The USDA is allowing import beef from Ireland to be labeled “Grass fed" if they are fed grass 80% of the time.
In stark contrast, SonRise Ranch Beef are 100% Grass fed, all the time. This is called "Grass fed & finished" - scary stuff for consumers who rely on their imagination of what Ireland is like.
In fact, the article admits that most consumers associate Ireland with green grass - thus they can be fooled easily.
And so, the bigger picture begins to emerge. Terms like “Grass fed” and “Organic” are being confused with what we do, here at SonRise Ranch.
Here is a quick video that explains what to look for in true Grass fed Beef...
So what does all this mean?
Let’s take a look at some definitions… from top to bottom (and I really mean bottom).
“Pastured, 100% Grass Fed & Finished"
This is what we raise at SonRise Ranch and it only applies to beef (not Pigs or Chickens). Born and raised on Grass and only Grass. Weaned from mother after birth, diet changed from milk to grass slowly. Grows much slower than grain fed beef (feedlot or conventional beef). Mature at 28 to 29 months for harvest.
USDA definition – must be fed grass at sometime in its life. This means the stuff from the supermarket, which by definition must be mass produced, and may be fed grass as little as one day of its life yet can be labeled “grass fed”
“Grass fed, grain finished”
This is what is called “feed lot beef”, “conventional beef” or “commodity beef”
It is the most common, regular, supermarket beef.
“Pastured Beef” or “Free-Range Beef”
May be any of the above – ask the producer. How do the beef live? Do you feed grain?
Why don’t you just say “Grass fed & finished” like the other guys? – Hint… there is a reason they don’t.
Beef is not Local – sorry. It can’t be… think of it like this; imagine if you grew cabbage locally, but there was a government agency that enforced a law that you can only wash your cabbage (and you must wash it before sale) in a special sink located 600 miles away from your farm. That is what the USDA does – we grow our beef locally, but it must be inspected for safety 600 miles away from our customers. BTW, why the inspection? We have been at this for 13 years and never had a single beef found to be unsafe - in that same time period, there have been hundreds of "outbreaks" from industrial meat plants across the U.S.
“All Natural Beef”
This means nothing…. Literally. The USDA allows just about anything to be called “all natural” because Big Ag Producers were able to argue that just about anything is natural.
May be fed organic corn…. Still not grass fed, still not healthy. Don’t be fooled - Wal Mart sells “Organic Beef”. It just means that whatever they are giving the beef at the feedlot is labeled “Organic”
“Antibiotic & Hormone Free”
Means what it says. Not give Antibiotics or Growth Hormones. Most producers add this to their label if they have nothing else to say. Hormone and Antibiotic use is minor compared to feed use - feed is daily, medicine is occasional, so the former has much greater impact on the animal than the latter.
All Beef eats grass, sometime in its life! In other news, water is wet…Come on, this is a ploy for the big time producers to recapture what they’ve lost to small time Grass fed & finished guys and the government is in collusion with them.
The sad part is that people can be fooled by what they read on a label and it is affecting real Ranchers in real ways. “Grass fed” should really mean just that, but such is not the case.
Key takeaway - you've got to know your producer!