Pasture-fed beef…sort of.

While listening to podcasts of The Splendid Table, I heard the host and a guest discussing a documentary called King Corn. It seemed intriguing, but unfortunately, it had already left my city before I could get to it. Well, I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m weeks behind on my podcasts, so it had come and gone by the time I even heard of it. Nonetheless, the writer made some extremely interesting comments, including how much corn the general public (in the U.S., at least) consumes. My ears perked (ooh, that could be a bad joke!) in interest, as I’m always curious about food and the origin, etc. As he began pointing out corn syrup (yuck!!), corn-fed beef, corn-fed pork, corn-fed chickens, etc, I started musing at the thought.

Just a week earlier, I had bought several pounds of pasture-fed beef, partly because I wanted the healthier meat and partly because I’ve heard hubby comment many times how much better this meat tastes than the “stuff in the U.S.”. I will admit—it is better! I had also just read an article in Consumer Reports that due to a new law that was just passed, products that are beginning to use the phrase “pasture-fed” or “grass-fed” must follow certain U.S. Guidelines, including the animals were actually able to graze on open pastures…as opposed to?? Apparently, until before this law was passed, farmers were able to add some grass to the feed and call the meat grass fed. Nice. Well, the reason this is so important is that the new law that was passed includes a loophole. Any distributor that was using the phrase “grass-fed” or “pasture-fed” previous to the new law is still able to do so—even if they aren’t following regulation! So, as a consumer, what do you do? Well, you look for that phrase, but to believe it, look for the phrase accompanied by the USDA stamp. Then you know that it was grass-fed the old-fashioned way.

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