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American Grass Fed Beef Newsletter
May, 2003

Circulation 15,021

Welcome to the latest issue of the American Grass Fed Beef Newsletter. In this issue, you will find the following:

* Next Grass Fed Beef Drawing
* Our Recent Crisis

* LA Times Grass Fed Beef Articles
* Grandmother's Pot Roast Recipe
* Jack's Burger Recipe
* Protecting Your Family From Mad Cow Disease


The next American Grass Fed Beef drawing will be 5/31/03. If you are subscribed to this newsletter, you are automatically entered into our next drawing. 

If you received this e-mail from a friend, sign up for our newsletter and enter our drawing at the following web page:

Good luck to all ! ! !


As usual, last month we were deluged with orders after offering our newsletter special.  A few hours after the newsletter was published, our family was discussing the logistics of shipping the avalanche of orders when we got an emergency call about our son, Pete.

Pete has been attending school in South Carolina. He was doing construction work and wanted to burn excess material using gasoline.  He knew better, but...

We received a call from the emergency room at the local hospital in South Carolina telling us that they had done all they could for him there and were flying him to the burn center in Augusta, Georgia.  We left Missouri within 30 minutes and drove 14 hours to Augusta.  

We arrived only a short time before they took Pete to surgery.  We found him in good spirits, but in a lot of pain.  He had sustained mostly 2nd and some 3rd degree burns to his face, arms, hands, and legs.  

His injuries were not as bad as we had first thought when receiving the initial call.  Just hearing that they had to fly him by helicopter to a burn center gave us a very worrisome drive.
Once he was out of surgery and intensive care we were thankful it had not been worse.

By Sunday, we realized our sons left in Missouri would be having an extremely difficult shipping day on Monday due to such a huge number of orders to get out.  Though they assured us that they could handle it, Mark flew home to Missouri and I stayed with Pete in Augusta.  The Missouri family got all the orders shipped and I took care of Pete.

Now, 3 weeks later, all 8 of us are together in Missouri.  Pete has recovered remarkably well and we thank God.

========================================= was recently reported to be "one of the prime places to buy" grass fed beef in the LA Times.   We welcome the Californians who have joined us this month because of the LA Times articles.


Our family tradition of grass fed beef pot roast goes back at least 3 generations and has served as the base of family Sunday dinners for as long as I can remember.  As a child I loved to spend Saturday nights with my grandmother.

I remember her rising early in the morning to get Sunday dinner cooking before church.  After church, the extended family would all gather around the table for this meal we shared together each week.  

My family of 8 still makes pot roast as a special shared meal. Every time I prepare pot roast,  I think of my mother and grandmother who taught me their family recipes.  

Below is my grandmother's way.  I asked her once to write the recipe out for me and her written rendition is a precious heirloom to me.  Of the old school, who never measured any ingredients, she wrote as she spoke and added pinches and smidgens of things.  I hope my modern adaptation of what I learned watching her will warm your heart as it does my family's.

3 T flour
1  t salt
1/2  t  fresh ground pepper
3 lb grass fed beef roast
3 T lard, olive oil and butter, or coconut oil (your preference)
1 lg. onion
3 med. carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery
Herb packet:  parsley, peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme all tied up in cheesecloth
2 C  beef stock (homemade best)
1 T   arrowroot or cornstarch

Mix together the flour, salt, and pepper, and dust the beef.  Heat oil in Dutch oven until fairly hot.  Brown the meat on all sides.

Add onions, carrots, celery, herb packet, and beef stock.  

Cook (covered with lid) in oven 275 for 2-4 hours or until tender.  Turn meat over after 2 hours. 

When tender, remove the roast and herb packet.  Mix the cornstarch or arrowroot in a small amount of cold water then add it to the broth to thicken (optional).

Variation:  A wonderful variation known as Beef Bourguignon is to replace half the beef stock with dry red wine.  When doing this I add 1lb  fresh mushrooms.


My oldest son Jack loves to cook and is a balsamic vinegar connoisseur.  Everything he cooks is likely to have a balsamic vinegar flavor.  Luckily our family likes balsamic vinegar so his passion is enjoyed by all.

These are his favorite burgers.

4 lbs   lean grass fed ground beef 
1/2 lb  fresh mushrooms (chopped fine) 
1 lg.    onion (chopped fine) 
2 T      balsamic vinegar 
1 T      fresh minced garlic 
1 t       Celtic sea salt 
1/2 t    freshly ground black pepper 

Combine all ingredients. Form into hamburger patties. Grill until done. 


Our grass fed beef sales have soared since the discovery of mad cow disease in Canada this month.  When events like mad cow or E.coli hit the news, families seek trusted sources for their beef.  

Historically, mad cow has never been reported in cattle which are totally grass fed.  The outbreak in Britain and Europe which occurred 15 years ago has been linked to the practice of using animal by-products in feeding.  As a veterinarian, I know that providing cattle with their God designed diet of grass and forage using natural farming practices results in the safest beef for families.

We have received many questions in the last couple of weeks concerning the Canadian report and about Mad Cow Disease in general.  We have put a summary of these questions and facts together to help our readers have a better understanding.

What Is Mad Cow?

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), known in vernacular as Mad Cow Disease, is one of a group of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE).  These transmissible, slowly progressive, degenerative, fatal diseases affect the central nervous system of many animals including man and cause neurological symptoms.  These diseases include BSE in cattle, Scrapie in sheep, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in elk and deer, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) in humans among others.

