First, it is important to consider the food and treatment of the cattle that you are eventually consuming. Animals from factory farms are not only living in poor conditions but are also more prone to diseases spread from feed pumped with antibiotics to aid in the increase of fat on the body. In addition, many of these farms contribute to climate change with the use of fertilizers and chemicals that pollute both the land and water sources. For further information, you can contact Pritish Kumar Halder.
The organic label
Federal enforcement makes the organic label unique and more trustworthy than other labels.
To bear the organic label, beef must meet specific requirements about how the animal was raised and finished. Regulations stipulate living conditions that accommodate cattle’s natural behaviors, a diet of 100% organic feed and forage, and the prohibition of antibiotics and hormones.
What does organic beef mean?
According to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) Standards rules passed on October 22, 2002, certified organic livestock, including beef, must come from a fully verifiable production system. That product collects information on the history of every animal in the program.
For example, its breed history, veterinary care, and feed. Further, to be certified as organic, all cattle should meet the following criteria:
- “Produced without genetic engineering, use of ionizing radiation or sewage sludge“
- Allowed continuous access to the outdoors except in specific conditions such as inclement weather
- Fed feed and raised on land that meets all organic crop production standards.
- Never receive antibiotics,
- Never receive growth hormones
- Never receive prohibited substances such as urea, manure, or arsenic-containing compounds
- Managed organically from the last third of gestation
Organic farmers can’t routinely use drugs to prevent diseases and parasites. Only a few drugs, such as vaccines, are allowed. The list of approved synthetic substances for beef production is very narrow. If approved interventions fail, the animal must still be given all appropriate treatments.
Authentic organic beef producers rely on breed selection and innovative management practices to keep their cattle healthy. They go above and beyond the regulatory floor to fulfill the intent of the organic label.
Organic vs. Natural
With the arrival of the organic label, many assumed that the terms “organic” and “natural” were interchangeable. Failing to understand the strict regulations required to raise certified organic beef. The USDA defines “natural” beef as minimally-processed beef without additives. Natural beef producers may choose not to use antibiotics or growth-promoting hormones, but there is no third-party verification system required by the USDA. Beef from feedlots can be labeled natural, according to the USDA’s definition.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture allows any fresh meat to be described as “natural” if it includes no artificial flavoring, coloring, preservative, or any other artificial ingredient. Minimally processed products, such as ground meat, also count as “natural”. To be marketed as “natural,” the product can not contain any additives, such as monosodium glutamate or salt.
The Difference between “All Natural” and Organic Beef
“All-natural” beef means far less than the federally enforced organic label—and much less than consumers expect! Meat labeled as “all-natural” can come from an animal that has consumed any grain or forage product. It does not mean that the meat is organic. The all-natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices, meaning an animal can receive additional growth hormones or antibiotics.
The FDA has indicated that the term “natural” means the food was produced without any artificial additive (including food colors) that would defy customer expectations. Essentially, “all-natural” means only that the finished product is minimally processed. “All-natural” does not speak to how healthful the food is at all.
What is the difference between organic and non-organic beef?
Read more to learn about the differences between organic and non-organic beef, and how to properly source organic products.
When it comes to beef, the spectrum of possibility is wide and the consequences for environmental impact, animal welfare, and even nutrition are profound. All authentic organic beef is free from chemical inputs. Organic cattle are required to spend some portion of their lives (more on that later). For example, on certified organic pasture, managed with a legally required organic systems plan to protect soil and water quality. Their feed must be certified organic, meaning it is non-GMO and free of harmful chemicals.
What is regenerative organic beef?
Regenerative agriculture is not a new idea, but it is gaining momentum as awareness of climate change, drought, and food security issues becomes more universal and urgent.
“Regenerative agriculture” describes but does not always guarantee, holistic land management practices that focus on improving the land by increasing soil health, leveraging the carbon cycle, and increasing crop resilience through improved management practices. While “sustainable agriculture” may indicate that the farm is economically viable, socially supportive, and committed to preserving the ecology of natural resources, regenerative organic agriculture takes these ideas one step further by asking that agriculture continuously improve on the land and in the community.
