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Grass-Fed Beef

For most of agricultural history, “grass-fed beef” was a pleonasm, or unnecessary qualification; all cattle were grass fed. These animals evolved to graze on grass and other forage. It is only very recently that humans have begun supplementing or replacing that diet with grain. As grain-fed beef has come to dominate the market, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) now defines and regulates use of the “grass-fed” label as follows:

Grass (forage) fed—Grass and forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The diet shall be derived solely from forage consisting of grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes, Brassica), browse, or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state. ...

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