What Is Grassfed?




Mostly used in connection with animals like cattle, sheep and buffaloes, whose natural diet is made up of grass and other leafy plant material. Grassfed means the animal producing the food was raised on its natural diet. On many farms starchy material such as cereal grains are added to livestock rations in order to speed up growth rates or increase milk production. These can change the fat and vitamin composition of the foods produced. The grassfed label shows that the meat or milk is from animals raised on their natural diet without the addition of starchy grains.



Unlike cattle and sheep, pigs and chickens are adapted to eat starchy cereal grains. Today most are kept inside buildings and fed cereal-rich rations. But when they’re allowed to roam freely over pasture they are allowed to exhibit their natural foraging behaviour, have higher animal welfare and their grazing and fertilising effect has positive benefits to the environment thought carbon sequestration. Pasture-raised usually refers to pigs and poultry. It means they’ve been free to roam over pastures containing grasses and other pasture plants such as clover.



Organic foods are mostly produced without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Organic farming is heavily regulated and its standards vary from country to country. But in general organic farmers rely on cultural and biological methods to grow crops and raise animals rather than on agrochemicals. As a result organic foods contain lower levels of pesticide residues, and the farms they come from often have more wildlife. In the processing of organic foods no industrial solvents or chemical additives can be used.



This is food that hasn’t been marketed through the global food system which can involve many processors, traders and shippers. Instead it’s consumed close to where it has been grown or raised. Local food chains often by-pass traders and processors, putting farmers and growers directly in touch with consumers. The aims are to reduce “food miles”, the distance over which foods are transported, and to produce a fairer return to the farmer. Farm shops and farmers’ markets are among the retail outlets that mostly trade in local foods.



The Red Tractor logo appears on a large range of food products, providing an assurance that they’re safe and have been produced to good standards of hygiene, animal welfare and environmental protection. Under the scheme – which is run by an independent body – foods carrying the Red Tractor logo are inspected and certified at every point in the food chain. All are traceable to their UK farm of origin. The scheme is owned by the food industry. Though it provides basic assurance on food safety, it gives little indication of the nutritional value of a food.



More of a movement than a style of cooking. Founded in 1989 as an antidote to fast foods, it is now a world-wide, grassroots organisation with supporters in more than 150 countries. It aims to celebrate and promote traditional, local foods along with regional cooking styles. In doing so it has helped to highlight the environmental damage caused by large-scale industrial agriculture. Slow Food has come to represent a more eco-friendly way of managing the world’s natural resources.



Salts such as sodium nitrate are widely used for curing meats in the production of foods like bacon and sausages. They’re there to stop dangerous bacteria like Botulinum infecting the meat. In recent years fears have been raised over the safety of nitrates, and some food processors have been looking for alternatives. The most recent concern over nitrates is the production of nitrosamines (a carcinogen) in the digestive tract. Nitrate-free processed meats use natural ingredients like celery powder or beet juice to do the job instead.



An acronym for Linking Environment and Farming. LEAF is a charity promoting environmentally responsible farming by encouraging farmers to take account of the environment in their production methods. For example it helps farmers monitor their use of pesticides so they use only the minimum necessary for growing healthy crops. Foods carrying the LEAF Marque logo are from farms that meet certain environmental standards. Critics claim the organisation promotes chemical farming and agribusiness interests.