Research Sustains Health Claims

US - A University of Wyoming beef expert says while some health claims associated with grass-fed beef are supported by the science, the economics can be a bit more problematic.
calendar icon 23 April 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
Supporters of grass-fed beef say that among other things, their product is lower in fat and calories than grain-fed animals.

Chris Bastian, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, said research conducted at UW suggests such statements are valid.

At the same time, however, a Wyoming Lean Beef program launched in the 1980s failed for reasons largely unrelated to health benefits.

Bastian said one problem was keeping a consistent product, and keeping a product year-round, before consumers.

Grass also is somewhat less efficient in terms of weight gain. Bastian said UW research indicates a product deemed natural would need to command a 25 percent premium to make it pay relative to a traditional grain-fed product.

Grass-fed beef tends to have less intramuscular marbling than grain-fed, he added, which contributes to health attributes like less fat and cholesterol, but it also can mean a less tender product and meat some consumers find less flavorful than a grain-fed equivalent.

Source: Jackson Hole Star-Tribune
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