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Thread: Is "pasture fed" the same as "grassfed" page

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    nopie's Avatar
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    Is "pasture fed" the same as "grassfed"

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    Or is it one of those "natural vs. organic" types of things. (I'm in Canada if it matters for labeling purposes)

    I am referring to lamb I bought at the grocery store.

    Just wondered if it's a good bet since finding grassfed beef is proving difficult for me.

    thanks

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    spughy's Avatar
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    There aren't any actual regulations regarding the use of either term, but it should be good. The only way to know for sure is to find out exactly what farm it came from and call them up and ask to visit. That's usually a good way to score some bulk pricing on some meat, too - and it gets you in contact with farmers, who know other farmers, and before you know it you've got a line on grassfed beef, ducks, pasture-raised chickens, rabbits - whatever you want.

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    Here's what I found at http://www.kawrivervalley.org/2011_02_01_archive.html

    "Grass Fed: Two Definitions

    Making matters more confusing, the USDA also has a separate grass fed rule that applies to ruminants such as cattle, sheep, goats, and bison. These animals must be fed “grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes, Brassica), browse, or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state.” (Although ruminants are best adapted to a grass-based diet, most animals in today’s food system are fed grains.) The grass fed designation also requires the animals to have “continuous access to pasture during the growing season.” Because the term “growing season” isn’t defined, however, some critics believe this language still permits certain degrees of confinement. For this reason, the American Grassfed Association has developed more stringent standards, which say the animal “must not be confined to a pen, feedlot or other area” during the growing season, prohibit antibiotics and synthetic hormones, and address other elements of animal welfare.

    Though it is unregulated at present, most small farmers consider the term “pasture raised” (or “pastured”) the best way to describe animals raised outdoors without confinement. Such farmers (and many eaters) still see “pastured” and “pasture raised” as more authentic terms that have yet to be co-opted by larger, industrial-sized companies."

    So it looks like pasture is better. The harder thing is finding grass-fed beef that isn't then grain-finished. It's pretty common practice.

    Hope that helps! This stuff is pretty hazy and tough to tease out.
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    nopie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. I did do some searching on this forum also and it seems like NZ lamb isn't a bad bet because they *apparently* run a tight ship over there, but yeah not going to be making the trip to check up on there farms any time soon.

    I will get out to local farms this spring if I can. My strategy for now is eating lots of wild fish and other seafood and whatever pasture/ grassfed meats I can at my grocery store/farmers markets.

    I wish there was some sort of definitive guide - Where to get decent food in "yourtown"...

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopie View Post
    Thanks for the info. I did do some searching on this forum also and it seems like NZ lamb isn't a bad bet because they *apparently* run a tight ship over there, but yeah not going to be making the trip to check up on there farms any time soon.
    I buy New Zealand Lamb from my local Whole Foods Market, and all cuts are label "100% grassfed". All New Zealand Lambs are 100% grass raised, and grass finished, according to my butcher.

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    Most Canadian beef is as well, but the extra cost to get it labeled as such makes it not worth the farmers time.

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    nopie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineC View Post
    Most Canadian beef is as well, but the extra cost to get it labeled as such makes it not worth the farmers time.
    Really?! Wow, that's interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineC View Post
    Most Canadian beef is as well, but the extra cost to get it labeled as such makes it not worth the farmers time.
    Huh. I wish it was easier to tell...

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    Canadian beef is largely grass-fed but most often grain-finished. The butchers here tell me that the strictly grass-fed operations sell usually only via farm-gate sales.

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    Nopie,

    I can get "pasture beef". But that isn't a legal term. I think more marketing than anything. It isn't free of antibiotics. According to the label it has "No Routine Antibiotics". Superstore/Loblaws sells a "Free From" beef, pork and chicken but the beef isn't grass fed/finished.

    I'm a little skeptical about finding grass fed/finished beef in most parts of Canada during the winter. I can't imagine the cows being out in very cold temperatures, snow and ice eating grass.

    As for chicken in Canada beware of marketing too. You aren't going to find free range in the middle of the winter. That is coming from the Chicken Farmers of Canada. They said if you see that in the store and it is fresh "it was likely once frozen". They have said themselves it is marketing.

    Chicken has been free of growth hormones and steroids since the 1960's. It is illegal in Canada. They are not used in our pork or dairy either. Unfortunately the conventional beef needs to have the growth hormones and steroids stopped.

    I get local lamb at the regular grocery store. It comes in fresh once a week. The Nova Scotia lamb is pretty nice.

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