Grass-fed Beef: A Good Choice?

US - Whole Foods Market, a natural and organic foods supermarket, has announced that grass-fed-and-finished beef is offered in the meat departments of all of its 284 stores in the United States.
calendar icon 13 May 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

"Raising cattle just on grass is a return to traditional methods the way nature intended," said Theo Weening, global meat coordinator for Whole Foods Market. "By partnering with producers across the country, Whole Foods Market hopes to help bring grass-fed ranching back into the mainstream because of its positive impact on the cattle, the environment and because it supports local communities."

For beef cattle, grass is the most natural diet as cows are born with the ability to convert grasses, legumes and herbaceous plants into protein, say Mr Weening. Meat from animals that spend their lives grazing on grasses has a more favourable ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. In addition because grass-fed cattle are typically leaner than cattle that are fed grain, almost all cuts have less fat than grain-feed beef. Grass-fed beef also has a distinct, vibrant flavour.

As consumer concerns about health, food safety and the environment are on the rise, more producers are joining the grass-fed movement and see themselves as stewards working with nature to raise their cattle. Because properly run grass-fed programs require a commitment to sustainable practices, ranchers must carefully manage their natural resources. Most grass-fed ranchers are independent, selling beef from their own property, or belong to a small, locally-focused producer group.

Whole Foods Market partners with grass-fed producers from across the country including family ranches in California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nebraska, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Like all meat sold at Whole Foods Market, grass-fed beef must meet the company's strict quality standards which require that animals are raised on a vegetarian diet without being administered antibiotics or added growth hormones. In addition, all producers must meet specific and rigorous animal welfare standards that apply to all stages of an animal's life and environment.

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