If you are a fan of grass-fed meat - your obstacles just got taller. Thanks to new legislation (or lack thereof) the USDA will no longer recognize the labeling of grass-fed meat. They are also allowing meat producers to simply submit a statement as to what they believe “grass-fed” means to them, as the requirement to label their meats as “Grass-fed”. This opens the door to unlimited leniency and misleading labels. But don’t panic! There are still ways to ensure you’re purchasing quality meats:
By purchasing meat from your small, local family farms, you greatly reduce the chances of the animals having been raised on grain and exposed to antibiotics, steroids, unfit living conditions and inhumane slaughter techniques. Your local farmer’s market is the best place to get meat – as the farmers often sell the meat themselves right at their stand and you can ask any questions you need! Plus, you contribute to your local economy.
Purchase AGA approved meats
If you do buy your meat from a grocery store, look for meats with the AGA Grass-Fed label. The AGA, or American Grassfed Association, has and always has had more stringent requirements for meats to be labeled as “Grassfed”. They require that: the animals were raised 100% on American farms; they are never given antibiotics or supplements; lived their whole lives on pasture; and were treated humanely.
Avoid partially grass-fed meats
You will notice that some meats are labeled as “50% grass-fed” or some other percentage. It has been shown that even partially grain fed meats lack much of the nutritional value (and have negative nutritional properties) compared to 100% grass-fed.
Do your research
No matter what, you should be researching the companies and corporations you are buying food from. Now that the USDA is loosening the reigns on an already anarchic food industry, it’s now more important than ever to know who you’re buying from!
Times are a changin’ and it’s becoming evident that the government is less and less concerned with the consumers’ wellbeing and more concerned with corporate profiteering. Take it upon yourself to be as informed as possible. Know your food. Get to know your farmers.