Grass Fed & Grain Finished?

Did you know that even if meat is touted as being grass fed, it’s possible that it was ‘grain finished’?  As in, the cow ate grass for much of its life and then was fed some type of grain before slaughter.

Not good for so many reasons, so make sure you ask your butcher to confirm that the meat you’re about to put into your mouth did, indeed, come from a 100% grass fed source. 

Not surprisingly, the USDA does not offer any distinction to consumers for the two different types, so we have to, once again, do our own investigating.  

Grass Fed Beef generally means beef from cattle that have eaten only grass or forage throughout their lives, however some producers do call their beef grass fed but then actually finish the animals on grain for the last 90 to 160 days before slaughter.

Grass Finished Beef refers to the time that cattle are normally fattened for the last few months before processing. Typically, feed lots finish cattle for 90 to 160 days on grain, usually corn, whereas, grass finished cattle are fattened on grass only, until the day that they are processed.

Hopefully you are not buying beef from a feed lot, but from a rancher whose product you know and trust, who can also assure you that the beef you’re buying came from a cow that was pastured all its life, too.

I’ve found that when I ask a butcher or rancher whether the meat I’m about to buy is grass fed and finished, if there is any hesitation in their answer, I tend to take that as a ‘grain finished’ response and then buy my protein elsewhere.

Those who raise cattle the way it should be are proud to say so, as they should be, and will tell you straight away.