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Is Grass-Fed Beef Higher For You?

Whenever you see meat that’s labeled “grass-fed,” it implies that after these animals are weaned, they eat solely grass—and no matter different inexperienced stuff they could discover rising the place they graze—for the remainder of their lives. Through the winter, when nothing a lot is rising within the pasture, the animals will be confined in pens and fed dried grass (hay). However throughout the inexperienced season, they must be allowed to roam round freely and graze..

Is Grass-Fed Beef Higher for You?

What’s the choice? Properly, nearly all cattle begin out consuming grass. However once they’re 6 to 12 months outdated, many of the cattle which might be raised within the U.S. are finally despatched to feed-lots, the place they eat corn and different grains for the steadiness of their lives. It seems that feeding cows grain as a substitute of grass fattens them up rapidly. (The identical appears to be true of individuals!) The tip outcome—within the case of the cows, that’s—is meat with the next fats content material, and animals which might be prepared for slaughter sooner. 

Mockingly, the time period “corn-fed” was a superb factor—signifying well-marbled, flavorful beef. How instances have modified! 

Is Grain Unhealthy for Cows?

Critics level out that grain just isn’t a pure eating regimen for cud-chewers like cows and that feeding corn to cows causes digestive issues and customarily makes them sickly. (Although people are usually not cud chewers and have fully completely different digestive programs, there are those who argue {that a} grain-based eating regimen makes us sickly as properly.) Most grain-fed cattle get antibiotics blended into the feed to assist hold them more healthy—which has particular downsides. (See my article, Antibiotics in Meat.)

When you’re fattening your cows on corn, you can also hold them in a feed lot the place you merely replenish tubs with the grain. This enables farmers to maintain tons and plenty of cows in a comparatively small quantity of house. For grass-fed cows, you want, properly, grass—and plenty of it. As a substitute of standing round in crowded feedlots, grass-fed cows get to be on the market the place the antelopes roam for at the least a part of the 12 months. Although the cows must work slightly tougher for his or her supper, lots of people really feel that the pasture life-style is an entire lot nicer and more healthy for the cow.

Is Grass-Fed Beef Any Safer?

Labeling rules and certification packages are useful however if you’d like the main points on how your meals is being raised, there’s actually no substitute for realizing your farmer.

One of many ways in which we people defend ourselves in opposition to food-borne pathogens like E. coli is by bathing our meals in abdomen acid, which kills many of the micro organism. Advocates of grass-fed beef declare {that a} grain-based eating regimen acidifies the digestive tract of the cows, which inspires the expansion of E. coli which might be extra tolerant of acidic environments and, due to this fact, extra harmful to people.

Nevertheless, this widely-believed concept has not borne up properly underneath scrutiny. Evaluation of beef merchandise within the market persistently finds the identical charges of bacterial contamination within the grass-fed meat as within the grain-fed meat—together with essentially the most harmful strains. I’m afraid that till they create a cow that doesn’t poop, E. coli will all the time be a menace.   


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