Why is Pasture-Fed Meat Better?


Pasture-fed animals are leaner and their meat has fewer calories, plus it contains 2-6 times more Omega-3 fatty acids; 3-5 times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA); it's 400% higher in Vitamin E and 200% higher in Vitamin A. Their meat builds muscle and burns fat and it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer in people.

Sheep and cattle are ruminants, and this means they have special bacteria in their rumens that digest the cellulose of grass and other forage, allowing them to benefit from the plants' nutrients. When they are fed grain, they typically gain weight and grow faster than they do on pasture; however, feeding grain changes the pH of their rumen, making it more difficult for the animals to get nutrients from their natural food, grass. With a grain diet comes the potential for fatal bacterial imbalances in their digestive tract (overeating disease or clostridal infection) plus intestinal damage, dehydration, and liver abscesses.

The pasture diet creates fat containing healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, while grain diets create fat containing Omega-6 fatty acids that clog our arteries and are associated with heart disease. Pasture-fed meat has the richest known source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is another type of good fat and is one of our strongest defenses against cancer. Pasture-fed animals have fewer E. coli bacteria than grain-fed, and they are less likely to survive the strong, natural acidity of our stomachs when we eat the meat. Feeding them grain makes the animals' digestive tracts abnormally acidic, and if the E. coli become acclimated to this acidic environment over time then, when we ingest grain-fed meat, a higher percentage of E. coli bacteria will survive the acid shock of our digestive juices.

Few E. coli from grass-fed animals will survive our digestive juices because they have not become acid-resistant. Our first line of defense against infectious diseases is always our digestive tract. Besides that, we must always follow safe handling recommendations when we prepare any meat because it only takes a few E. coli bacteria to make us ill. There are far fewer E. coli bacteria in pasture-fed animals because when you compare 6,300,000 cells per gram of digested E. coli in grain-fed cattle, there is only 2,000 cells per gram of digested E. coli in pasture-fed cattle. There are 250,000 cells of E. coli that would survive the acidity of our stomachs eating grain-fed meat; yet only 100 cells of E. coli in pasture-fed meat would survive. That is a huge difference and proves the superiority of pasture-fed meat being more healthy for us to eat by far.

Animals raised on pasture forage have a natural diet, a cleaner and healthier lifestyle, which reduces the risk of E. coli infection. Because our animals live on a diet that is antibiotic and growth hormone-free, you never have to worry about these substances being passed on to you. The Cornett Ranch has not yet been certified ORGANIC, but our goal is the same, and that is to be sustainable. We use rotational grazing, our pastures are not treated with chemical pesticides or fertilizers, we treat our animals with loving care, and they are processed in a USDA-approved plant.