Understanding Meat Labels

Understanding Meat Labels

You might not be getting what you think!

In this brave new world where, despite the clear consumer demand for cleaner, healthier food, the use of antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides and toxic animal feeds continues to increase.

In today’s grocery stores, meat labeling and packaging are touting higher quality and fewer chemicals like never before. It’s important to understand what these labels mean, and where they may deceive.

Four important words and phrases you’ll see at the store and what they mean when it comes to your meat:

  1. 100% Grass Fed – This is the highest quality of meat available. Animals are fed only grass, raised on generous pastures, given no antibiotics or growth hormones and are produced on American farms.
  2. Grass Fed – These animals can graze, but unlike 100% Grass Fed cows, they are fed alternatives and can be “finished” with grain, 2-3 months prior to slaughter. This is not often noted on the labels.
  3. Organic – Certified organic pastures follow strict rules and have annual inspections by the USDA. Animals are not to be confined, there are sanitary requirements, restrictions on how many animals are allowed based on land size, and zero exposure to GMOs, chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, etc. However, organic cattle can still be grain finished, often not noted on the labels.
  4. Natural – Talk about a label that says a lot about nothing! How about “natural”? What this means is the meat can contain artificial ingredients e.g. flavoring, coloring preservatives, salt or other additives. What this also means is “natural” meats can be raised in confined operations (CAFOS), GMO feeds are permitted, as well as any antibiotic or hormone regimen. How’s that for “natural”?

Since we’re deconstructing this Orwellian “ignorance is strength” dystopia, let me hand you a few more meaty facts about truth in labeling:

Animal products certified organic and those labeled 100% grass fed are typically vaccinated. Animal vaccines, like human ones, contain toxic compounds such as formaldehyde, aluminum and mercury. We’re talking about your “certified organic” meat here, full of mercury and aluminum!!

Cows are ruminants. They can digest cellulose. They are grass eaters, not grain eaters! Over 30 years of data confirm grass fed animals have a healthier nutrient profile compared to grain fed animals. 100% grass fed cattle have healthier Omega3/Omega6 fatty acid ratios, have higher vitamin A and E levels, and antioxidant powerhouses glutathione and superoxide dismutase.

Grain fed animals, organic or not, have higher amounts of inflammatory fats, which create free radicals and chronic diseases.

So what does one do?

Know what your labels mean!
Buy local!
Ask questions! Is your local rancher 100% grass fed? Do they use chemicals or pesticides? Are the animals ever confined? Are they handled and slaughtered in a humane way?
Here at Pine Island Beef Company, we are beyond organic. Come talk to us and find out about our culture, clean food, and thoughtful practices. Meat is the finest food source there is, and it can be extremely nutritious and healthy for you and your family.

Do your due diligence. Always buy 100% grass fed!


“Let thy food be thy medicine,
and thy medicine be thy food”
Take care,


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