Is Grass-Fed Beef Higher For You?

If you see meat that’s labeled “grass-fed,” it signifies that after these animals are weaned, they eat solely grass—and no matter different inexperienced stuff they could discover rising the place they graze—for the remainder of their lives. In the course of the winter, when nothing a lot is rising within the pasture, the animals might be confined in pens and fed dried grass (hay). However throughout the inexperienced season, they should be allowed to roam round freely and graze..

Is Grass-Fed Beef Higher for You?

What’s the choice? Effectively, nearly all cattle begin out consuming grass. However after they’re 6 to 12 months previous, a lot of the cattle which can be raised within the U.S. are ultimately despatched to feed-lots, the place they eat corn and different grains for the steadiness of their lives. It seems that feeding cows grain as an alternative of grass fattens them up rapidly. (The identical appears to be true of individuals!) The tip consequence—within the case of the cows, that’s—is meat with the next fats content material, and animals which can be prepared for slaughter sooner. 

Sarcastically, the time period “corn-fed” was once a very good factor—signifying well-marbled, flavorful beef. How occasions have modified! 

Is Grain Unhealthy for Cows?

Critics level out that grain will not be a pure food plan for cud-chewers like cows and that feeding corn to cows causes digestive issues and customarily makes them sickly. (Though people should not cud chewers and have utterly totally different digestive techniques, there are those who argue {that a} grain-based food plan makes us sickly as nicely.) Most grain-fed cattle get antibiotics combined into the feed to assist hold them more healthy—which has particular downsides. (See my article, Antibiotics in Meat.)

If you happen to’re fattening your cows on corn, you can also hold them in a feed lot the place you merely refill tubs with the grain. This permits farmers to maintain heaps and many cows in a comparatively small quantity of area. For grass-fed cows, you want, nicely, grass—and many it. As a substitute of standing round in crowded feedlots, grass-fed cows get to be on the market the place the antelopes roam for at the very least a part of the yr. Though the cows should work a little bit more durable for his or her supper, lots of people really feel that the pasture way of life is an entire lot nicer and more healthy for the cow.

Is Grass-Fed Beef Any Safer?

Labeling rules and certification packages are useful however if you would like the main points on how your meals is being raised, there’s actually no substitute for realizing your farmer.

One of many ways in which we people defend ourselves in opposition to food-borne pathogens like E. coli is by bathing our meals in abdomen acid, which kills a lot of the micro organism. Advocates of grass-fed beef declare {that a} grain-based food plan acidifies the digestive tract of the cows, which inspires the expansion of E. coli which can be extra tolerant of acidic environments and, subsequently, extra harmful to people.

Nonetheless, this widely-believed idea has not borne up nicely beneath scrutiny. Evaluation of beef merchandise within the market persistently finds the identical charges of bacterial contamination within the grass-fed meat as within the grain-fed meat—together with essentially the most harmful strains. I’m afraid that till they create a cow that doesn’t poop, E. coli will all the time be a menace.   


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