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Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Beefing Up the Argument

Last week we told you about Ridge Shinn, a farmer who raises 100-percent grass-fed beef using regenerative grazing practices. Shinn wrote a letter, signed by 100 fellow farmers and ranchers, to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) asking them to acknowledge 100-percent grass-fed beef as a healthy, sustainable, and readily available alternative to beef produced by conventional factory farms.

The letter was in response to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) recent, and controversial, recommendation that Americans eat less red meat. Controversial because, as you can imagine, groups like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the North American Meat Institute aren’t keen on consumers eating less of their highly profitable, highly polluting, unhealthy factory-farm meat.

We wondered if the argument about grass-fed beef would be heard over the roar of Big Meat’s objections to the new recommendations, objections that predictably reignited the same old conversation about meat vs. no meat.

It was. According to an article on the password-protected site PoliticoPro, titled, “Grass-fed beef ranchers say dietary panel got it right,” Wayne Campbell, a member of the advisory panel and a nutrition science professor at Purdue University, admitted that the committee hadn’t reviewed evidence about the quality of grass-fed beef over conventionally raised beef, but didn’t dismiss the argument made by the grass-fed producers.

Good to know. And good to know that efforts by OCA, farmers who raise grass-fed beef, and other groups, to draw attention to the difference between 100-percent grass-fed beef and red meat from factory farms, have at least begun to change the conversation.

Read the letter 

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