What does the USDA Grass-fed beef label mean?
As of Jan 2016 absolutely nothing! Nada – It no longer exists.
As of January 2016 the United States Department of Agriculture Marketing Services (USDA AMS) – announced that the agency removed the marketing claim Grass (forage) Fed Marketing as a label they regulated.
This means there is no longer a standard for the Grass-Fed Beef label.
The USDA AMS says they will still support the Grass-Fed labeling practice. And will continue to have grass-fed market information available to the producer. However, the USDA will no longer monitor the definition or the producers who use the grass-fed or grass foraged label as part of their marketing and transparency.
Why is the Grassfed label no longer regulated by the USDA AMS?
According to the USDA AMS – they didn’t have the authorization to define labeling standards without the approval of Congress. Congress has yet to give them the authorization to regulate this label.
Makes you think – hmm how did the USDA AMS begin regulating the label if they didn’t haven’t authorization in the first place?
What does this mean to you for choosing grass-fed beef and other meats?
It means that grass-fed meat labels on your food are completely voluntary and without regulations. Which is fine if the producer or farmer discloses the way the meat is being raised.
If the label says grass-fed or forage-fed it only means the animal has been on pasture but it doesn’t guarantee for how long. You don’t know for how long the animal was on grass if they were grass finished or grain finished.
Grass-finished beef is when the animal is finished on grass to gain extra nutritional value and marketing. It doesn’t mean the animal didn’t have grain during its lifetime.
When looking for grass-fed beef you want it to say 100% grass-fed beef. And to be more specific look for 100% grass-fed Organic beef. This way you know there are no pesticides and the animals were out on pasture for their life and not locked in a barn.
The best way to get the freshest meat and truly know how your food was raised is directly from the producer. You can find them at farmers markets, and online. Then you can ask any question you want and find out how your meat was raised.