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What is the difference between grass-fed and grass-finished beef?

Margaret Floyd
Nutrition & Dietetics
Ruminants -- cows, sheep, goats, and buffalo -- are described as grass fed or grass finished. The U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has not yet come to a formal definition of either grass fed or grass finished, but generally speaking, grass-fed beef means the cattle ate only grass or forage most of their lives. These animals may have been "finished" on grain, which means they were fed grain in the last 90 to 160 days of their lives. Grass finished, on the other hand, is a more specific term meaning that the cattle were fed grass throughout the entire course of their lives, even in the finishing stage (the last 90 to 160 days). Because there is no formal definition, many people use these two terms interchangeably, but ideally you want to find beef that was grass finished.

An important point is that if an animal is grass fed or grass finished, this doesn't necessarily mean it's organic. But it's a rare thing to find a farmer raising grass-fed or grass-finished cattle also using pesticides and growth hormones. Generally speaking, when it comes to ruminants, grass fed or finished is the gold standard in terms of nutritional value, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability.
Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You

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Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You

Eat Naked with Margaret Floyd for a Sexier You Are you fed up with counting calories? Confused by all the diet hype? Want to eat delicious, real food and look and feel great? Leading...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.