What is pasture Fed beef?

What is pasture fed beef

A few weeks ago we were once again awarded our Pasture For Life certified certificate after passing our annual audit.

We describe our beef as being ‘Pasture Fed’. But what does that mean exactly you may ask! Well in simple terms it means that our animals have been fed nothing but their own mother’s milk and fresh grass or conserved pasture (silage or hay) for the entirety of their lives.

It is a common misconception that all cattle in the UK are reared like this but the reality is that purely pasture fed animals and farming systems are sadly a rarity. This is largely due to the extended length of time it takes to ‘finish’ cattle in this way. Although with the ‘Regenerative Farming’ movement and far more public awareness of carbon footprint there are more and more farmers transitioning into the pasture fed system.

The carbon footprint of farms using a pasture fed system is significantly lower than that of farms where cereal crops are grown to feed animals or commercial feeds are brought in. Grassland helps to capture and to store carbon so less is released into the air to harm the atmosphere. Grazing animals return nutrients and organic matter back to the ground as they deposit their dung, ensuring the soil remains healthy and fertile.

You will often see the term ‘Grass Fed’ on meat labelling in butchers and supermarkets across the UK. Don’t be deceived by this absolute red herring! The term grass fed in the UK means very little. In fact it simply means that a percentage of their diet is grass but in some cases this can be as little a 51% the rest of the diet is made up with grain and commercial cattle feeds.

This labelling is just so misleading to the end consumer, who when stood in the supermarket aisle chooses the more expensive ‘grass fed’ steak and thinks they are making a great choice for the environment when in reality there is little to no difference to the cheaper non grass fed labelled steaks next to it on the shelf. It just makes me so cross and I can often be found marching up and down supermarket aisles getting irate!!

The only way to ensure that the meat you are buying is pasture fed or as some would say grass fed and grass finished is to buy meat carrying the PFLA certification mark. You will notice that every piece of beef from a pack of mince to a roasting joint that we sell will be labelled with this.

Our Pasture Fed Livestock Association certificate can be found in pride of place on the wall in the shop!