What is “Pasture-Raised”?

And why does it matter?
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Dear Rebecca,

Do you ever see the term “Pasture-Raised” and wonder what it means? Well you’ve come to the right spot! Today we’ll take a deep dive and explain everything you need to know about this trending food label.

What is “Pasture-Raised”?
Pasture-raised means an animal was raised on pasture. But heads up: it’s not always used honestly—we’ll explain how to know when you can trust this claim. The term “pasture-raised” is usually talking about an animal raised for food, and you’ll find it as a label on meat, dairy and eggs from those animals.

Aren’t all farm animals raised on pasture?
No. While many of us grew up with tales of Old MacDonald and visions of farm animals happily roaming the countryside, most farm animals haven’t lived like this for 100 years. Less than 1% of farm animals are raised on pasture for their whole lives—but we can help you find them.

But why does it matter?
Animals raised humanely on pasture can produce meat, dairy and eggs that are better for us. When cows graze on green grass and healthy pastures, their milk has more vitamins and higher levels of cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). When chickens scratch, peck and forage naturally, their eggs are tastier and more nutritious, with higher levels of Vitamin E, beta carotene and Omega-3 fatty acids. All of the wonderful grasses, herbs, flowers, bugs and the amazing variety of life in healthy pastures gets passed along the food chain up to us in the form of healthier food.

Which labels mean animals are REALLY pasture-raised?
This is where you have to do a little sleuthing—but we’re here to help! Modern food companies use a bewildering range of terms and claims to make you think their products are more environmentally sustainable than they are. We call this “greenwashing.” The problem is that while some of these claims legal definitions, most are completely unregulated and can easily lead to misunderstandings—or abuse. Even most of the regulated label claims aren’t even managed transparently. The reality is it is hard to know which food label claims you can trust—and which you should avoid.
 
Labels that really mean animals are pasture-raised are: Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW, Certified Non-GMO by AGW and Certified Regenerative by AGW.

>>Read the rest of our “What is Pasture-Raised?” blog here<<
to find out why A Greener World’s labels can be trusted, where to find truly pasture-raised products, and more info to be informed and get involved!

Thanks & take care,

Emily Moose
Director of Communications and Outreach
A Greener World

Want to become a food label expert?

A Greener World’s (AGW) Food Labels Exposed was developed to help you navigate and decipher today’s food labels and restaurant menus, providing clear and factual definitions for over 100 of the most common claims and terms used for the production, marketing and labeling of meat, dairy, eggs and other products. This guide will help you find out what is really going on behind the label, so you can make informed choices.

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