste the difference and unless the beef is also either labeled as "natural" or "organic" (they are two different things, and again will be labeled clearly) there is no point to buying grass finished over grain finished beef. Natural and Organic beef can be either grain or grass finished, so watch that also. This link may help explain the differences best.

But, as Jester pointed out and again, you'll see a label quite clearly stating it if the beef is anything other than standard and grain finished. We are both using the term grain finished rather than grain fed, because cows are all started out to pasture. It's the last few months where they're fattened up for slaughter that determine the grain/grass issue on this label. As you an imagine, making a cow fat, while grain free would be significantly more expensive. You need more land and that land, depending on the weather and area can need extensive maintenance. Much more pricey than stuffing a cow in a barn and stuffing it's face with hay and feed.

Edit to add: I want to point out that there is nothing inherently healthier about grass finished over grain finished beef. On the other hand, if you read up on that link about "natural" and "organic" you may decide one of those options is healthier for you. Both of those can be done both grain and grass finished.

Edited by Adalaide
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Much more pricey than stuffing a cow in a barn and stuffing it's face with hay and feed.

Not to mention the hormones and antibiotics :unsure:

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Not to mention the hormones and antibiotics :unsure:

I grew up on a cattle farm and people are completely up in arms about this, when not all farms and ranches use them unnecessarily. At any rate, grass vs. grain finished has nothing to do with hormones and antibiotics. Unless labeled as being "natural" or "organic" both grass and grain finished beef are given (or potentially giving depending on the farm/ranch) antibiotics and hormones. While grass fed is tastier, it is, by itself not inherently healthier which I pointed out. People seem to be under this misconception that grass finished beef is hormone and antibiotic free which is simply not true.

In addition, cows are not rounded up, stuffed into a stall and literally tethered there and fed grain all day every day. They will be given barn access at finish and fed grains, but will still have room to move and come and go as they please. They eat as much as a cow likes to eat but are never force fed. Another misconception is that grain fed beef are only fed grains. Again, all cows are started at pasture. It is only at the end, during what I'll call "the fattening" that they are fed grains. Before that all cows are 100% grass fed and are all completely identical with the only differences between them being whether they are standard, natural or organic cows.

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While grass fed is tastier, it is, by itself not inherently healthier which I pointed out. People seem to be under this misconception that grass finished beef is hormone and antibiotic free which is simply not true.

It is if it is organic as well, which applies to most of the "grass-fed" beef I have seen in markets. Producers who go this route tend to be into organics, perhaps?

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Imo, the best meat comes from a family owned butcher, no added water or crud, and fresh as fresh can be. A bit more expensive, but the quality is excellent.

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Imo, the best meat comes from a family owned butcher, no added water or crud, and fresh as fresh can be. A bit more expensive, but the quality is excellent.

I was gonna say something like this. I like to buy my beef from a farm that I can go to and see the cows in the field. There's one that sells at different farmers' markets, so I can go to a number of different places to get my meat, depending on the day.

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I live in cattle country. There is a feed lot a few miles from here. The cattle (hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them) are not in a barn, they are in what was once a field, with troughs full of grain (corn). They are up to their knees in their own manure. You can smell the feedlot from miles away. They just stand there and eat and poop until they are taken to market.

I don't eat beef from a grocery store. Ever. If I can get it from a small ranch, I do. The difference in taste is amazing. But most of the time I buy bison. Grass-fed, no hormones or antibiotics, low fat and delicious. Expensive, even here in bison country, but worth every penny.

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I live in cattle country. There is a feed lot a few miles from here. The cattle (hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of them) are not in a barn, they are in what was once a field, with troughs full of grain (corn). They are up to their knees in their own manure. You can smell the feedlot from miles away. They just stand there and eat and poop until they are taken to market.

This makes me want to cry. Or scream. Or throttle a farmer. No cow should ever be treated this way. This is, in my experience, the exception rather than the rule though. While I do make grocery store purchases I do agree that if you can locate a local farm or butcher even who can source your meat you will get something far tastier.

The farm I grew up on wasn't antibiotic free, or organic. We do give our cows grains over the winter because otherwise they'd starve and we supplement with hay even in the summer because the cows just seem happier. But we never give antibiotics unless our cows are individually sick, which doesn't happen often. We have 100s of acres and only like 100 cows, so plenty of room even if we have it divided up into 4 sections of grazing. The barn is regularly cleaned out and the manure used as natural fertilizer for the gardens and fields. We bale our own hay, grow our own corn for the cows, but do buy feed for the winters.

Cows treated this way, with with the respect and dignity our food deserves will always taste better. If you can find a local farm look for this. You want beef that has been treated well since birth, that is what will be healthy and taste good. Grass or grain is far less important than how it is treated overall.

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I stopped buying grocery store meat after this last round (still using up the last of the chicken though). I saw meat that was.... green? in some places and was fatty and unappitizing. I'd rather pay more for good quality. For example i payed about.... errr... $12 or so for 3lbs of ground serlion. The grocery was selling it for about 5 per lb.

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What an interesting thread-- thanks everybody, I learned a lot:)

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Grass fed & finished off beef is the best of the best...no comparison to grocery store meat...Also shorter legged cattle make for a better eating meat.. I was informed of this just in the past six months by farmers....

