Demand for grass-fed dairy products is growing at an impressive rate. Now the American Grass-fed Association (AGA) has finally started the ball rolling for an industry-wide grass-fed dairy standard. Grass-fed dairy is higher in many nutrients, including vitamin E, beta-carotene and the healthy fats omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed dairy. According to AGA, discussions were held on the standards for grass-fed dairy products and centered on the following:
1. Animal health and nutrition
2. Transparency of practices and claims
3. Holistic land and soil management
4. Support and validation for producers
5. Building a certified organic standard while providing a bridge with non-organic grass-fed claims.
The 2007 standard for grass-fed meat by the USDA was revoked in January 2016, citing a lack of authority to define the claim. They allowed animals to be contained for certain periods of time and did not restrict the use of antibiotics and hormones in the animals. Those using the USDA’s grass-fed standard were given 30 days to convert it to a private grass-fed standard or develop new standards.
Ferd Hoefner, policy director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) believes the withdrawal will only add more confusion to food labeling. Instead of consistency and common sense this will create a multitude of non-uniform labels and only more confusion in the marketplace. Sounds like too many fingers in the decisions, doesn’t it?
The AGA grass-fed standards for meat includes the following:
1. The animals can only be fed grass and forage
2. The animals cannot be confined
3. The animals may not receive antibiotics or hormones
4. The animals must be born and raised in the U.S.
There are currently a handful of different grass-fed labels, each with different standards. This only confuses me more!
Stick with full-fat dairy products, as they are far superior for your health than low-fat or fat-free varieties as published in the journal Circulation. People who had higher levels of three byproducts of full-fat dairy had a 46% lower risk of diabetes than those with lower levels. Full-fat dairy products may help with weight loss and chronic-disease prevention and may help reduce your risk of the following:
Cancer: Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). A fat found naturally in cow’s milk that helps lower the risk.
Heart Disease: Those using full-fat dairy were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
Type 2 Diabetes: Those who ate 8 portions of full-fat dairy products a day cut their risk of diabetes by nearly 25%.
So, in summary, what do we need to do to help keep us healthy and reduce our risks of certain diseases? Of course, I intend to support the organic, grass-fed milk products by locating an organic source from which to purchase my organic dairy products by going to www.OrganicPastures.com. Do your due diligence and make your life safer and healthier.
–Dr Fredda Branyon