CONSUMERS BEWARE: WIDESPREAD LABELING FRAUD WHEN IT COMES TO "GRASS-FED" BEEF. Consumers are being ripped off by vague, misleading and downright dishonest labeling because the term "Grass-Fed" lacks a legal definition. As is the firmly entrenched pattern in agriculture, mega corporations are having a BIG pay hay day by co-opting "Grass-Fed" and defrauding well-intentioned buyers.
Of course, honest grass-based American beef farmers can't possibly compete with the massive corporate fraud. Fully 75-80% of "Product of USA" "Grass-Fed" beef is in fact IMPORTED.
Thanks to Big Ag's efforts, COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) labeling of beef was abandoned. So, that "Product of USA" "Grass-Fed" beef was most likely raised elsewhere – like Australia – and only PROCESSED in the USA.
Thanks to feckless USDA, the food fraud keeps coming. Caleb, Megan & Jim
"If you’ve eaten grass-fed beef in America over the past few years, chances are the cows weren’t raised in the U.S., even if the package has “Product of U.S.A.” printed on it…
"As consumers seek out premium animal products, grass-fed beef is riding a wave of popularity, hitting $480 million in supermarket sales for the 52 weeks ending April 20. This represents 15% year-over-year growth, compared with the rest of the sector’s 3% uptick, according to data from Nielsen. Restaurants have also jumped on the bandwagon…
"Mainstream retailers such as Kroger, Walmart and Safeway carry it, and such casual restaurant chains as Panera and Chipotle made the switch years ago. But as appetites for more naturally raised beef have grown, so have cheaper imports. At the 'finishing' phase of a cow’s life, raising grass-fed beef in Australia cost 59 cents for every pound gained, according to an April 2017 report on the market from Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. For a large U.S. grass-fed producer, that cost rises to $1.55 per pound. For a small U.S. producer, it can be as high as $4.26.
"Countries with four seasons of sunny, relatively temperate weather have a distinct advantage, since that translates into year-round grass and consistently high-quality beef—something the American grass-fed industry has struggled to produce…
"Unsurprisingly, less expensive grass-fed beef from these countries has been rolling into the U.S. for some time. By value, 75% to 80% of grass-fed beef sold in the U.S. comes from abroad,..
"The labeling gets even trickier, since the designation 'grass-fed' doesn’t have an official USDA definition. Unlike anything with an organic seal, which requires adherence to more definitive USDA rules, calling beef 'grass-fed' doesn’t require an on-farm inspection or even mandate that animals live freely on a pasture. Some 'grass-fed' beef comes from cattle raised in grass feedlots, where they are confined in pens and fed grass pellets, according to Stone Barns. Other beef products are labeled 'grass-fed, grain-finished,' a shorthand for the standard cattle practice of raising cows on grass for most of their lives and then fattening them up quickly at the end.
Foreign meat makes up the bulk of an increasingly sought-after product. Perdue Farms is hoping a new acquisition will revive domestic sales.