What does "Grass-Fed" really mean?
As far as regulatory goes, the FDA does not have a clear definition of “Grass-Fed” for meats. When you see "grass-fed" labels on beef and beef collagen supplement products, consider these 4 facts.
Fact #1: Grass-fed does not mean "non-GMO"
Has it ever crossed your mind that your grass in your yard could be genetically modified?
The truth is, majority of grass seed growers in the U.S. and other countries use GMO seeds.
You may wonder - how does grass relate to my collagen supplement? First, collagen is derived from bovine (cow) hides. Second, cows that are grass-fed, may be chomping on GMO grass. Therefore, cows that are grass-fed do not always translate into “healthy cows” or “non-GMO”.
Beware! Your collagen supplement could contain genetically modified organisms (GMO).
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, “New Zealand maintains one of the most comprehensive and rigorous approval regimes for genetically modified organisms in the world.”
In other words, New Zealand is a certified non-GMO country. The US recognizes the successful regulations New Zealand implemented to establish a GMO-free country.
When you buy EatFit Collagen Peptides, you can rest assure that you’re getting 100% non-GMO collagen. We source collagen from New Zealand cows that are never fed with genetically modified grass. Instead, they are fed on natural, non-GMO grass and vegetation their entire lives and are never forced to eat grain.
Fact #2: Grass-fed does not mean 100% grass-fed
The term “Grass-fed” seems to be the buzz for meats these days. “Grass-fed” may give you an impression of a happy animal out in the field while a “grain-fed” gives you images of a feedlot, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) - crowded, inhumane and dirty.
As far as regulatory goes, the FDA does not have a clear definition of “Grass-Fed” for meats.
So, what does that have to do with collagen?
Majority of the collagen supplements in the US market today are derived from bovine (cow) hides. So, is important to note that, the quality of your collagen supplement is determined by where and how the cow is raised and finished.
Cows are meant to eat grass. It is their natural diet. All cows eat grass during the first 6 to 9 months of their lives.
Majority of the cows are then sent to the feedlot where they are fed mostly grain for the rest of their lives. These cows are fed with corn and soy which is not part of their natural diet. Cows in feedlots tend to get sick, hence they are given antibiotics. They are also given other drugs such as growth hormones to maximize growth.
Then, there are cows that are raised on grass but are finished on a grain-fed diet. What this means is that these cows eat mostly grass but are sent to the feedlots to be fattened or “finished” with a grain-fed diet, usually 18 months before the slaughter.
Then, there are cows that are raised and finished on grass-fed diet meaning, these cows eat natural grass and vegetation their whole lives.
To sum it up, “Grass-fed” does not equal “100% Grass-Fed”. Majority of the collagen brands that claim “grass-fed”, are they even 100% grass fed? Do you even know where the cows are sourced from?
New Zealand is world recognized for their grass-fed beef. It is a tradition for cattle ranchers in New Zealand to employ grass-fed and finishing, meaning the cows are fed natural grass and vegetation their entire lives. EatFit Collagen Peptides is sourced from New Zealand cows that are able to graze outdoor all year round in the large tracts of grassland and rolling hills due to the temperate climate.
Fact #3: Organic does not always mean pasture-raised and grass-fed
As far as organic certification for beef, cows can be grass-fed, grain-fed or a mixture of both as long as they are raised without antibiotics or hormones. In addition, the animal feed has to be produced according to USDA guidelines without the use of “conventional pesticides; fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge; bioengineering; or ionizing radiation.”
When purchasing Collagen supplement that is certified organic, be aware that the collagen could be sourced from grain-fed cows.
Fact #4: Grass-fed does not necessarily mean humane
Grass-fed, Pasture-raised, free-range - Do they all mean the same thing?
Let’s break it down to understand why these terms matter to your collagen supplement.
When it comes to beef, there are no legal definition or certification body for terms like free-range and pasture-raised. The USDA certification for “free-range” for chickens is not certified the same way for beef.
Most cattle ranchers that are committed to raising grass-fed cows allow the cows to range over pastures consuming grass, herbs, flowers and other natural vegetation their entire lives.
However, cows that are pasture-raised and fed mostly grass could be finished with a grain-fed diet to be fattened in their latter lives.
Take note that the grass-fed label is not an indication that the cows spent their entire life in a pasture. Only 100% grass-fed and pasture-raised where the cows graze on pasture for life, would be considered more humane than animal feedlots. You could also research the brand or look for voluntary certifications like certified Humane.