Make sure there are no hormones or antibiotics given to the animals “Never Ever” is a phrase used on packaging to state this – while it is more common on pork products, it is relevant for beef as well.
Understand where the feed that feeds the animals is from – is it grown on site? Grass grown on site is normally used for winter months when grass does not grow (in certain climates). The control of what the animal eats is important. Knowing that there is no GMO crop or glysophate-infused grass is beneficial to the consumer. This information is very hard to discern, so when it is stated, it is a huge plus.
Where the animal is raised provides a good understanding of the fertility of the soil and the potential nutrients in the grass eaten. A good eco-system on the ranch provides a lot of information about the animal’s health. Most ranchers promote this style of ranching given that a healthy animal is more profitable to the rancher than a sick animal. Fresh water, fertile soil, open pastures for grazing are key components to a healthy animal. Healthy animals develop better, will have better CLAs and balanced Omegas. The decreased stress will improve the longevity of the meat in a freezer setting.
Water is an important factor to the feed question, is there a natural and sustainable water source – if no, this means that supplemental feed is imported – this has more food miles and a greater carbon footprint. Imported feed decreases the understanding of how the feed was farmed, what the farmer did to grow it, how it was stored after, how old it is.
Regenerative grass implies the grass is natural and grows back annually. This also reflects that there must be a sufficient eco system present. A sign of nutrients in the soil, and water to allow the annual growth and regrowth of grass is positive. Controlling the inputs provides the rancher the information to keep his herd healthy and active. Animals that feed on regenerative grass mean they are out in the pastures grazing freely.
Higher quality meat reflects where the animals were raised and ultimately finished – commercial feed lots decrease the quality of the meat by increased stress on the animal and providing a different feed in quantities that the animals cannot digest efficiently.
Small Batch refers to the number of animals in the control of the rancher. These are manageable herds where the Rancher will know each animal individually. By knowing the animals, a Rancher can de-stress animals by separating the herd into smaller herds.
What is the country of origin? Is the meat from the USA or from another country? We export a lot of high quality meat to foreign countries. Why wouldn’t we save the better quality product for our own consumption? We don’t need to add to the carbon footprint by buying imported meat.
If the processing of the animal is mentioned, it is probably because the processor has a slower process and takes more care in the animal. Find out of the meat has been cleaned with water or a chemical bath, if a chemical bath, this is not good and could potentially cause you digestion problems.
Do the research. It is worth it to you and your family. The long term effects of eating poorly is clearly showing in all the dietary and health issues that have emerged over the past 20 years. Eating clean will help. It is time to go back to the basics, whole foods. Where ever you shop, what ever you eat, strive to shop and eat clean products – this goes for everyone, not just meat eaters.
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