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  • No Added Hormones  

  • 100% Grass-Fed

  • Grass Finished

  • Dry Aged

  • Pasture Raised 

  • No Antibiotics

Understanding Grass-Fed Beef 

Grass-fed beef has many benefits that their counterpart, grain-fed, simply does not have. Later on, we will touch humaneness issues, differentiate different types of grass-fed beef and take a look at the beef industry as a whole. For now, let's look at the benefits of eating grass-fed beef. 

 

To being, we would like to share that there is no "correct" preference of beef. You may prefer the flavor and texture of grain-fed beef to grass-fed, this is fine by us. Though we firmly believe grass-fed beef is the way to go, we understand that people differ in their opinions on this subject. As you will see, our issues lie mostly with the treatment of animals and forcing them against their natural physiology. Also, towards the bottom of this page, you will read about the labeling of beef. If there is one take away from this, we hope that it is that consumers are currently not given the opportunity to make an informed purchase. With the information below you will be able to make a more informed purchase or at least know what to avoid depending on your preferences.  

 

Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

 

  • There is a 2-3x higher concentration of CLA's in grass-fed when compared to grain-fed. 

    • CLA's include your omega-6 & omega-3 fatty acids. 

    • These essential fatty acids are available only from certain foods and have been linked to reduced cancer risk, reduced cardiovascular disease risk, and better cholesterol levels

    • It has been found by several studies that the best ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is between 1:1 and 4:1.2. Grass-fed beef has a ratio of 1.53:1 vs grain-fed which is a much less healthy ratio of 7.65:1

  • There are also much higher levels of antioxidants in grass-fed including vitamins E & A, superoxide dismutase and catalase.

    • The latter two antioxidants are enzymes that scavenge free radicals.

    • Antioxidants, like those present in grass-fed beef, also contribute to overall meat quality by reducing spoilage from lipid peroxidation. 

  • Higher levels of beta-carotene, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium are all found in grass-fed beef as well.

 

Grain-Fed Beef Issues

 

With a general understanding of the benefits of grass-fed beef, it is important to understand why there is such a difference. The benefits of grass-fed beef arise primarily because the cattle are allowed to grow and graze as they would naturally. Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) are feedlots where cattle, among other animals, are kept in pins and given little room to do much other than eat their grain. With the closeness of these cattle, standing on dirt, wood, and even concrete, there is usually a build-up of mud and manure. Having the cattle stand on this consistently can and does lead to issues such as foot rot and digital dermatitis. These lead to swelling, lameness and great discomfort. Moreover, there are is an issue for grain-fed cattle called acidosis. Cattle are not naturally meant to consume grain, their ruminant system is not equipped to handle it. Acidosis arises when the starches in grain ferment which leads to stomach bloating and even sudden death. 

 

To prevent these issues in CAFO's, they came up with a "solution." Antibiotics. Most operations are very aware of the potential problems that will inevitably lead to health issues, so over 73% of CAFO's preemptively use antibiotics on their cattle. As with humans, overprescription of antibiotics naturally leads to more advanced and resistant strains of bacteria. These strains can spread to humans through the soil and water systems. These antibiotics have also been found in the packaged meat for sale. 

 

Solutions: 

 

  • Let a cow be a cow.

  • A 100% grass diet for cattle almost completely eliminates the risk of acidosis (there are specific grasses & legumes that will cause this, however.) 

  • Eating grain is simply not part of cattle's physiology. 

  • If the cattle are enjoying a grass diet, they are or should be, grazing an open pasture. This reduces the issues with foot rot and digital dermatitis that occurs in CAFO systems. 

  • All of this means there is ZERO need for preemptive antibiotics on any scale.

 

Cattle do get sicks, however. Antibiotics are and should be used in certain situations for the welfare of the animal. With this, we will label and keep track of any animal that has been administered antibiotics and they will NEVER be sold under our label. 

 

Labeling of Beef

 

Thus far you have been reading the term, "grass-fed," and a certain image or thought comes to mind when you hear this term. However, this term can mean different things to different people and is often used in an attempt to mislead the consumer who will assume the best. You should NOT assume anything, even from beef that is labeled "grass-fed" and a product of the "USA."

Grass-fed means just that, the animal consumed grass. All cattle are technically "grass-fed," as they generally start their lives on a field after birth before they are moved to feedlots where they are grain-finished. Now, even with grass-finished beef, or 100% grass-fed cattle, you would assume that what you are purchasing is beef that was produced by cattle grazing in the open on a field of grasses, its a nice image isn't it? There is a relatively new tactic though, grass-fed feedlots. So while this beef can claim all that your 100% grass-fed beef can, these cattle were raised in the same situation as all CAFO cattle. All of the same medical and humane treatment issues apply here as they are just fed grass pellets instead of grain. Moreover, "pasture raised" is yet another label you could run into. As I am sure you are seeing the trend here, pasture raised can mean plenty of different things, including a heavy grain diet as long as they spent time on pasture.  

It is a confusing landscape of labeling. As a consumer you need to look closely at the wording on your beef and realize it can be interpreted in many different ways. Hopefully this gives you some insight into the different ways beef producers attempt to muddy the water, and as the consumer we simply want you to be able to make an informed purchase. We recommend looking for labels that cannot be interpreted in different ways that will meet all of the criteria you are looking for in your beef. For example, our beef here at Turkey Creek is 100% grass-fed, born and raised on pasture, given no additional hormones and antibiotic free. It is a long list of things to look for and it is sad that farms and companies try to take advantage of their consumers with how they label their products. Which leads us to our next labeling issue... 

 

Country of Origin

 

As a consumer, who is now educated on different types of labeling, here's an easy question. Where was a product that says "product of the USA" from? Any reasonable person would assume this beef was produced in the states. No. 

The "hard" working government branch of the USDA decided in 2015 to get rid of the Country of Origin (COO) labeling requirement. What his means is that imported beef from Australia or Argentina for example, do not need to specify anywhere that it is imported beef. Moreover, beef that is inspected or processed at an USDA plant is labeled as a "product of the USA." Funny thing is that by law, all beef imported is required to pass through such a facility. This again denies the consumer the ability to make an informed purchase. States, like Colorado, are currently trying to overturn this law, yet it is an uphill battle as 75%-80% of all labeled grass-fed beef is imported. Without getting into the politics of the large beef producers with the scales of economy and the small grass-fed American farmers, the undeniable truth of everything is that the current system is not allowing the consumer to make an informed and educated purchase. 

 

We know there is a lot to digest here, and you may disagree with everything we have shared. This is completely fine! If anything, we simply want the conversation to continue. We want to help the consumer make smart, informed decisions. We believe that consumers are not currently given this ability. This is why we will continue to be totally transparent with our process here at Turkey Creek. We will attempt to label our product as clearly as possible and give you no doubt of exactly what you are eating. If you have any questions about our process or product please reach out to us so that we can share more! 

 

 

  • No Added Hormones  

  • No Added Hormones  

  • No Added Hormones  

  • No Antibiotics

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  • No Antibiotics

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