Natural Beef

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natural beef answers and questions
When you reading about natural beef it brings up more questions. Although I thought I had a good understanding of the subject I realized that I had a lot of things wrong. I am trying to find some answers to those questions about natural beef that you might also have. Including find out more about labels on packed meat.

Natural Beef Definition

Natural beef does not have to mean healthy beef. The USDA website gives their definition of “natural”

A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”).

As you can read from the horse its mouth the label saying “natural” just means no added ingredients. I read this as that this adding ingredients, can not be done after “minimal processed”. This mean in my opinion that they still can give the cows antibiotics and hormones before slaughter.

TIP! Have you ever seen that bright red colored hamburger meat in the store? Now you know why it can not say “natural” on the label

Labels on packaged beef

By reading the label you can get a better understanding on what beef you are eating. There can be several things on the label.
No Hormones in beef.

Again the USDA definition is:

The term “no hormones administered” may be approved for use on the label of beef products if sufficient documentation is provided to the Agency by the producer showing no hormones have been used in raising the animals.

No Antibiotics in beef

The terms “no antibiotics added” may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics.

I found this information on

Let’s look at three-ounce servings (because that’s the suggested serving size) of beef – one from an animal given an implant and one from an animal raised without added hormones. The serving from the animal given an implant contains 1.9 nanograms of estrogen. The serving from the animal raised without added hormones has 1.3 nanograms of estrogen. That’s not a huge difference, considering that one nanogram makes up .000000000035274 of an ounce.

From 1.3 to 1.9 is still a 56% higher percentage per serving size.
According to the US dept. of agriculture the average consumer will eat 222.2 pounds red meat and poultry in 2018.
There are 5.3 servings in a pound so that makes 222 x 5.3 = 1176 servings that contain 56% more estrogen than an “normal” cow would have every year.

I might not look like nothing but I think anything that it is added and not suppose to be there. Raised estrogen levels can give other health problems.

No Antibiotics in beef

Again the quote from the USDA:

The terms “no antibiotics added” may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics.

Grass fed Beef

On January 2016 the agricultural marketing service withdrew the grass fed claim for ruminant lifestock.
I was reading this document and other related documents and found the standards for grass fed beef on the website.

What this means is that farms still can get approves for claiming to raise grass fed beef. The government no longer has a official definition for it.
If you look for it you should find labels that say 100% grass fed, Grass finished, or grass raised and finished.
That are claims no company can make without proof. You can read here where to buy grass fed beef.

That means that grass fed can still mean in my opinion that they are finished on a feeding lot with corn and or soybeans.
I also tried to answer the question if grass fed beef is healthier here in this article.

There are third parties that work outside the USDA that you have to rely on.

Third party meat labeling you can maybe trust

Most reliable beef labels

Terms and labels like: certified grass fed, 100% grass fed, grass-fed and grass finished.

Maybe OK

Labels with: USDA process verified, 100% grass fed.

Be Careful with these meat labels

Labels with things like: US inspected and passed by department of agriculture, USDA Organic.
Organic means raised without drugs on an organic farm and free of GMO’s. Still means it can be grain fed in the last months of its life.

All the statements I made here are done and researched as thorough as possible but are my personal opinion. I suggest you do your own research before deciding on what natural beef to buy. Although I feel that the labeling above is pretty accurate.

My takeaway on natural beef

Natural beef is in my opinion beef that we ate for many centuries. Cows are made to eat grass and that is “natural”

Nowadays cows are eating grass and in the last couple of months of their lives about 97% of them are moved to feeding lots.
On these feeding lots they are fed corn and soybeans, not a natural food for them, to make them gain weight as fast as possible to get them ready for the market.

These corn and soybeans are GMO and spread with roundup and they end up in the beef and in our stomach.
The only natural beef is grass fed and grass finished. Lately I have made changes to my meat consumption.

I am not able to change 100% to grass fed beef because of the price. By the way we can lower the prices of natural and organic food like I wrote here.
I am now eating a small piece “natural grass fed and finished beef” that I buy at a farm near by and not a large portion lower quality beef.

Let me know your opinion about natural beef and meat in general



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