Grass fed beef can be grass fed until almost the end of life then they can be fed grain to fatten them before market.

Grass fed & finished beef is only fed grasses from birth to the end of life...

We always buy from the farm & can even pick which one we want ( we have never done that) but its permitted..Grass fed beef is so much more healthier , more omega's less cholestral

less cooking time......

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Isn't that the coolest ever mamaw? You can pick your own cow. If you buy from a farm directly and have room in your deep freeze for a whole cow, or want to split a cow with a friend or neighbor or something, you can just go pick out your living cow to eat. It isn't for everyone to see the living animal and know it will be slaughtered, at your request, for your dinner table. But I just love it! I've participated in every part of the cattle farming experience from birthing to slaughtering to butchering, even slogging out the barn. (Even falling from the third story of the barn only to turn out thankful it was close to time to clean it... I had to be hosed off naked in the back yard. My mom is so mean!) If you aren't feint of heart and can handle the idea of picking it out, just like a lobster house, I highly recommend it!

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Google "feed lots in America", but only if you have a strong stomach and don't mind the nightmares you will get tonight. I guarantee you'll never buy grocery store beef again.

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Yes, it is cool to be able to pick your own beef... I do go to the pasture & usually pick three & tell them to take one when I'm not there !!!!I just couldn't mark one specific for me... I wouldn''t be able to eat it!! I just place my fall order for a Scotthish Highlander & these guys are so cute * gentle---- I didn't pick myself....

I could turn anything into a pet so it's hard for me....

When we were kids we used to jump out of the second story of the barn into a hay pile--- so much fun until my girlfriend jumped & a black snake was in the hay & bit her in the eye.. Man, we got out of there fast, screaming all the way to the house. Luckily she /eye got better & no permanent damage.... that ended our jumping into a hay pile forever.....

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Yes, it is cool to be able to pick your own beef... I do go to the pasture & usually pick three & tell them to take one when I'm not there !!!!I just couldn't mark one specific for me... I wouldn''t be able to eat it!! I just place my fall order for a Scotthish Highlander & these guys are so cute * gentle---- I didn't pick myself....

I could turn anything into a pet so it's hard for me....

When we were kids we used to jump out of the second story of the barn into a hay pile--- so much fun until my girlfriend jumped & a black snake was in the hay & bit her in the eye.. Man, we got out of there fast, screaming all the way to the house. Luckily she /eye got better & no permanent damage.... that ended our jumping into a hay pile forever.....

Well I'D be traumatized!!!

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I stepped on a snake in my bear feet in our daffodil patch. To this day I still have panic attacks from snakes. Even a picture online is enough to get my blood pressure up and my heart racing. Rubber snake at the toy store? Panic attack and assurances from friends that no one needs to call 911. I can't even imagine the trauma of being bitten... in the eye. Omg, the thought is enough to make me shudder. For real, I shuddered when I read that.

That's cute though how you pick out a few and you're like uh... one of them is probably good. If I hadn't grown up on a cattle farm where cows are food I'm not sure I could do it. I bottle fed and saved the runt of a litter of pigs. For a whole winter after we butchered I wouldn't eat bacon or ham lest I eat my beloved animal. For some reason though I just couldn't keep myself away from the scrapple. Yum!!!

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It isn't for everyone to see the living animal and know it will be slaughtered, at your request, for your dinner table.

Um...that would be me. :huh: There are just certain things that I just don't need to know. :ph34r:

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I stepped on a snake in my bear feet in our daffodil patch.

So, is there a lot of fur on your bear feet? Does the bear regret that you have them? :P

Seriously, though, that would unnerve me.

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Oh really? :3 When i lived in FL we had this gaint king snake that used to hang around (black and could easily stretch the width of the drive way). It also liked to look into the kitchen window. One day i was going in the back yard where we had one of those small pools set up. I ended up jumping over the bloody thing. Not agressive at all. It also kept all the poisonus ones away (we used to have some show up and chase us).

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When I came to the U.S. (from a non-snake country - yep, St. Patrick visited NZ too) I was scared sh*tless of snakes. On our drive across country (I was a non-driver then) hubs pulled over in Nevada for 40 winks and I was afraid to get out of the car, seeing snakes and scorpions, and tarantulas too, under every sagebush. It was only when a yucky bug flew in that I set foot on Nevada soil :D . However, after 40 odd years in CA I developed a tolerance. I recall one beautiful snake in our back yard, moving at top speed (and that was fast), which I subsequently identified as a San Francisco racer - he had an incredible turquoise belly. And then there was the gopher snake who used to coil himself around one of my rose bushes waiting for..... well, birds it would appear; scared me into the following week when I watered him once :rolleyes:

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I think there are lots of things to factor in when buying food for your family. I just wanted to throw out there with regard to the feed of the cattle, are you worried about them eating wheat grain? As far as I know, cattle is only usually fed corn and soybeans. When I have the resources and the access I like to get organic meat for my family but I don't think the feed of cattle should influence the gluten-free diet.

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I don't think, for me, it is the feed, since I eat pigs that are fed goodness knows what! I believe for me it is the hormones and antibiotics that go along with feed lot raising that causes me to be a total wired insomniac after eating regular beef.

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