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What Is Organic Ground Beef?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 16, 2024
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Organic ground beef is ground beef that has been produced according to specific standards regarding natural processes. This broad term is used generally to talk about beef products that have been produced according to a common standard for natural butchering, processing, and distribution. The standards for organic beef and other organic foods vary from one country to another, according to the various food regulators in each nation. Labeling beef and similar foods as "organic" is a relatively new phenomenon that happened largely because of modern synthetic food processing methods that have been criticized for health and safety issues, and a modern food audience that often tends to choose more natural or whole foods over processed versions because of concerns about modern farming practices, which are often referred to as “factory farming.”

Although organic ground beef is largely a label applied according to the food regulator standards, there are some common elements that go into these specifications; one of these is the diet that beef cattle are fed. Naturally, these livestock graze on grass or other vegetation. In modern beef farming, it has become common to feed beef cattle corn instead of their traditional diet; in some cases, though, experts report that some farms even feed beef cattle a diet that is not entirely vegetarian, but includes animal parts. In theory, an organic label for ground beef is supposed to ensure that cattle are not fed any animal parts, but only a vegetarian diet. There is a large amount of confusion in some food cultures over whether organic should also mean that beef cattle are fed only grass and not corn, or whether an additional “grass fed” label should apply in these cases.

Another common standard for organic ground beef is whether the animals have been extensively treated with antibiotics. Because of some challenges that experts contend are specific to modern farms, many ranchers treat their beef cattle with a wide range of antibiotics. Since scientists have observed that antibiotics can work their way into consumers’ systems through the food chain, part of the appeal of organic ground beef revolves around a new movement to avoid antibiotics in foods.

The organic label for ground beef can also apply to processing methods. The way many people understand organic labeling, organic ground beef is supposed to be produced naturally, and not with synthetic items like ammonia. Some beef in modern markets is treated with ammonia to keep it preserved longer.

It’s true that in some ways, organic ground beef tends to be healthier than non-organic or non-labeled beef products, but some authorities on food distribution and human health point out that there are still dangers in eating a diet high in beef and other red meats. Organic beef does not do away with the fat and cholesterol content of this red meat. In fact, shoppers must read labels carefully, since organic ground beef may actually have a higher fat content than many equivalent products that are not organic.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By candyquilt — On Jul 11, 2014

@burcinc-- I agree with you. The day that organic foods are the same price as inorganic foods, that day we will have a healthier America and healthier Americans. If there are kosher butchers in your area, check them out as well. Kosher meat is also organic and sometimes it's a little more affordable.

By burcinc — On Jul 11, 2014

@donasmrs-- I agree that organic ground beef is better for me and tastes better. But it costs more than regular beef. I've purchased organic ground beef several times in the past, but I can't afford to buy it on a regular basis.

I would like to see the price of organic ground beef drop. I think that there are many people like me who prefer to eat organic but just can't afford it. I don't understand why processed, harmful foods are always the cheapest and the natural healthy ones the most expensive.

By donasmrs — On Jul 11, 2014

Ever since I read that a harmful chemical is sprayed on regular ground beef to keep it looking red and fresh, I've been eating organic ground beef only.

Organic ground beef isn't just natural and more healthy, it also tastes a lot better. The first time I had organic ground beef, I could tell the difference. It's very delicious because of the healthy grains the cows eat and the lack of additives in the meat. There are also no antibiotics in organic ground beef, which is an issue with regular beef. Organic ground beef is definitely the way to go.

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