The organization Animal Welfare Approved recently pointed out loopholes in the USDA "Grass Fed" standard. The statement was released as La Cense Ranch announced it is the first grassfed beef producer to be certified under the USDA standard.
Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther stated the government standard only partially addresses buyers' expectations for grassfed meat. He expressed concern that consumers may believe ruminants are raised on pasture for the duration of their lives, without confinement or feedlots. The USDA standard does not guarantee this.
As it stands, it only requires access to the outdoors during the growing season. This could mean that six months of the year, animals can be kept confined as long as they are fed grass and forage. Animal Welfare Approved and American Grassfed Association assert animals should have to be on pasture or range to be considered grassfed.
on October 7, 2009