What Causes Mad Cow?

The causative agent for these diseases have not been proven exactly, however, numerous theories exist.  The leading and most accepted theory is that the diseases are caused by a prion (a protein particle).  Other theories involve a virus, Spiroplasma bacteria, organophosphates, magnesium, aluminum, and the autoimmune system.  

The greatest attention has been given to BSE when evidence in the 1990s linked it to nvCJD (new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).  CJD has been recognized with worldwide distribution for at least 80 years and usually has an onset in 60-70 year olds.  New variant CJD (nvCJD) was only recognized in the last decade and has been the form linked to BSE.  It has been seen in young people and even children.

Though not proven how, BSE may be spread to humans.  Evidence indicates that nvCJD has occurred after consuming BSE-contaminated cattle products.  Evidence has also indicated that the transmission of BSE to humans is only possible with the consumption of brain, eyes, lymph nodes or spinal tissue.  

The outbreak of BSE in cattle, which occurred in Britain, is believed to have started from the feeding of Scrapie-contaminated sheep meat and bone meal to cattle.  This outbreak was then made worse by the practice of feeding rendered bovine meat and bone meal to young calves.

What is being done to prevent the disease from occurring in the United States?

In light of the BSE case reported in Canada this last week, US agencies moved quickly to prevent any chances of BSE or nvCJD in this country.  To date there have been no reported cases of Mad Cow or nvCJD in the United States.  

All imports of cattle or beef from Canada have been blocked pending further investigation.  This action is in addition to the regulations, which were put in place in the mid 90s.  These included blocking cattle and beef imports from all of Europe, requiring that all cattle showing any neurological signs upon USDA inspection be tested for BSE, prohibiting the use of most mammalian protein in feed, recommending that animal tissues used in drug products not come from a country with BSE, exclusion of blood from donors spending more that 6 months in England and funding research.

What can I do to protect myself and my family from Mad Cow?

The biology of TSE disease is just starting to be understood.  In the absence of facts, it is easy for paranoia and fear to overcome.  What is the bottom line on the safety of consuming beef in the United States today?  The following guidelines are aimed at what you can do to protect yourself and your family from possible exposure to BSE prions in beef.

Only buy beef from a trusted source and know the country of origin (supermarkets will be required to post this information in 2004). Investigate as to how the cattle are raised, where they originate and how they are fed.  Make absolutely sure that cattle are not fed meat and bone meal (any animal by-products).
Consider using grass fed beef rather than industrial beef (most supermarket beef).  Most industrial cattle have gone through calf feeding, background feeding and feedlots where possible use of animal-by-products could occur.'s cattle are 100% raised in open grass pastures and we do NOT feed animal by-products.
Locate beef sources where the cattle are raised under one operation and can be traced to birth.  In many cases, multiple ownership (where the animal has been sold several times at the various stages of production) means the history of the animal is not known and cannot be traced.  As's veterinarian, I personally  keep records for the care of each of our cows.
Acquire your beef from sources that do not use organophosphates.  In England, circumstantial evidence has indicated that the heavy use of organophosphates in hops fields where cattle then graze showed a cluster of cases of nvCJD.  Some speculate that a link exists.  At we never use organophosphates.
Purchase beef from USDA inspected processing operations where cattle are individually processed at a rate slow enough to allow the inspector to observe the cow prior to and during processing. Where care is taken to inspect that each carcass has had all spinal tissue removed.  A facility, which employs skilled butchers to process and package the beef individually reduces risk.  Currently over 95% of the beef in the US is processed at the rate of 400 plus cows per hour by unskilled labor.  Further, the practice is to combine beef products from many different cows.  At our cattle are processed individually and the beef is never mixed.
Consume ground beef made from whole muscle tissue rather than from beef trimmings, which are often combined from many animals.  Prions concentrate in the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system tissue.  The consumption of these tissues (even inadvertently), if the cow proved to be infected with BSE, is the supposed link to nvCJD in humans.  BSE prions have not been found in the muscle tissue where steaks and roasts are derived.  At our ground beef is made from 100% muscle tissue and is individually packaged.
When using industrial beef avoid sausage blends (often contain spinal tissues), and steak cuts which include the spinal column such as T-bone steaks.  The meat of the T-bone is safe, but the notch at the top of the T-bone could contain spinal tissue if improperly processed. At, our sausage and steaks are from 100% muscle tissue. Our gourmet steak cuts are free of bones. 
Surgical instruments and blood transfusions can transmit TSE.
Supplements often contain animal tissues (brain, glands, and organ meat).  Bovine tissues are also used in many cosmetics.  United States sources should be safe, but imported supplements may come from countries, which have BSE.

When recalls of beef from E.coli and mad cow disease occur, small grass farmers rest peacefully knowing their beef is safe and NOT among the group at risk.  For families who want to purchase the safest beef, my recommendation is to seek committed grass fed beef farmers using organic farming methods and who properly process their cattle.

Patricia Whisnant, DVM
Grass Farmer and Veterinarian

P.S.  Feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends, clients and colleagues.

PERMISSION TO REPRINT:   You may reprint any items from this "American Grass Fed Beef Newsletter" in your own print or electronic newsletter as long as the following paragraph is included:

Reprinted from "American Grass Fed Beef Newsletter," a free ezine published by Dr. Patricia Whisnant. This ezine features health information, recipes and tips about grass fed beef. Subscribe and enter a grass fed beef drawing at:

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