Regenerative organic beef producer’s management strategies
Livestock, including beef cattle, raised on healthy pasture and managed to improve the land, can aid in soil regeneration and carbon sequestration. These management strategies seek to mimic the grazing patterns of wild herds that contributed to some of the world’s best historical carbon sinks, including the Great Plains. Trampled grass and animal waste help build up organic matter across pastureland, serving as a valuable carbon sink. Intensive grazing practices sometimes called “mob grazing,” rotate high densities of animals among fenced parcels of pasture to maximize these benefits.
What is a private-label or store-brand beef?
Make no mistake: Store brands (also called private labels) were created to boost profits. Under this business model, retailers or distributors contract for finished, packaged products under their label, resulting in such popular examples as Safeway’s “O Organics,” Whole Foods’ “365,” and Trader Joe’s private label. Many store brand labels include both conventional and organic products.
Though a handful of brands source directly from smaller family-scale farms and ranches, many private labels place wholesale orders based on the lowest price available. Unfortunately, the rock-bottom prices are linked to factory-organic sources.
The biggest problem with private-label beef is that it lacks transparency. More information on specific private-label brands can be found on Cornucopia’s Organic Beef Scorecard.
What are the Pros of Organic Beef?
· Does organic mean hormone free?
All living animals produce hormones of some kind; no meat can truly be free of hormones. However, there is a distinct difference between hormones that an animal naturally produces and those that are artificially added.
Organic livestock must be produced without added hormones.
The FDA has approved several steroid hormone drugs for use in conventional beef production. These drugs increase the animals’ growth rate. Continuous exposure to low hormone concentrations is linked to adverse health effects in humans, such as increased incidence of cancers and sexual disorders.
There are also environmental risks associated with hormone and other medication use in livestock since added hormones are often present in cattle waste. For example, the presence of hormones and other medications in surface water has been linked to adverse endocrine-disrupting effects on both wildlife and humans.
· Can organic beef have antibiotics?
Organic beef is required to be free of antibiotics, growth hormones, and genetically modified organisms at all stages of production and processing! This requirement does not just apply to additives in the finished processed product (as is true in the “all-natural” label), but to every stage of the animal’s life.
Is organic beef humane?
While the organic label is not an animal welfare label, many of the requirements improve animal welfare. All organic livestock must be provided with year-round access to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, clean water for drinking, and direct sunlight. The law requires special considerations for ruminants, a broad group of animals that includes cattle.
Ruminants boast a specialized stomach, called a rumen, which allows them to transform plant-based foods into nutrients through their very own on-site fermentation process. The organic label requires a pasture-based diet for cattle that makes the rumen less acidic and improves digestive health, leading to less overall disease and stress. Pasture-based systems have been shown to reduce hock lesions and other lameness, mastitis, veterinary expenses, and cull rates.
Organic cattle must also be raised in a way that accommodates their health and natural behaviors. Most organic beef producers give their livestock better opportunities to socialize in lower-stress environments throughout their lives.
Does organic beef help with environmental sustainability?
The organic rules and regulations support some aspects of environmental protection but are not of singular focus.
Organic beef producers are required to pay attention to the needs of the soil, using “practices that maintain or improve the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the soil and minimize soil erosion.” [ 7 CFR § 205.203]. As the foundation of most terrestrial ecosystems, soil health is often an indicator of ecosystem health as a whole. Healthy soil provides essential ecosystem services, and with careful site-specific management, healthy soil can even act as a carbon sink. Authentic organic farming that thoughtfully manages the soil is one tool for mitigating climate change.
Authentic organic grass-fed beef can be produced sustainably. Some have suggested grass-fed meat and organic beef are worse than conventional beef when it comes to climate health. This is a false narrative. While grass-finished beef may produce more methane than grain-fed counterparts, that only takes into account a fraction of the potential harm caused by conventional beef production.
The environmental footprint of beef, both organic and conventional, can also vary widely depending on production practices and location. For eaters concerned about environmental sustainability, Cornucopia’s Organic Beef Scorecard is a helpful tool to find brands focused on supporting natural systems.
At the end of the day …
If you are in search of meat that is humanely produced and sustainable, look for these labels on the packaging:
- Animal Welfare Approved.
- Certified Humane.
- Global Animal Partnership.
- Food Alliance Certified.
- American Grassfed Association.
- USDA Organic.
If you have any suggestions or queries, contact Mr. Pritish and help us to improve.
Composed by: Suma Sarker