- Animals: bovine
- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Farm Business Management: marketing management, value added
In 2013, in partnership with the USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, Grass Run Farms and its collaborating cattle producers coordinated laboratory analysis of grass-fed beef primals to provide more authentic information to the retail consumer and put actual numbers to the discussion of grass-fed beef’s nutritional variation from conventional grain-finished beef.
This grant concluded in May 2014, one year from the design and implementation of the project. Samples were taken in June and July 2013, and nutritional analysis data were received in December 2013. Synthesis of the raw data (namely the creation of Nutrition Facts panels that are recognizable to the consumer) and promotion of the project began in January 2014.
Effective January 1, 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires vendors of raw beef muscle meats to make nutritional labeling available to the consumer at the point of sale, either as a poster displayed near the meat case in your grocery store, or on the package label.
- The available data doesn’t actually represent grass-fed beef production, widely understood to affect the fatty acid profile of livestock, thereby misleading the consumer.
- The scattershot nature of the database and lack of grass-fed beef data points doesn’t accurately represent the evolution of grass-fed beef production, which has expanded to meet consumer demand and now produces much more consistently finished product with intermuscular fat and a mature fatty acid profile.
Our goals were simple:
1. Collect good samples
2. Synthesize the data resulting from laboratory analysis
3. Broadcast the results to our marketplace