grass fed test

Does Your Grass Fed Beef Pass The Test?

Protocols of Dr. Patricia Whisnant
Grass Farmer and Veterinarian

Grass Fed Beef TestWhy This Item Is Important
Does your cattle’s nutrition come totally from grass and natural forage pastures using organic farming methods their entire lives? Do you know that almost 100% of cattle in the United States are grass fed at some point in their lives? However, if cattle are fed animal by-products or a “vegetarian diet of grains or corn” during any period of their lives and especially during the finishing stage (last 90 days), these cattle DO NOT qualify as grass fed beef. If cattle are NOT raised on grass and finished on grass pastures eating entirely natural forage and grass, most of the health benefits from grass fed beef are totally destroyed.
Do you enforce a a firm policy to NEVER give your cattle growth hormones, steroids or antibiotics even for therapeutic purposes? If a cow is ever given hormones, steroids or antibiotics, is the instance documented and the cow removed from your grass fed beef program? Due to health concerns, Europe has banned the import of American beef raised using hormones, steroids and antibiotics. In our opinion there are NO “safe” hormone, steroid or antibiotic residues for our families to consume in beef. Here is an interesting loophole used by many large producers . . . cattle in feedlots will almost assuredly need prophylactic antibiotics. Their unnatural diet of grain and by-products require antibiotics to keep them from crashing. Do NOT allow your beef supplier to play word games . . . your beef supplier should NOT allow therapeutic or prophylactic antibiotics.
Are your cattle provided with adequate grass pastures for free roaming with supervised pasture rotation? There are a lot of marketing claims for “free range beef”. Free range is not enough . . . cattle need to be rotated to fresh pastures regularly. If they are not rotated, cattle will tend to graze in one area, deplete the land and not get maximum nutrition from their forage diets. Pasture rotation, also, decreases contact with potential disease causing pathogens and parasites. Cattle need to be closely supervised and rotated to new pastures on a regular almost daily schedule.
Do you have a firm enforced policy of NEVER using artificial fertilizers, weed control chemicals or pesticides on your cattle grazing land? If properly managed, cattle return to the land what they take out of it in forage by natural fertilization and animal aeration. Intensive pasture rotation complements the natural cycle of nitrogen, minerals and water. This eliminates the need for fossil fuel, heavy artificial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
Are your cattle finished for 90 to 120 days in special finishing pastures of alfalfa, grass and high nutrition forage? The finishing stage is extremely crucial. If cattle are fed a “vegetarian” grain/corn diet, growth hormones, antibiotics, steroids and/or animal by-products during the finishing stage to quickly gain weight . . . their beef will lose the documented health benefits of grass fed beef. Even grass fed cattle fed hay during this stage will not provide the healthiest grass fed beef possible for your family’s health.
Do you enforce a firm policy to NEVER finish your cattle in feedlots? Most cattle start out on grass but feedlots are where the majority of the cattle in our country are finished. Feedlot beef is NEVER grass fed beef. Feedlots are designed to pack thousands of cows into a cramped area to put on the greatest gain in the shortest amount of time for the greatest profit. This means they are fed a least cost ration based on “vegetarian” grain boosted with growth steroids and often includes animal by products. It may be cheap and quick but it is NOT healthy for cattle or for us. ONLY if cows are raised AND finished in grass pastures will they have the documented benefits of grass fed beef.
Are your cattle harvested at 18 to 24 months of age? Older cattle do not produce tender, flavorful beef. Many times so called “grass fed beef” is beef from older dairy cows that aren’t productive any longer. These cows eat grass and have not been fattened in a feed lot so they are sold as “grass fed” beef.
Do you only take small groups of cattle (less than 10 cows) with no unnecessary stress for processing? Cattle are usually transported by semi-trucks to the processing plant which adds to their stress. This is at best uncomfortable to the animal (adding to their stress) and mass transportation can even be considered inhumane. Stressed cattle affects the taste and the tenderness of your beef.
Are cows processed individually with the processing area sterilized between each cow with skilled labor implementing government standards for safe processing? 90% of the beef in this country is processed at the rate of 400 cows per hour by unskilled labor. The large beef recalls in this country have all come from facilities with these breakneck speeds.
Is your grass fed beef NEVER irradiated or chemically bathed? Large processing facilities will regularly use irradiation and chemical baths to compensate for breakneck processing speeds and unclean environments.
Do you use skilled butcher labor for processing cattle? A skilled, trained butcher not only knows how to safely handle beef to minimize contamination but also knows how to produce gourmet cuts for discerning customers. They are skilled craftsmen who take pride in their work.
Is your grass fed beef dry aged for a minimum of 14 days? Grass fed beef is an extremely lean beef. The art of dry aging tenderizes the beef and concentrates its wonderful beefy flavor. Wet aging (in the vacuum sealed bag) or no aging will NOT provide the same gourmet results. Dry aging is a simple, natural process but an expensive one. Dry aging requires long storage (at least 2 weeks), shrinkage (equates to 15-20% less marketable beef) and a skilled experienced butcher to do it correctly. In the profit conscious and mass production oriented beef industry, dry aging is becoming a lost art.
Is your beef safely and quickly shipped without the use of hazardous dry ice? Why ship grass fed beef, a health food item, using dry ice which is considered a hazardous material? Your shipping company is not allowed to leave hazardous materials on your doorstep. This can lengthen your delivery process and chance of spoilage.
Is your grass fed beef packaged in small servings and vacuum sealed for convenience? Vacuum sealed packages in small servings can be prepared quickly with no waste. Also, vacuum sealed packages have twice the shelf life in the freezer over butcher wrapped beef commonly used by other grass fed beef farms.

If your beef, does NOT pass the Grass Fed Beef Test . . . consider our true gourmet grass fed beef at Our family owned grass farm not only meets but EXCEEDS these standards.

Patricia Whisnant, DVM
Grass Farmer and Veterinarian

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