Savvy and sensitive supermarket shoppers love informative labels that also make them feel good about their meat purchases. Phrases like “free-range” or “grass-fed.” Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, knowing the animal lived a naturalistic, humane life in the great outdoors before meeting its fate on the kill floor. Viva cognitive dissonance!
Now the United States Department of Agriculture wants to make the “grass-fed” label hollow and meaningless. Under proposed rules, “grass-fed” cattle won’t need to actually ever graze on a pasture and can be fed vegetable matter other than grass.
The new rules are under discussion in the first place because no standard definition exists, and demand for grass-fed beef is going up. But do regulators really need to adopt the lowest common denominator?