I am so passionate about sharing this information with you! So many of us don’t know the difference between “grain-fed”, “grass-fed”, or “grass-fed & finished” meats. It doesn’t take articles or science to conclude that animal raised in their natural environment would produce a healthier product for our consumption.
Below you will see how grain fed or even grain-finished beef can be hazardous to your health, and how choosing grass-fed and finished beef can save your health! Hopefully, by the end of this post, you can feel confident in how you choose the beef you feed your family.
Grass-fed meats will supply 100% of your body’s nutrient requirements in perfect balance. There’s an essay called “Grass-Fed Beef in a Nutshell” that contains so many great points about why that statement is correct. I would like to highlight a few of those points.
The August 1998 issue of the Angus Journal included a supplement titled Feeding Options. In the supplement’s first article, written by Troy Smith, there’s an interesting line. “For the ruminant animal, there’s nothing more natural than range.” (“Range” means “large pasture.”) Just think about this for a moment. Notice the words “natural” and “range.” Also, “there’s nothing more natural” means that every other situation is less natural. Probably the least natural cattle feeds are waste products from bread plants, potato processors, breweries, ethanol plants, and candy factories; corn silage; and GRAIN. Yes, grain!
In that essay, there’s a great chart:
Time Magazine recently put out a great article about grass-fed and finished cattle and this is a portion of what they shared. Seems that there are health concerns for you and me that we are not publicly aware of in this system.
“… feeding steers grain and supplements can create safety issues–for cattle and humans. Biologically, cattle are ruminants, exquisitely evolved to graze grass, and researchers have found that a grain diet raises the acidity in steers’ guts. This breeds an acid-resistant form of E. coli that can spread from feces-contaminated carcasses to meat. Although USDA inspections are supposed to detect E. coli, the system is not perfect. In 1993, 600 people in Seattle got sick and three children died after eating E. coli– tainted hamburger. Since then, outbreaks have triggered more recalls and led to a federal recommendation that consumers cook beef thoroughly. According to USDA research, more than half of grain-fed cattle have been found to have acid-resistant E. coli in their feces; the proportion drops to 15% if they are switched to hay.
Mad-cow disease, which can jump to humans in the form of a fatal brain illness, is another concern. It’s believed to be a product of serving cattle parts to cattle. The practice was banned in the U.S. in 1997, but beef tallow is still allowed in feed (along with other “supplements” like chicken feathers)–a source of continuing controversy.
By many accounts, the grain diet contributes to one more public-health problem. Overuse of antibiotics has caused more and more bacteria to become resistant to treatment, a factor in the deaths of more than 60,000 Americans each year. An estimated 70% of the nation’s antibiotics are fed to livestock and poultry to prevent illnesses and promote growth. Some 300 organizations, including the American Medical Association, have called for an end to nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal feed. The NCBA counters that antibiotics are judiciously applied. But the line between necessary treatment and routine use is blurred by the fact that a grain-based diet often leads to stomach ulcers and liver abscesses in cattle–a problem that has fueled the wrath of animal-rights groups. Grass-fed steers rarely require antibiotics.
Consumers seeking to avoid chemicals have turned to certified-organic beef in recent years, but often it is merely feedlot beef that is fed pesticide-free grain. Grass-fed advocates say such beef does not offer the improved fat profile and other benefits of pasture-raised cattle. A fight has erupted recently over whether milk from feedlot cows can legally bear the USDA organic label. “We need to raise animals on species-appropriate diets,” says Jo Robinson, founder of Eatwild.com a website that links consumers to some 800 grass-fed-beef ranches.” (read more here)
I personally support a farm locally. It is T & D Farms, in the North Carolina area! We feel safe and secure with them. If you’d like to find a farm for your family’s grass-fed and finished beef, go to EatWild.com.
Here is a great chart explaining how a company like T & D Farms compares to another. We will keep the name of the other ranch anonymous at this time.
I encourage you to read these articles in their entirety, and do further research on your own about the beef you’re consuming. There’s more information here, a collection of essays for your further learning. This is merely a few points for you to savour.