"All Natural" Means Naturally Raised

The USDA Definition of “All Natural”

Similar to the term grass fed, the term all natural is also regulated by the USDA. According to them, it means food that “has no artificial ingredients or added colors and is minimally processed”. As you can imagine, this definition leaves a lot to be desired.

According to the USDA, “all natural” beef can still be fed growth hormones, antibiotics, animal by-products, treated with chemical pesticides and implanted with steroids. As long as the final product (e.g. hamburger or steaks) does not have anything added to it and is “minimally processed” it can still be called “all natural”.

Hand Weeding a Pasture
Hand Weeding a Pasture

Our Definition of “All Natural”

We use the term all natural too, but we think the way we use it is closer to what most people think of when they think of all natural beef - beef that is naturally raised!

At Brown Paper Beef:

  • we do not feed our cattle growth hormones
  • we do not feed our cattle low-level antibiotics
  • we do not feed our cattle animal by-products
  • we do not implant our animals with steroids
  • we do not treat them with chemical pesticides

What About Sick Animals?

We look out for the health and welfare of our cattle. Because our animals are grazed in the open and moved to new paddocks regularly, it is rare for our animals to get sick. Occasionally, it does happen and when it does we do treat them.

For example, sometimes an animal's eye will get irritated by a grass stem and pink eye will set in. When this happens, we wait a bit to see if the animal's immune system will take care of the disease as this is best. If it doesn't, we will treat the animal for the disease with a short course of medicine.

Low-Level Antibiotics vs. Medically Necessary Short-Course Antibiotics

Most of the concern about antibiotics stems from the practice of putting a constant low level of antibiotics in cattle feed. Disease spreads quickly in feedlots where the animals are closely confined and this is seen as a cost effective deterrent. The chance that antibiotics may build up in an animal's tissues as well as the possibility of creating antibiotic resistant "super bugs" are the primary arguments for not feeding antibiotics.

We don't confine our animals and we move them from paddock to paddock on a regular basis which naturally combats the spread of disease. As we stated above, we will treat animals with a short course of antibiotics when medically necessary. We think this is the responsible way to raise our beef and we hope you agree.

However, if even medically necessary antibiotic treatment is a concern for you, just notify us. We track each of our animals individually and we will ensure that we provide you with beef that meets your needs.