Trying to understand the difference between organic, natural and grass-fed meats can be confusing. Janeal Yancey, Ph.D. in meat science, writes about this on her blog to help people understand these differences. They all certainly may cost differently at any given time, so being informed is worthwhile in terms of both cost and the dining experience.

You should check out her blog directly by clicking the link at the bottom if you are interested. She has a Ph.D. on the subject and can give a clear and detailed description of each.

“I am not trying to say that meat labeled as ‘Natural’ or ‘Organic’ or ‘Grass-fed’ is any better or worse than any other meat you may find in a grocery store or a restaurant. I will tell you that it is also not any safer or more nutritious than other meat. I just tell people, eat what you like, and when it comes to food labels, know what you are paying for,” says Yancey."

In quick summary…organic meat is subject to rules and regulations set by the National Organic Program which is managed by the United States Department of Agriculture. These rules dictate what the animal can be given, fed, living environment etc. (See her blog for greater details:  feed, grazing, hormones, vaccines, outdoor access, product over 95% organic...).

Natural is open ended and tricky. It is not subject to rules and regulations like organic beyond other meat you would see in the store. The USDA sais:"A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as "no artificial ingredients; minimally processed").” Beyond this, you should not assume anything as the label must clarify issues such as no antibiotics or grass-fed, Yancey said.

Typically, cattle are given grains for the last 3-4 months of life in order to induce them to gain weight. Why? Because fat beef is tender and juicy, just the way many people enjoy it. Other people prefer beef leaner and with a stronger flavor, which is achieved through grass-feeding. Regarding other nutrients such as omega 3’s, she goes on to explain in the comment section the difficulty and variability of this answer.

Be sure to check out her blog for an extremely quick and concise description of each type of meat.

Source:  What is the difference between ‘Organic’, ‘Natural’, and ‘Grass-fed’ meat?