Beef Labels - A Quick Cheat Sheet

Beef Labels – A Quick Cheat Sheet

With all the marketing that goes on how are you supposed to make an educated decision about what goes in your grocery cart? Specifically – beef! There are tons of labels on all food products, but today we’re going to give you a quick & dirty about what beef labels actually mean!

When you’re making choices for your family – you want them to be exemplary. Don’t get me wrong it’s incredibly important to be healthy yourself. Buying food has become a more emotional endeavor for many. But when you’re buying food for little people suddenly it gets so much more complicated. It’s this huge conundrum. You want to do right by the environment, you want to make sure the animals are treated well and you want to make sure what you’re putting in your children’s bodies is safe. I don’t blame you one bit. It’s called being a global citizen. Sharing a responsibility for the well being of the earth and it’s inhabitants doesn’t make you paranoid. It makes you generally curious.

Beef Labels – A Quick Cheat Sheet


Natural simply means minimally processed and containing no additives. This would mean all beef is technically ‘natural’. This term is under review by the FDA as it is often used to justify additional cost with no added differentiation of product.

Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-Fed beef is a voluntary marketing claim describing how beef animals are fed. This describes cattle who only eat forage based diets and grass having continuous access to it as well as milk before weaning. They may not consume any grain or grain byproducts. Grass fed has a more distinct taste and will oftentimes require different preparation and cooking methods.


Naturally Raised Beef

Naturally Raised Beef: Is beef from cattle that has been raised without hormones or antibiotics (with the exception of ionophores which are used for parasite control) and that have never consumed animal byproducts. It is important to note that even if your meat comes from an animal that is not classified as ‘naturally raised’ there are never any substances that would negatively impact your health present.

Organic Beef

Is cattle raised on one hundred percent organic feed (non GMO feed which use organic approved farming practices) and may not have antibiotics or hormones used. This is a product certified organic by the US Department of Agriculture.

Grain Fed/Finished Beef

Grain fed/finished beef is typically not labeled with anything additionally. It’s the largest majority of beef that is grown in the United States. These beef animals receive a balanced diet of grains, grasses and other forages in feedlots. They may have hormones or antibiotics used in their production.

So, with all that mumbo jumbo what’s important to know? It’s as simple as this.

What Labels On Beef Really Mean

Ninety seven percent of beef farms are family owned! All cattle are raised with animal welfare in mind, most are part of an education program to stay up to date with the latest research to do better. All ranchers and beef farmers are incredibly environmentally conscious. This is because many will be passing the land on and are already in their third or fourth generation of doing so. They strive to be great environmental stewards. All animals are not only humanely raised but humanely processed. Finally, all of your meat is inspected by the Food Safety and Inspection Services to guarantee it is safe for your family to consume.


Essentially beef labels are there for marketing purposes. They also serve to help you identify the products you want in your cart. But they shouldn’t give you any anxiety, just freedom of choice!

Have any other questions about beef labels, labels on other meats or beef in general? Be sure to drop them in the comments below – I can’t wait to answer them! If you’re dying to know more about how your milk is produced we’ve got that covered too!





  • Reply ruralris July 14, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Love this post Lauren! All the terms can get me confused, but I love that you make the point to say that it is all safe and nutritious. So true! Great work 🙂

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