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Grass Fed Or Grain Fed-How Do You Find Out?


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#1 123glldd

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 11:40 AM

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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#2 Jestgar

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:27 PM

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

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:39 PM

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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Neroli


"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." - Albert Einstein

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#4 Adalaide

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:41 PM

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, 13 September 2012 - 12:43 PM.

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#5 mushroom

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 12:43 PM

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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Neroli


"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." - Albert Einstein

"Life is not weathering the storm; it is learning to dance in the rain"

"Whatever the question, the answer is always chocolate." Nigella Lawson

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Lactose free 1990
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Diagnosed psoriatic arthritis 2004
Self-diagnosed gluten intolerant, gluten-free Nov. 2007
Soy free March 2008
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Potato starch free July 2009
(Totally) corn free Nov. 2009
Legume free March 2010
Now tolerant of lactose

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#6 Adalaide

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:07 PM

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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"Well you don't look stupid, looks can be deceiving."

 

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#7 mushroom

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 01:52 PM

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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Neroli


"Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted." - Albert Einstein

"Life is not weathering the storm; it is learning to dance in the rain"

"Whatever the question, the answer is always chocolate." Nigella Lawson

------------

Caffeine free 1973
Lactose free 1990
(Mis)diagnosed IBS, fibromyalgia '80's and '90's
Diagnosed psoriatic arthritis 2004
Self-diagnosed gluten intolerant, gluten-free Nov. 2007
Soy free March 2008
Nightshade free Feb 2009
Citric acid free June 2009
Potato starch free July 2009
(Totally) corn free Nov. 2009
Legume free March 2010
Now tolerant of lactose

Celiac.com - Celiac Disease Board Moderator

#8 shadowicewolf

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:12 PM

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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#9 Jestgar

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:33 PM

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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#10 bartfull

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:03 PM

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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#11 Adalaide

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:36 PM

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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#12 shadowicewolf

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:00 PM

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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#13 jerseyangel

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:02 PM

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

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:25 PM

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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#15 Adalaide

 
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Posted 13 September 2012 - 07:13 PM

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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"You don't look sick or anything"

"Well you don't look stupid, looks can be deceiving."

 

Celiac DX Dec 2012

CRPS DX March 2014





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