Grass Fed? Grass Finished? Lifetime Grazed? What's with all the different labels?

written by

Joy Stephens

posted on

February 7, 2022

Ever get tired of the incredible lengths that corporate food companies go to in order to capture your dollar? What's with all the industry trickery? Who has time to sort out all the labels and figure out what they mean? How can you be sure you're getting exactly the product/quality you want?

Let's cut through the jargon and get to the details ...

There are currently no provincial or national standards for grass-fed claims in Canada. The most common understanding of the terms is as follows:

Grass Fed refers to animals that have been raised on pasture and not confined to a feedlot or any grain feeding system.

Grass Finished means an animal spends their final finishing stage on grass.

That may be the common understanding of the terms however it leaves a lot up to interpretation and those big corporations love to capitalize on consumer confusion!

Technically most all beef are grass fed since calves are typically born on the land on ranches and farms and spend most of their first year of life at their mother's side eating milk and grass. What is less known is that after those first few months with Mom those calves are shipped to CAFO's (Confinement Animal Feeding Operations) aka Feedlots where they're penned in large dirt lots and fed an extremely high protein grain diet to pack on the pounds as quickly as possible. (Time is money in big business food and the sooner they can turn over their 'inventory' of animals the faster they're making money.) Grain is not a natural diet for a cow to consume and changes the ph level of the cow's rumen which creates sickness over time.

The term grass finished doesn't really help to clear up the matter either. How long was the animal fed grass? Was it fed grain all its life and only 'finished' on grass at the end? Did it live its life on pasture or in a feedlot eating hay/silage? Both of which would still fall under the parameters of 'grass finished'.

Another thing that none of these labels can show you is whether or not these animals were fed routine antibiotics, if they received any growth hormone implants, what state of health they were in at the time of slaughter or if their feed contained GMO's.

As you can see, there are grey areas and room to fudge in each of these common definitions. Big companies can slap on a label and capitalize on what the average consumer doesn't know. It's misleading and tricky at best. The only way to know for sure what you are getting is to 'Know Your Farmer' and ask.

At 6S we use the term Grass Fed as it is the most recognizable, however we are 100% GRASS FED and so much MORE! :) 100% of the diet of our Grass Fed / Grass Finished / Lifetime Grazed animals consists of fresh pasture and stored grasses (hay) from birth to harvest. No grey areas. No trickery.

But what about GMO's? Antibiotics? Hormones? etc. I'm so glad you asked ... when you shop with 6S you can Eat With Confidence, knowing we don't use antibiotics, hormones or GMO's. To check out all of our Production Protocols and know exactly what you're getting when you shop with 6S, you can click the link here. Or better yet, come on out to the farm and see for yourself! :)

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