Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Food Labels Series

Part 2: Beef Labeling



  • "Grass-Fed Beef" =
  1. Animals live their whole lives in the pasture grazing usually on a rotating schedule.
  2. Although the USDA does have "grass fed marketing claims standards" it does not state if the beef are or aren't allowed to be given growth hormones or antibiotics. I think that this is probably because that would be pretty much an oxymoron when it comes to how these cattle are raised. Also, because they are fed what they are supposed to eat they do not need antibiotics to keep them well.
  3. From US Wellness Meats, "Our meat is a rich source of this healthy fat because our animals spend their lives eating the green forage plants that are naturally rich in omega-3s themselves. Just by eating their natural diet, our cattle absorb these valuable fats and then pass the nutrition on to you. The result is beef that has nearly 60% more omega-3s than beef from cows that have been raised on a low-omega-3 grain diet."
  4. Rich in Vitamins A, E and conjugated linoleic acid or CLA.
  • "Organic Beef" =
  1. Access to pasture, clean living standards and generally good living conditions.
  2. No use of hormones, antibiotics or parasiticides.
  3. Organic beef are fed, "agricultural products, including pasture and forage, that are organically produced and, if applicable, organically handled", which can include grains such as corn, milo, wheat and soybean meal.
  4. High omega 6 to 3 ratio 20:1, not good!
  • "Natural Beef" =
  1. Products that contain no artificial ingredients, added color and are minimally processed after slaughter.
  2. The product can contain no preservatives.
  3. Fed a diet of grains = High omega 6 to 3 ratio 20:1, not good!
  4. The USDA has NO specific restriction on management practices during the life of the animal.Therefore, they may or may not use hormones or antibiotics, and live in high density feed lots. I would be willing to bet that most do employ these tactics because of their cost efficiency.
  • "Never-Ever Beef" =
  1. No Antibiotics allowed.
  2. No Hormones allowed.
  3. No Animal By-products allowed.
  4. Treated cattle must be uniquely identified.
  5. Grain fed = High omega 6 to 3 ratio 20:1, not good!
  6. Mostly finished on grain in high density feed lots.
  • "Beef" =
  1. Live in high density feed lots.
  2. Grain fed.
  3. Fed a steady drip of antibiotics to fight of disease because of their living conditions and their unnatural diet.
  4. Given growth hormones to speed the time to slaughter.
  5. Use of additives and preservatives while processing.
  6. 20:1 omega 6 to 3!
From PubMed.gov: Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today's Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Zach,

Thanks for the series, its scary how little most of us know about what our food really is made of and how easily deceived we are by terms like 'natural', 'wholesome', etc. You and Web Smith are like peas in a pod. Keep it up!