The American Grassfed Association defines grassfed products from ruminants, including cattle, bison, goats and sheep, as those food products from animals that have eaten nothing but their mother’s milk and fresh grass or grass-type hay from birth to harvest – all their lives. Many products have been, and continue to be, marketed as “grassfed”, when grass is only a part of their diet. Virtually any air-breathing food animal can be raised partially or entirely on grass, including, of course, beef cattle.
The vast majority of beef produced and consumed in the United States is grain-fed, a practice developed primarily after World War II as a way to fatten cattle more quickly and to utilize massive oversupplies of corn and small grains. These practices evolved into the development of large feedlots and meat processing plants and have resulted in the availability of ample amounts of relatively low cost – yet high fat – beef for consumers.
Grassfed beef products have been shown to be higher in beta carotene (Vitamin A), conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important in reducing cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and other life threatening diseases. These products are lower in fat, cholesterol and calories. In addition, the risk of infection by E. coli in these products in virtually eliminated.
It can be difficult for consumers to find true grassfed beef, as it is generally not available in retail outlets, making it necessary for the consumer to find and purchase directly from a producer. Many consumers find it best to buy grassfed meats directly from the farm. Specialty grocery stores also carry them, and even mainstream supermarkets are beginning to carry these products. However, consumers need to be aware that there is not yet a standard for classifying beef as grassfed. The only way to be certain is to visit and know your producer.
Contact us to arrange a visit to Pittsburgher Highland Farm. Then YOU can be sure!