Are you confused about the terms “natural” and “organic” when it comes to beef production? Do you wonder if Certified Angus Beef is hormone-free?
You’re not alone. With so many different claims and certifications out there, it can be hard to know what to look for when buying beef.
In this article, we’ll explore the differences between natural and organic beef, as well as take a closer look at the hormone-free claims of Certified Angus Beef.
So, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to learn more about the beef you’re putting on your plate.
Is Certified Angus Beef Hormone Free?
Certified Angus Beef is a popular brand of beef that is known for its high quality and delicious taste. But what about the hormone-free claims? Is Certified Angus Beef hormone-free?
The answer is yes. Certified Angus Beef Natural, which is a specific program within the brand, is never given antibiotics or added hormones. This means that the cattle are raised without the use of growth hormones, which are often used to promote faster growth and weight gain in cattle.
In addition to being hormone-free, Certified Angus Beef Natural must also be from cattle fed a vegetarian diet and minimally processed without added ingredients. This program has 10 stringent quality standards that ensure the beef is of the highest quality.
It’s important to note that not all Certified Angus Beef products are hormone-free. The regular Certified Angus Beef program does allow for the use of hormones in cattle production. So, if you’re looking for hormone-free beef, make sure to look for the “Natural” label on the packaging.
Understanding Natural And Organic Beef
The terms “natural” and “organic” are often used interchangeably in the beef industry, but they actually have different meanings. “Natural” is a marketing claim that can vary by brand or company, while “organic” is a more rigorous certification process that is regulated by the USDA.
To be certified organic, cattle must meet strict standards such as being raised in conditions that accommodate their natural behaviors, like the ability to graze on pasture. They must also be fed 100% organic feed and forage and never given antibiotics or hormones throughout their entire lives. The farm where the cattle are raised and the handling facility where they are processed must also comply with USDA Organic regulations.
On the other hand, the government’s definition of “natural” simply means that meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as such must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, this label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to the processing of meat and egg products.
It’s important to note that just because a product is labeled as “natural” does not necessarily mean it is hormone-free or antibiotic-free. The USDA’s criteria state that foods cannot contain hormones or antibiotics, but the label does not guarantee that the animal was raised without these substances.
If you’re looking for beef from cattle that have never received implants, look for Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC) products. These cattle have never received implants and their beef is primarily destined for export to the European Union.
Lastly, if you want beef from cows that grazed exclusively on grass for their entire lives, look for the American Grassfed label. This certification requires that animals were raised on pasture and have never been confined, fed grain, or given antibiotics or hormones.
What Does Certified Angus Beef Mean?
Certified Angus Beef is a label that recognizes the best Angus beef, which is always tasty, tender, and juicy. Established in 1978, the brand is a stamp of exceptional quality and a sign of a great meal. To be considered Certified Angus Beef, the beef must meet ten “carcass specifications” related to marbling, size, and uniformity, as inspected by the USDA. The beef must also come from an Angus cow that has physical characteristics associated with the breed, such as a predominantly black hide with no other color behind the shoulder, above the flanks, or breaking the midline, excluding the tail.
While the meat doesn’t necessarily come from cows proven to be Angus via lineage or genetic testing, it must meet certain objective criteria that indicate it should be tasty. Beef that qualifies for any Angus brand, including Certified Angus Beef, is determined not by pedigree but rather by traits like hair color that are highly associated with the Angus breed. The lack of pedigree doesn’t make much of a difference because the beef itself is inspected by the USDA and meets certain objective criteria.
Certified Angus Beef is a bit more expensive than other beef products, but if you’re unsure how to gauge how one steak will taste compared to another, the CAB sticker at least tells you that the beef has been certified by the government to have qualities associated with good flavor.
Hormone Use In Beef Production
Hormones are often used in beef production to promote faster growth and weight gain in cattle. However, the use of hormones in beef production has been a cause for concern among consumers. Hormone-implanted beef has been found to have increased estrogenic activity compared to non-implanted beef, which may be alarming for some consumers.
Certified Angus Beef Natural, which is a specific program within the Certified Angus Beef brand, is never given added hormones. This means that the cattle are raised naturally without the use of hormones to promote growth. The program also requires that the cattle are fed a vegetarian diet and are minimally processed without added ingredients.
It’s important to note that hormone use in beef production is regulated by the USDA and is considered safe for human consumption. The amount of estrogenic activity found in implanted beef is relatively inconsequential compared to the levels found in other common foods. For example, a 3 oz. serving of non-implanted beef contains 0.85 units of estrogenic activity, while a 3 oz. serving of tofu contains 19,306,004 units of estrogenic activity.
However, if you’re still concerned about hormone use in beef production, make sure to look for the “Natural” label on Certified Angus Beef packaging. This will ensure that the beef you’re purchasing is hormone-free and raised naturally according to strict quality standards.
The Hormone-Free Claims Of Certified Angus Beef
One of the main selling points of Certified Angus Beef Natural is that it is hormone-free. Hormones are often used in cattle production to promote growth and weight gain, but some consumers are concerned about the potential health risks associated with consuming meat from animals that have been treated with hormones.
Certified Angus Beef Natural is a “never, ever” program, which means that the cattle are never given antibiotics or added hormones. This ensures that the beef is free from any potential hormone residue and is a healthier option for consumers who are looking for hormone-free meat.
It’s important to note that while Certified Angus Beef Natural is hormone-free, not all natural beef products are. The term “natural” is a marketing claim and can vary by brand or company. Organic beef, on the other hand, is more rigorous and is certified by the USDA. Cattle raised for organic beef must meet strict standards, including being fed certified organic feed and never receiving antibiotics or added hormones.
Alternatives To Hormone Use In Beef Production
While the use of hormones in beef production is common, there are alternatives available for those who prefer hormone-free beef. One such alternative is to raise cattle using natural or organic methods.
Natural beef programs, such as the Certified Angus Beef Natural program mentioned earlier, prohibit the use of added hormones in cattle production. These programs also often require that the cattle be raised without antibiotics and fed a vegetarian diet.
Organic beef production takes things a step further. In addition to prohibiting the use of hormones and antibiotics, organic beef must also be produced using certified organic feed and follow specific production protocols as outlined by the USDA.
Another alternative is to source beef from non-hormone treated cattle (NHTC). These are cattle that have never received implants and are primarily raised for export to the European Union. While NHTC beef may not be as widely available as other options, it is a good choice for those who want hormone-free beef.
Ultimately, there are several alternatives available for those who prefer hormone-free beef. By choosing products from natural or organic programs or sourcing from NHTC cattle, consumers can enjoy high-quality beef without the use of growth hormones.
Making Informed Choices About The Beef You Buy
When it comes to buying beef, it’s important to make informed choices about the products you purchase. One way to ensure quality and taste is by choosing Certified Angus Beef. However, it’s important to understand the different programs within the brand and their respective standards.
For example, if you’re looking for hormone-free beef, it’s important to choose Certified Angus Beef Natural. This program guarantees that the cattle are raised without antibiotics or added hormones and are fed a vegetarian diet. Additionally, the beef is minimally processed without added ingredients. This ensures that the beef is not only hormone-free, but also of the highest quality.
On the other hand, if you’re not concerned about hormones and are simply looking for high-quality beef, the regular Certified Angus Beef program may be a good choice for you. This program still has strict quality standards, but does allow for the use of hormones in cattle production.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what factors are important when choosing beef. Whether it’s hormone-free or simply high-quality, Certified Angus Beef offers a variety of options to meet your needs. By understanding the different programs within the brand and their respective standards, you can make an informed choice about the beef you buy.