Author Topic: Can you speculate to what extent organic beef is grass fed (UK)?  (Read 4040 times)

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Offline Josh

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Hi there.

I wondered if you could speculate to what extent UK organic beef and lamb is likely to be grass fed if this is not specified, and what sort of amounts of polyunsaturates could creep in.

According to Peter at the hyperlipid blog, any beef in the UK is likely to be mostly grass fed:
Quote
In general grass is cheap and concentrates are expensive, certainly here in the UK. In areas where grass will grow and wheat won't, we grow cows. Via grass. It makes quite good silage for winter use too. If you are running a dairy unit you will feed the maximum possible of grass/silage and a minimum of cattle cake. Economics dictate this. It's a hard market for dairy farmers. But even the worst case lipid scenario, using a maximum of cattle cake, would be a 1:4 ratio in cream.

I'm guessing that the organic farms are likely to be fairly decent then.

The reason I ask is that I've found a place where apparently I can order as much suet and marrow bones as I like, as well as a variety of organs and dog chow. The meat comes from a collective with c. 200 farms..I couldn't contact them to get their opinion.

Obviously, tracing the sources and making sure they're grass fed is best but I have to weigh that against getting the food I need right away, and being able to have a supply I can rely on. Any thoughts?

Offline TylerDurden

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Re: Can you speculate to what extent organic beef is grass fed (UK)?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2009, 09:00:22 pm »
It's true that in the UK cattle are mostly grassfed(pigs are almost wholly grainfed, with only a few exceptions). Often, such cattle, however organic, will be fed grains during winter and during calving(I believe). So go for that organic beef right now, order some raw cod-liver oil(Blue Ice raw fermented cod liver oil is available from a UK(London) shop red23-something or other?) or from abroad, which will supply some of the omega-3s missing from the beef you buy.

In the meantime, keep on looking for 100% grassfed as that's a better option, ultimately. Generally speaking, a good clue re 100% grassfed, is when they claim that they just leave their animals outside to graze all year round. That implies they don't bother to feed them on anything but grass/herbs like clover etc.

You don't always have to choose grass as there are other options such as saltmarsh-fed lamb or heather-fed lamb etc.They are expensive and very rare, though.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 04:29:34 pm by TylerDurden »
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Offline invisible

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Re: Can you speculate to what extent organic beef is grass fed (UK)?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 10:38:29 pm »
I eat 'organic' meat not specifically grass fed meat, but I had a look at what certifies organic meat in australia and it said that they must always have acess to pasture eating grass, plants, sometimes hay. Maybe you could access the UK organic standards online.

Offline Michael

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Re: Can you speculate to what extent organic beef is grass fed (UK)?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2009, 03:08:49 am »
I'd agree with Geoff that it's a good idea to get the best quality organic meat you can find right now and supplement with raw CLO until you find a reliable source of 100% grassfed.  I should ad, however, that even here in the UK this is no easy task!

My own experiences do seem to demonstrate that the differences between organic and 100% grass-fed are well worth the effort.  I've been eating UK organic raw meats for 8 years or so but 100% grass-fed for only the last 6 months.  During that short period, I've observed phenomenal differences in my physique without any change to my exercise regime (basically walking & cycling).  I think this clearly demonstrates the different qualities of meat produced when ruminants are fed their natural diet.

From my own reading of the UK organic standards and producers websites describing animal-feeding protocols, organic feeds incorporating all manner of unnatural foods such as grains & soymeal, feature heavily.
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Offline Guittarman03

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Re: Can you speculate to what extent organic beef is grass fed (UK)?
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2009, 07:39:41 am »
I understand the omega 6:3 ratio is poor for grainfed.  Is that b/c grained cows overproduce omega 6, or underproduce omega 3?  or both?
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Offline Josh

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Re: Can you speculate to what extent organic beef is grass fed (UK)?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2009, 06:16:48 pm »
As I understand it the fat profile in the beef simply reflects what they're fed...grains contain omega 6 and grass contains omega 3. Maybe someone can clarify.

Thanks for answers...I think I will probably skip this one as suet is pure fat so you could end up eating a fair amount of Omega 6 if they're significantly grain fed. As I understand it it's best to limit the amount of 6 you take in as well as maximising the 3...i.e. the absolute amount of 6 you eat is important as it has negative effects.

Maybe this is one reason why you noticed such a big difference Michael?

I have a source of meat that I know more about - they only feed the calves grain in winter, then the cows eat pure grass so I'm more happy about it.

It seems important to have some source of fat though...I think I will eat eggs and dose up on fish oil and keep hunting for that supplier!


Offline Josh

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Re: Can you speculate to what extent organic beef is grass fed (UK)?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2009, 09:55:02 pm »
I've had a look into it a bit more and the situation doesn't look as bad as all that...the standard nutritional data for beef suet:

saturated fat   52.3g
monounsaturated fat   31.5g
omega 3   0.86g
omega 6   2.15g

This is for standard US beef, cows fed on who know's how much concentrate. So worst, worst case scenario, it's mostly saturated and monounsaturated, then about 2.2/1 omega 6 to omega 3.

Given that they claim their cow's are mostly pasteured, and they are UK the situation is likely to be much better.

It fits my criteria of is it better than what I would have eaten anyway - the best vegetable oils still have a fair bit of O 6, so reasonably happy to use as a fat source til something else comes along.



 

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