A voluntary standard for grass- or forage-fed marketing of meat was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last week. With the exception of milk before weaning, 100% of a ruminant animal's diet for its entire life must be grass or forage in order to qualify for the grass-fed label. No grain or grain byproducts are allowed and the animals must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season.
The proposed standard will establish the minimum requirements for producers who want to distinguish their product in the marketplace with a grass-fed claim. The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service verifies the claims through voluntary certification and auditing programs.
The new standard will go into effect on Nov. 15, 2007. For more information about the standards for grass-fed labeling, click HERE.