Product Review: TX Bar Organics Grass-Fed Beef – What Is It?
The product review: Texas Bar Organics Grass Fed Beef is a brand name of grass fed beef products from Central Coast Ranch. They are available at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide. There are many different types of grass-fed beef products available today, but only one type is called “grass fed”. These cattle have been raised on pasture with no added hormones or antibiotics for their entire lives.
What Is Grass Fed Beef?
Grasses are grasses that grow naturally on land. They include alfalfa, clover, clumps of dandelions, and other plants that provide food for animals such as cows and sheep. Animals eat these plants to gain nutrients like protein and vitamins. Some animals also eat insects to obtain some minerals like calcium or iron.
How Do You Know If Your Cattle Are Grass Fed?
There are two ways to tell if your cattle are grass fed. One way is to check the label of the meat. Another way is to look at them up close and personal. A third method is through DNA testing, which can be expensive and not always accurate. But all three methods can give you a good idea whether your cattle were grazed on pasture or not.
Should You Buy Grass Fed Beef?
A lot of people buy grass fed beef, but not all people do. There are several reasons why you might want to choose grass fed beef over grain fed beef. If you’re concerned about the negative impact of large-scale farming on the environment or on animal welfare, then you may want to buy grass-fed beef. It can also be a good choice if you’re trying to avoid antibiotics and hormones in your food. Check out these reasons why you might want to choose grass-fed beef.
1. Grass-Fed Beef Is (Probably) Leaner
Maybe you’re not eating a lot of red meat, and maybe you are, but it’s pretty safe to say that most people are eating leaner cuts of grass-fed beef than those from grain-fed cows. That’s because the fatty external coat that grows in response to being fed grain isn’t there in grass-fed cattle. This can have a positive impact on your health because you’re consuming less fat.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that grass-fed beef is leaner than the beef that you buy in the supermarket.
2. Grass Fed Beef Contains More Healthy Fats
On the other hand, grass fed beef contains more healthy fats like omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). These fats are known to improve heart health, and may even help you lose weight. That’s because CLA may help reduce fat storage, while omega-3s may help suppress your appetite.
3. Grass Fed Beef Is (Probably) More Nutritious
While grass-fed beef doesn’t contain any more cholesterol or sodium than grain-fed beef, it does contain more of certain nutrients like vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. For example, a 6-ounce serving of grass-fed ground beef has almost four times more vitamin A and 2 1/2 times the amount of omega-3s than an equal portion of grain-fed beef.
4. Grass Fed Beef Is (Probably) Better for the Environment
Grasses take in carbon dioxide and give back oxygen. They also can act as sponges, preventing floods and retaining water in the soil. And because of this, grass-fed cattle can actually help the environment.
5. Grass Fed Beef Tastes Better
Some people claim that grass-fed beef tastes better because it has more flavor. Others believe that it tastes gamey, at least until they get used to it. If you’re used to the taste of regular beef, then you might not like the stronger flavor of grass-fed beef.
Should You Trust Labels?
The United States Department of Agriculture or USDA recommends that you always check the fine print on the label. That’s because just because it says 100% grass-fed beef doesn’t mean that it actually is. It could contain as little as 1% grass-fed beef with the rest being grain-fed, or it may not have been fed at all and was instead scavenging on pasture. If you’re serious about only getting grass-fed beef, then you need to check the label to ensure that it meets your standards.
The Labeling Process
The USDA has set some labeling requirements for grass-fed beef. First, the term grass-fed has to be displayed somewhere on the package. The word feed cannot be used in front of the words grass or grass-fed.
Second, the animals must have access to pasture. That means they can’t be locked up in a feedlot, as was common within this system of raising cattle in the past. Under these guidelines, they only have to be outdoors for a minimum of four months to bear the label grass-fed. Last, and most importantly, the cow has to eat nothing but grass. If it eats anything else, including grain and soy, then it can’t display the grass-fed label.
The Best Grass-Fed Cattle Are Pasture-Raised
The best type of grass-fed beef comes from cattle that have been raised entirely on pasture. These animals roam freely and eat grass as nature intended. Unfortunately, there are no official standards for pasture-raised grass-fed beef.
The majority of farmers do not follow any type of certification program to verify that their product meets a certain standard. While this lack of oversight may seem alarming, it does provide you with the opportunity to source locally from a farmer that you trust.
How to Buy Grass-Fed Beef
When buying grass-fed beef, it’s best to buy directly from a local farmer that you trust or a butcher.
Sources & references used in this article:
Prevalence and concentration of verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes in the beef production chain: a review by JR Rhoades, G Duffy, K Koutsoumanis – Food microbiology, 2009 – Elsevier
Life cycle environmental consequences of grass-fed and dairy beef production systems in the Northeastern United States by NE Tichenor, CJ Peters, GA Norris, G Thoma… – Journal of cleaner …, 2017 – Elsevier
Grass-Fed Dairy Steer Enterprise Analysis for Alexandre Family Ecodairy Farms by JJ Alexandre – 2013 – digitalcommons.calpoly.edu
Sensory and flavor chemistry characteristics of Australian beef: influence of intramuscular fat, feed, and breed by D Frank, A Ball, J Hughes… – Journal of agricultural …, 2016 – ACS Publications