Say “Angus” Like It Means Something

Driving by McDonald’s today, I noticed that the store was advertising “Angus” hamburgers. Restaurants, grocery stores, butcher shops (yes, there are a few left) and fast-food joints are touting “Certified Angus Beef” as if that meant something. In fact, whether a steak or a hamburger comes from an Angus steer or a Brahmin, Blonde d’Aquitaine, Charolais or Hereford, makes no difference at all. The important question is: What was the animal fed?

Any information technologist—or any half-way bright high school sophomore—is familiar with GIGO, garbage in, garbage out. The brand of computer is irrelevant to the quality of the result of the computation. Analysis of experimental data is only as good as the quality of data, itself. The computer can be a Dell, a Compaq, a Toshiba or a Commodore 64. If the data is good and the computer is capable of running the program, the result will be reliable. Feed in gibberish and the result will be gibberish.

Animals are the same. Feed an animal the right food and it will grow healthy and strong. Feed it garbage and it will be sickly and weak.

Cattle naturally eat grass. They have a multi-stage digestion system. The grass they eat goes into a pair of stomach chambers where it is softened. The solid part is regurgitated and chewed again so it can be digested. Cattle that are grass-fed are healthier and their meat is healthier to eat. Raising cattle on corn and other grains may be more “efficient” in that they gain weight more quickly and are fatter, but they must be fed massive doses of antibiotics to curb the proliferation of noxious bacteria due to the fact that they are eating the wrong food. Furthermore, feeding cattle grain changes the omega 6 and 3 ratio from a healthy 3:1, to a very unhealthy 24:1. The essential omega 3 and 6 fatty acid ratio in grass-fed beef is similar to that found in fish.

According to the New York Times, “Beef from grass-fed animals has lower levels of unhealthy fats and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are better for cardiovascular health. Grass-fed beef also has lower levels of dietary cholesterol and offers more vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants.” Tara Parker Pope, “Switching to Grass-Fed Beef,” New York Times, March 11, 2010. She also points out that “meat from animals raised entirely on grass also had about twice the levels of conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, isomers, which may have cancer fighting properties and lower the risk of diabetes and other health problems.”

Pasturing cattle is also more humane and better for the environment than cramming them into feedlots where they eat grain laced with antibiotics and hormones and stand in pools of urine and excrement. The unhealthy conditions of feedlots contribute to food-borne illnesses like E coli.

Finally, grass-fed beef tastes better and does not cause that bloated, queasy feeling caused by a large portion of grain-fed beef. There really is a difference.

For more information, search for “grass-feed beef” on the Internet. Grass-fed beef is available at the following Michigan meat retailers:

Agemy & Sons Inc.
14730 Champaign Road
Allen Park, MI 48101-1617
(313) 382-3636

C. Roy, Inc.
444 Roy Dr.
Yale, MI 48097

Great Lakes Meat
810 Court Street
Cheboygan, MI 49721
(231) 627-7401

If you know of additional sources for grass-fed beef, please provide that information in a comment to this blog post.


John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2010 John B. Payne, Attorney