Organic Beef, Is it Really Organic?

Grass fed organic beef cattleWith Americans taking more of an interest in what they are consuming daily, many are turning to organic diets consisting of whole foods. This is because organic products are grown and developed naturally, therefore free of artificial ingredients and preservatives. Knowing what goes into the food we eat is important, but it is also important to investigate whether or not organic food is truly organic. This is particularly important with regards to organic beef.

Organic beef is supposed to have a positive impact on animal welfare, the environment, as well as overall health. In fact, many people choose to purchase only organic livestock due to the promise that animals are provided with proper living standards; clean water, shade, access to roam outside, and a clean living and sleeping environment. Environmentalists opt for organic produce because of the guarantee that there is minimal impact on the environment and all practices are sustainable. For health and wellness enthusiasts, knowing that the beef they are eating is raised naturally and only fed organic foods free of preservatives is reassuring. It all sounds great, but unfortunately, many beef manufacturers get away with promoting their meat as organic, when it actually isn’t.

Is all grass fed beef considered organic beef?

To officially market the USDA Organic label, beef must meet the minimum requirements set out by the United States Department of Agriculture. A lot of beef on the market claims to be ‘grass-fed’ which automatically becomes associated with organic and natural. This, however, is false. Grass-fed beef isn’t organic unless it is certified with the USDA Organic label. Grass-fed simply means that pastured cattle can graze, but it does not guarantee that the grass hasn’t been sprayed with pesticides or anything artificial. At Chicago Steak Company, we raise our cattle throughout the mid-west from eastern Nebraska to western Wisconsin, as well as central Minnesota to northern Missouri. These locations consist of the best Corn Belt in the entire country. Feeding from the sweetest corn and grass, our cattle provide an incredible source of protein.

The main issue with organic beef is that it has become a very lucrative investment; thus, there are thousands of farmers that are making the switch to organic processes every year. Unfortunately, the USDA does not have a large enough department to thoroughly investigate every request for certification that they receive, and they will outsource to third party agencies that they’ve given permission to grant certification on their behalf. Not to discredit these agencies, but without one governing body overseeing the entire process, the organic certification can become unreliable. In comparison, our beef has been graded as USDA Prime; this is the best of the best, with only 2-3% of beef in the US falling into this grade.

Since the words ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ are so loosely regulated, there is a lot of manipulation in what goes onto packaging; it may say where the meat was produced and the type of cut it is, but it fails to provide detailed information regarding what the livestock is actually eating and how it’s being processed. Therefore, it makes it hard to truly know the ingredients that are being consumed by the livestock, and in turn, consumed by you. Chicago Steak Company eliminates this concern by operating a natural process where cattle are free to eat corn as they please, resulting in a naturally marbled product.

You can never truly know where your beef is coming from or how it’s being raised, and becoming dependent upon a label that has become more of a dollar sign than a symbol of ethics, sustainability, and health doesn’t make matters any easier. At Chicago Steak Company, we pride ourselves on our old world artisan methods to produce the most exquisite, hand-processed beef that will surpass expectations. There will always be associated risks with consuming anything, natural or not—but by researching and exploring where your beef is actually coming from, it could benefit your health and give you peace of mind.

Additional Sources/Further Reading
http://blogs.usda.gov/2012/03/22/organic-101-what-the-usda-organic-label-means/

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