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In the case of a lamb that probably does mean that it wasn't fed grains. They're getting tricky with their terms these days though. I went to a local farmer's market a while back and found two places that were taking orders for "grass fed" beef. If you looked closely at one of the the seller's information it was "grass fed"...."grain finished" and the grass fed part was in big letters. The other seller had grass fed and finished beef that was never fed any grain. If you didn't know that you needed to look to see how the meat was "finished" could be ordering a large amount of "grass fed" beef that's really just the same grain finished stuff you get everywhere else and you'd pay extra for the "grass fed" aspect that had been ruined with grain.
nice to live in a country where all the beef cattle and sheep live outside, eat grass and never get any prophylactic meds.
nicer still to raise beef in our very nutricious paddocks and kill them on site. just made this really delicious casserole with some mystery meat and home grown vegies.
the meat is a bit of a mystery because i am not too sure just what part of the beast it is. we do the home kill routine, the killer shoots two of the herd, we quarter them and he takes it back to the butcher and make up whatever the clients order. we sell quarters and halves to clients; it's the only way we can kill the beasts at home and sell the meat legally... no lack of customers, btw. but we are left with the head and everything inside to deal with. we get the tongue, the tail and all the organs (we feed the dogs a lot of the organ meat in season) and when you fish around inside the the carcasse, i must come up with 10 kg of muscle meat. too good for the dogs, anyway.
oh, we compost the stomachs and rumen, makes for a really hot compost pile. but we haven't figured out how not to put a few things in the offal pit.
From what I've read, grain finishing is done to increase fat content, which affects grading (Prime, Choice, Select). Pastured on beef should mean grass-fed, I've seen it more on pork and chicken which don't eat a whole lot of grass, but still means they lived in the open, eating their natural diet. For lamb it might also signify mother's milk, but I'm really guessing on that one.
buy nz lamb. it'll be raised on it's own mother's milk (most likely with its twin), raised entirely on grass in the spring and summer. there will be no added hormones or prophylactic antibiotics. it will have been innoculated, tailed and emasculated (males) at a week or two and most likely drenched for worms a couple of times (unless its organic) and killed en mass at he works after a generally unpleasant ride crammed into a stock truck.