With a class action lawsuit filed against Kerrygold many are asking what really is grass-fed? Does it matter if our food is 100% grass-fed?
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Kerrygold for misleading labeling. Kerrygold butter says it’s grass-fed and many people pay the premium price for the benefits that are believed to come from eating grass-fed butter.
“The grass-fed claims made by the defendant regarding the Kerrygold products are false, misleading and deceptive. During certain times of the year, Kerrygold feeds its cows genetically modified and other grains – not grass – such that the resulting products are not strictly ‘grass-fed,’” alleges the Kerrygold butter class action lawsuit.
This news has been spreading on social media and shocking many people. People are saying they will no longer buy Kerrygold and many are pretty angry about the news.
Kerrygold isn’t 100% Grass-Fed
Kerrygold actually has had this information on their website.
“Almost 85 percent of an Irish cow’s diet is from rich, natural grass. To maintain health and wellbeing, the cow’s grass-based diet is supplemented by supplementary feed.” –Kerrygold
And this isn’t the first time this issue has been discussed on social media. Many bloggers talked about it in 2013 when updates were made to the Kerrygold website about how the cattle are fed.
One blogger posted about the issue in 2013 saying she was ditching Kerrygold due to allergy concerns and general concerns over the cattle being supplemented with grains.
“Kerrygold has updated and changed some of the information on their website. If you are budgeting for Kerrygold (like me) in order to avoid food allergies, or to obtain the highest quality real food product, then you may want to pay attention to the changes.”- Hopecentric
The thing is Kerrygold isn’t the only product labeled grass-fed where the cattle are given supplemental fed. It’s very common. Business Insider talked about this issue a couple of years ago.
“On January 12, 2016, the Agricultural Marketing Service, a branch of the US Department of Agriculture, announced that it was dropping its official definition of “grass-fed.” In a statement, the AMS claimed that it doesn’t have the authority to define and determine whether specific grass-fed claims that companies make on their packaging are “truthful and not misleading.”- What ‘grass-fed’ labels on beef actually mean- Business Insider
And it’s true, just because something says grass-fed doesn’t mean it’s 100% grass-fed.
Does it Matter if it’s 100% Grass-Fed?
This is really up to each person and what their goal is. If your goal is to avoid animal products where corn or soy may have been given to the animal, then yes you need to look for 100% grass-fed products.
If you want the possible health benefits thought to come from grass-fed products then small amounts of supplementation is likely not a big deal. The products still are shown to have less fat, higher levels of some nutritarians, and better for the environment.
If you buy local products be sure to talk to the ranchers about how they raise the products. Sometimes supplementation is necessary for the safety of the herd.
In Oklahoma, we have had a lot of years with major hay shortages that have forced ranchers to supplement with fed to save their herds. Even this year, hay shortages have a big problem around the state.
Consider your reasons for wanting grass-fed beef and dairy before deciding if you need to stop buying products like Kerrygold butter.
How to Find 100% Grass-Fed Dairy and Beef
If you want to buy 100% grass-fed products there are a few ways to do that.
- Look for products that say 100% grass-fed not just grass-fed.
- Choose products with the American Grassfed Association label. Their standards require 100% grass-fed.
- Join the Oklahoma Food Coop (or your local food coop, or check a local farmer’s market) and check the descriptions of the products. You can also contact the farm to get more information on how they raise their animals.
In short, the best way to know what you are eating is to buy local and talk directly to the source. Check out Getting to Know Your Meat to learn more.
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