Note: This is a loose transcription of the video, ‘Meat Part 3 – What is Free Range, Grass Fed, Organic Meat?’
Bex: So, you’re painting a very detailed picture for us here – the two ways we can have our animals treated, produced and sold before they come to our table. And so for the consumer who is looking for a butcher they want to buy from and they’re seeing all these labels, is there actually any difference between grass-fed and pasture-fed?
Andrew: No, it’s essentially the same thing.
Bex: And free-range vs. free roaming? Is it just terminology?
What is Free Range, Grass Fed, Organic Meat?
Andrew: Depends on the type of meat. Free range to me, it means for the sheep it’s just out in the bush and for a cow it’s in the paddock eating grass. For a chicken, it means that it has access to the outdoors; it can go outdoors if it wishes to. Although true free-range, a very true free-range poultry farm, is where the chickens are out all the time. So, free-range and free-roaming just have a little bit different definition, depending on where they are from and also what type of meat. For example, pork has a strict definition of free-range now, and that’s a little bit restrictive on the grower, because growers who were previously accredited as free-range are now struggling to gain free-range accreditation. I feel sorry for them because their pigs are bred and grown in a very animal-friendly way; it’s just that they’re not strictly known as free-range. Even RSPCA accredited piggeries in Australia are not technically free-range, which is absurd because the RSPCA think very highly of those piggeries, and yet for some strange reason the accreditation board don’t allow it. So free-range, free-roaming has to be interpreted in a little bit of that context, and also depends on which type of meat.
Bex: And speaking of accreditation, what about meat that is labelled organic, how does that differ at all from the other meats?
Andrew: Organic is a different category. We don’t promote organic meat here necessarily as it would involve too much segregation of meats here. I prefer just free-range. Free-range to me is natural and organic, while some grain-fed (animals) might be fed with organic grain and called organic. I think some of these small boutique organic growers are fantastic, but I am not too sure about the validity of the mass-procured organic brands.
Bex: So when it comes to meat, grass-fed is a better first indicator than organic.
Andrew: For me, personally, it is. You can’t get better than a natural diet (for the animals). Simple as that.
Bex: Thank you. And is there an exception to the rule? Because I know for example you hear about Wagyu beef, and Wagyu beef is known as grain-fed cow. Tell us more about Wagyu.
Andrew: Wagyu is the exception to the rule, if you’re going to sell Wagyu then you should sell it for the glory of the meat. The meat comes from the Kobi breed. It is known to be a breed of cattle which is able to send the fat from the surface of the skin to get into the muscle, there by creating this marbling effect. So Wagyu is different. Our Wagyu spends a year a part in the field and then spends a year in the feedlot eating grain, but the grain has no antibiotics in it and it’s also just vegetable grain. Yeah, that’s the only grain-fed meat we sell here.
Other videos in this series:
Meat Part 3 – What is Free Range, Grass Fed, Organic Meat? – September 2013