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Organic Beef, Grass-Fed Beef - Choosing the right beef for you and your family

Thu 10 Nov, 2011

Choosing the right cut of meat for you and your family isn't always easy.

We've outlined a few ways below that can help you choose appropriately for your lifestyle and needs.

There's a wealth of information that’s listed on the beef packages in your supermarket. The meat package label identifies the kind of beef, the wholesale cut name and the retail cut name. It also includes the weight, price per pound, total price, sell-by date and safe handling instructions.

Other terms you may see on labels can include:

Branded Beef Names
More beef in the supermarket is marketed with a brand name that carries with it a promise to the consumer for attributes such as consistency in taste, tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Every branded beef program is unique, but most have specifications regarding grade, aging and size.

Grain-fed
Grain-fed beef is the most widely produced type of beef in the United States. Grain-fed cattle spend most of their lives eating grass in pastures, and then move on to a feedlot where they eat a high-energy grain diet for three to six months. Research shows most Americans generally prefer the taste of grain-fed beef because of its tenderness and flavor-enhancing marbling.

Grass-finished
All cattle spend the majority of their lives eating grass in pastures. However, grass-finished beef (sometimes labeled as grass-fed beef) comes from cattle that have been raised on pasture their entire lives. Grass-finished beef is often described as having a distinctly different taste.

Natural
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) definition of “natural” as “minimally processed containing no additives,” all fresh beef is natural.

Organic
Certified organic beef must meet stringent USDA regulations and carry the USDA Organic Seal. Both grass-finished and grain-fed beef can qualify as organic.

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