Grass-fed beef

By Susan Duckett, Ph.D. (Clemson University)

Black Cow At Red Meat Market, we define “good meat” as the food we obtain from beef, pork and lamb which have been sustainably-raised on organic pastures, humanely-processed and safely packaged and delivered directly to the buyer/consumer. In the industrial-scale era of mad cows, meat glue and MRSA, we (and the animals which feed us) deserve better. Red Meat Market delivers the goodness by connecting small-scale producers and consumers in an online marketplace which offers a wide selection of high-quality organic, locally-raised, grass-fed meats.

Scientific researchers are building a strong case for why ranchers should raise grass-fed livestock and why consumers should choose good, pastured meat instead of industrial-scale meat produced in concentrated, grain-fed operations. One recent study involving researchers from the USDA and Clemson University compared grass-fed beef with grain-fed beef. The results from the study indicate that grass-fed beef is lower in total fat, lower in saturated fat and higher in several vitamins and minerals compared to grain-fed beef.

In addition to the nutritional benefits, there are food safety and environmental benefits to allowing livestock to graze on grass, which they are naturally-adapted to eating, instead of finishing them on grain (usually corn) in industrial-scale concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Industrial meat production requires the use of antibiotics to control widespread infections among large herds of animals which are confined in relatively small spaces. The most alarming consequence of widespread use of antibiotics in livestock is the emergence of pathogenic microorganisms which have become resistant to the antibiotics, posing a potential health risk to consumers of undercooked meat. Further, the concentration of animals also concentrates their waste, which creates significant environmental problems with water contamination and insects.

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