USDA Grass-Fed Beef Label in the Works

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced new rules for labeling meat from grass-fed livestock. The rules stipulate that meat labeled "grass fed" must come from animals fed solely on grasses, hay and other non-grain vegetation.

This label will help consumers choose meat from 'smart pasture operations' that are better for the environment. Unlike massive confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), these farms use sophisticated land management practices to maximize productivity without despoiling our air, water and soil.

Raising livestock on pastures avoids the crowding and illnesses that plague livestock in CAFOs. Modern grass-fed methods are also more cost-effective and environmentally friendly because they take advantage of low-cost grasses that typically require little added water, and few or no synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. A growing number of farmers across the country are now turning to this modern approach to livestock production.Additionally, grass-fed beef is better for public health. Grass-fed cattle contains higher levels of beneficial fats that may prevent heart disease and strengthen the immune system than meat from cattle raised in CAFOs. The study also found that grass-fed meat is often leaner than CAFO meat.

The rule becomes effective on November 15.

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