USDA Definition of "natural" beef
As conscientious shoppers, we are looking to buy beef products that are lean, healthy and delicious for ourselves and our families. Often times when standing in the beef aisle of your local supermarket, we are confronted with many products that use labels such as "all natural beef" or "pure beef". It can be confusing!
So what does "all natural beef" really mean? According to The United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA, FSIS) they define "natural" beef as follows:
"All fresh meat qualifies as "natural." Products labeled "natural" cannot contain any artificial flavor or flavoring, coloring ingredient, chemical preservative, or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient; and the product and its ingredients are not more than minimally processed (ground, for example). All products claiming to be natural should be accompanied by a brief statement which explains what is meant by the term "natural."
Source: USDA Definition of All Natural Beef
What About Antibiotics and Hormones in "Natural Beef"?
Referring again to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service antibiotics and hormones are approved for use in cattle:
"Antibiotics may be given to prevent or treat disease in cattle. A "withdrawal" period is required from the time antibiotics are administered until it is legal to slaughter the animal. This is so residues can exit the animal's system. FSIS randomly samples cattle at slaughter and tests for residues. Data from this Monitoring Plan have shown a very low percentage of residue violations. Not all antibiotics are approved for use in all classes of cattle. However, if there is a demonstrated therapeutic need, a veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic that is approved in other classes for an animal in a non-approved class. In this case, no detectable residues of this drug may be present in the edible tissues of the animal at slaughter.
Hormones may be used to promote efficient growth. Estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone (three natural hormones), and zeranol and trenbolone acetate (two synthetic hormones) may be used as an implant on the animal's ear. The hormone is time released, and is effective for 90 to 120 days. In addition, melengesterol acetate, which can be used to suppress estrus, or improve weight gain and feed efficiency, is approved for use as a feed additive. Not all combinations of hormones are approved for use in all classes of cattle. Hormones are approved for specific classes of animals only, and cannot be used in non-approved classes."
Source: USDA Definition of All Natural Beef
So again, that "all natural beef" that you are purchasing may not meet your expectations. Beware of packaging that says "hormone free". Hormones are naturally occurring, so no meat is really "hormone free". You want to look for the phrases "no added hormones", "raised without hormones" and "no antibiotics" to ensure the beef you are purchasing is meeting your perception of "natural beef".
Our Cattle At Circle L Ranch
When you are purchasing our Circle L Ranch 1/4 lb. beef burgers, or 1/2 lb. beef burgers, 1 lb. ground beef, jumbo all beef hot dogs, or any of our beef sides, you can be sure of the following:
No antibiotics. No added hormones. Nothing Artificial. Ever!
Additionally, our Limousin Lim-Flex cattle are finished for premium growth and fed abundant amounts of grain, hay and fresh clean water. Another distinguishing factor of Circle L Ranch is that we're a single source farm with complete control of our animals, as opposed to other beef products that are simply sourced from the "Midwest". With these products you might have many different sources and no exact idea of where the beef is coming from and with varying conditions and treatment of the animals.
So when it comes to believing that the "all natural beef" you are purchasing really means what you hope it does, the fact is you can rest assured that all of the natural beef products from Circle L Ranch are managed and sourced from our farm in Burbank, Ohio and that we make every effort in the proper care, treatment, and humane processing of our animals.
Circle L Ranch beef products represent the highest caliber of lean, healthy and delicious natural beef.
Visit our Where To Buy area to find a location near you.