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Good Meat BreakdownFinding

Authentic Grassfed Principles

Transparency, quality, and care for land, animals, and people

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What is Authentic Grassfed?

For millennia, grazing animals like buffalo, cattle, and sheep were not just food, but land stewards. Their trampling and chomping helped fertilize grasslands, contributing to soil health and biodiversity. By raising livestock, humans could turn inedible grasses into milk, cheese, meat, and countless other foods. This alliance between land, animals, and people was honed by Indigenous populations around the world. But as American agriculture industrialized, most animals were moved into confinement.

Today, raising animals on grass can feel nostalgic, but it's an essential practice for restoring land, fighting climate change, and creating a healthier food system for us all. Individuals and institutions putting their purchase dollars behind Authentic Grassfed products is one of the many levers needed to support a grassfed supply chain.

Farming this way isn’t simple, and it’s a journey. For farmers, ranchers, and brands that raise and sell Authentic Grassfed products, it can be difficult to explain to buyers how their meat and dairy are different. Non-Authentic, non-verified brands that have claimed the label and diluted the marketplace confuse buyers further. In partnership with the leading grassfed certifiers in the U.S., we developed ten Authentic Grassfed Principles to help buyers understand what practices are core to grassfed and to know what labels to look for.

Our Authentic Grassfed Principles

We recognize these ten Authentic Grassfed principles (below) as a constellation of practices. Many of the Good Meat® farmers and ranchers we work with are committed to all ten of these principles, while others are working toward them. These principles center around transparency, quality, and care for land, animals, and people. Beyond these ten core on-farm practices, we also believe that grassfed stands for care for every farmhand, butcher, and community along the supply chain.

  • 1. Require 100% grass or forage based diet for the entire life of an animal.

  • 2. Do not use partial grassfed claims.

  • 3. Provide animals with continuous access to pasture or rangeland.

  • 4. Do not confine animals or finish in feedlots.

  • 5. Do not use drugs in healthy animals, including antibiotics and hormones, for non-therapeutic purposes.

  • 6. Ensure the ‘five freedoms’ for basic animal welfare, including freedom from: hunger and thirst, discomfort, pain, injury or disease, express normal behavior, and fear and distress.

  • 6. Restrict incidental supplementation.

  • 7. Minimize use of synthetic fertilizers and industrial pesticides.

  • 8. Provide transparency of animal origin, processing, and final product composition.

  • 10. Has verification through third-party, on-farm inspections on an annual basis including different seasons.

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