Grass fed meat vs organic meat

What’s the Difference Between Organic Meat and Grass Fed Meat?

The nutrients in meat can vary depending on the way the animal was fed. Organic and grass fed types of meat also have a subtle difference in terms of texture and taste. While some people prefer organic meat, others like grass fed meat. Therefore, the way the cow was fed, will have an impact on the nutrient composition of the beef it produces.

Organic meat

The organic seal on your meat means that the animal was raised on a certified organic land, which is defined as land that has not been exposed to prohibited substances such as certain pesticides and synthetic fertilizers or genetic engineering. Remember, there are certain fertilizers and synthetic fertilizers that are allowed under the organic regulations. Essentially, a producer can earn the USDA organic seal if the animals have been fed an organic diet including organic grains and have been allowed access to the outdoors all year-round.  Also, the animals may not be treated with any hormones or antibiotics. The animals have to be raised in an environment that accommodates good health and natural behavior.

Producers of organic meat have to submit documentation to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMA) of the USDA under the National Organic Program for certification. Sellers of organic meat that is worth less than $5,000 per year are allowed to sell organic meat without certification. In other words, the smaller producers are allowed to market their meat as organic, but can’t use the USDA organic seal if they don’t have full certification.

Grass fed meat

Grass fed meat is produced when the animal ate grasses and forages exclusively for the length of its life. Although the grass fed label is regulated by the Food Safety and Inspection Services FSIS of the USDA, it is not a strict regulation. The producer of grass fed meat must submit documentation to FSIS showing that the animals are fed on an all-grass diet. The claims have to be verified by USDA. Unlike in organic meat where the verification has to be conducted by auditors who visit the producer, the grass fed meat verification happens from an office.

The grass fed label from USDA is strictly focused on addressing the animal’s diet and not whether the animal received antibiotics or hormones. Hence, producers who are concerned about that should go for the American Grassfed Approved Label from the American Grassfed Association. The association issues labels to meat producers who feed their animals with a diet of 100 percent forage and never given antibiotics or hormones.

European researchers, in a recent study, found out that there is no sufficient data to conclude on whether organic meat is healthier for humans or not.  However, organic meat has lower concentrations of certain saturated fatty acids as compared to grass fed meat.

Zachary Parker

Leave your message