USDA Proposes New Labeling System

Consumers want organic meat because it is better for the environment and offers a number of additional health benefits. However, many consumers assume organic meat means the animals are grass fed, but this isn’t always the case.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Organic Program is working with consumers and producers to make new standards so consumers know exactly where their organic meat comes from.
The Cornucopia Institute surveyed organic meat producers to help the USDA understand producers’ practices. The survey found that producers allow the cattle to graze on organic certified land until slaughter. Rarely do producers confine the animals to feed lots as most consumers assume. 60 percent of producers feed 100 percent of their animals with solely grass feed, while 20 percent of producers feed the cattle grain.
Consumers don’t understand that organic does not necessarily mean that the animals are grass-fed, therefore the USDA is proposing an inspection system that labels meat “organic- grain finished,” “organic- pasture/grain finished” or “organic- 100% grass fed.”
More and more consumers want to know where their food comes from, so organic beef is a growing interest with consumers.
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