Natural vs. Certified Organic Foods

Cattle grazing on natural pasture

“A Certified Organic label does not ensure that you are purchasing the healthiest foods available.”

We are often asked why our ranch is not certified organic. Our answer is always the same: organic certification does not mean naturally raised. The organic label only refers to the feed that the animal has consumed; it does not imply that the animal was raised in a natural, healthy, sustainable way.

Many equate “organic” with “nutritious” and “healthy”. Few consumers are aware that many of the large organic producers raise their animals in confinement operations and feed them unnaturally high amounts of grain, just like ordinary commercial operations. Whether the animal is fed ordinary grain, genetically modified grain, or organic grain, feeding large amounts of grain to a grazing animal is unnatural and decreases the nutritional value of its products. When animals are taken off pasture and fattened on grain, they lose a number of valuable nutrients. For example, compared with grass-fed meat, grain-fed meat has only one quarter of the vitamin E, one-eighth of the beta-carotene, and one-third of the omega-3 fatty acids (source: Jo Robinson, "Pasture Perfect"). Animals should be fed their natural diet, not just an “organic” diet.

We believe that our natural, grass-fed foods is superior to the organic, grain-fed product of our competitors'. We grow and harvest all our own feed in an organic manner, the animals graze on natural grassland that has never been treated with pesticides, and the animals have a water source free of chemicals. Organic certification would entail additional costs that would increase the end price of our product. We believe that the benefit of organic certification does not justify these additional costs.

A Certified Organic label does not ensure that you are purchasing the healthiest foods available. When you see our Natural Grass-fed Foods label, you know the meat is going to be free of pesticides, antibiotic residues, and synthetic hormones. You also have the satisfaction of knowing that the ranch which produced the meat is practicing environmental stewardship.

Sources:
Robinson, J. (2004) Pasture Perfect: The Far-reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products from Grass-fed Animals. Vashon Island Press, Vashon, Wa. 160pp.

Organic is Not Grass-fed

Animals should be fed their natural diet, not just an “organic” diet.

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