Natural Beef and Farming of Organic
Beef – What’s the Difference?
People who love steak might be wondering how they can get hold of that juicy, mouth-watering steak that they have
been thinking about.
Although there are still some good butchers around, eating healthy meats, and therefore tasty meats, is getting
harder and harder.
Most decent butcher shops have disappeared, and supermarkets have taken over. This has led to a reduction in the
quality of beef, and it can be a real challenge to find prime, lean beef.
This change, which has been occurring over decades, is down to the way animals are raised, and what they are being
fed. Natural beef is being replaced by cattle that are fatty because of the diet they are given. Most cattle these
days are raised on grains containing all types of chemicals and hormones to keep the cows healthy and fat. If this
regular diet wasn’t enough, before slaughter the cattle are sent to a special feed pen for extra fattening.
This is because fatter cattle mean more weight and so more money for the farmer. However, this leads to meat that
is less healthy and less tasty. Although having less tasty meat is one problem, having to eat meat that is less healthy
is much more serious. The feed lots that the cattle are sent to are not healthy places, with animals very close together
and little room to move.
Also, the growth hormones and pesticides used by feed lot owners can cause diseases in cattle; lots of antibiotics
are also added to prevent the cows from becoming ill. Surely it would be better to remove all of these unhealthy
elements and rear the cows naturally.
However, these chemicals are given full approval by the USDA and the FDA. This is probably the reason why other
countries do not want to import US beef.
This type of beef not only seems less appealing, but also seems against the principles of natural beef and farming,
and is stopping us from eating healthy meats.
The problem with changing these habits is that naturally raised beef costs more money. That is why hamburger and
fast food chains buy the lowest grade of feed lot cows. This enables them to sell a burger at less than a dollar
and still make money. Perhaps you should think about all those pesticides and hormones next time you buy that double
burger from your local fast food chain.
However, things are starting to change as beef producers and supermarkets alike become aware of the massive public
demand for healthier food products.
In order to meet this demand, producers of beef have been working with the USDA, and have created a new category
that is believed to be healthier. This new category of beef is known as ‘Natural Beef’, and is being promoted as
a healthier alternative to the typical beef we can get.
The Natural Beef is seen more often in markets now, but it needs to be made clear that just because it is natural
does not mean it is organic (you may be wondering if eating naturally raised beef means you are eating healthy meats).
The certification for Natural Beef just means that it has “No artificial ingredients and (is) minimally processed”.
This definition is very vague, and has caused the term to be abused, meaning consumers are being misled.
The term ‘minimally processed’ is particularly misleading, and gives producers a fairly wide scope as to what they
can feed them. It means they can still receive antibiotics until around 2 months before slaughter, and yet still
be classed as Natural Beef.
This is where Organic Beef differs. Organic Beef is raised without any of these chemicals, and the beef cows are
only fed substances that are totally organic. These feeds and nutrients have to pass very strict criteria in order
to be classed as organic, and so this leads to healthier animals.
Many of these cattle are fed on grass, which has been recognized to produce meat with a higher nutritional value
than cattle raised on corn, or other types of feed. Professor Jeff Wood and his colleagues at the School of Clinical
Veterinary Science have backed this statement.
In studies, they found that cattle fed on grass had more omega-3 fatty acids, like the ones found in fish, compared
to grain-fed cattle. Although the level is lower than the level in fish, this sort of data could go against the common
idea that red meat is not healthy for you. Grass-fed cattle meat also has a better red color that lasts for longer
than grain-fed cattle. This is because there is more vitamin E in the muscles of cattle that have grazed.
Beef is definitely the better quality beef around, both in terms of taste and for your health. If you cannot
get organic beef locally, then you can have it shipped to you. You can purchase it online, and then it will be sent
to you in packaging filled with dry ice to keep it fresh. There are a number of sites that offer this service,
The trend for
buying organic beef is definitely increasing, which is a good thing to see. Many sites that offer these services
are selling out of the beef quickly as demand continues to rise. This is a trend common in all organic food
sales, which have risen 20% a year for 10 years. If you want to eat healthy meats that are raised without chemicals
and are much tastier, then buy organic.
More information on this can be found in our free online health magazine.