When you go to the supermarket, or when you place an order for your own market, you’ve probably noticed that organic beef costs a fair bit more than traditional beef. Here, you can learn about the differences in organic beef and why they justify that additional cost.
What Is Organic Beef?
For a company to label their beef products as organic, the cattle must be fed certified organic feed. Organically-raised beef is never given hormones, including hormones used to expedite growth, and they are never provided with antibiotics. Some organic beef may be purely grass-fed, but this is not a requirement. Organic cattle may be given certain vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy or to enhance the quality of the meat, but these must also be certified organic. Finally, organic cattle cannot be contained in a feed lot for an extended period of time, which means they are never over-crowded or kept in unsanitary facilities.
Organic Beef is Healthier
When you buy and prepare traditional, non-organic beef, there’s no real way to know what kinds of hormones or antibiotics that animal was given before it found its way into your market. In some cases, they’re given growth hormone to speed the growth process, which allows farmers to sell their cattle for more money. They’re also provided antibiotics to prevent the infections that often come from being crammed into very close quarters, and studies have shown that traces of these antibiotics may be left in the meat – even after it has been thoroughly cooked.
It Simply Tastes Better
Organic beef is more tender than traditional beef for a few different reasons. Although growth hormone allows cattle to grow much larger in a very short period, which helps farmers get more money out of each head of cattle, the truth is that the muscle tissue is often tougher and has less flavor than organic beef, which can grow naturally. Animals taste like what they eat, too. Traditionally-farmed cattle are given high-energy grain diets that include fillers, including anything from chicken feathers to sawdust. Organically-raised cattle are fed high-quality diets, and some are even grass-fed, which results in more tender, tastier meat.
It’s Better for the Environment
When cattle are raised organically, they’re allowed to behave much as they would in their natural, wild state. There’s less need for fuel-driven machinery, which helps cut down on the use of fossil fuels and the pollutants they produce. What’s more, when it’s considered that a good portion of the corn grown in this country finds its way into cattle feed, switching to organic beef cuts down on the amount of fertilizers and pesticides used. Because organic beef is never fed grain treated with chemicals, there are fewer chemicals being washed into the ground and eventually into the water supply.
Organic cattle are healthier, and they taste better, too. Although it’s true organic beef does cost more than its traditionally-farmed counterpart, it’s possible to justify that additional cost with healthier food, a more protected environment, and cows that enjoy healthier, happier lives.