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Moooooot Point

tboneOver the past few months I have seen an increasing number of beef products at the supermarket labeled “vegetarian-fed”.

It really is the sign of a messed up food system when a cow eating the way it’s supposed to (all cows are naturally vegetarian) commands a special sticker and a premium.

What disturbs me even more, though, is that “vegetarian-fed” cattle could still be — and very likely, are — eating a very unhealthy diet.

It is very probable these cows are subsisting on a vegetarian diet of corn and wheat, two foods their digestive tracts are not used to, and therefore can cause a multitude of health problems.

I have a sneaking suspicion that “vegetarian-fed” advertising is meant to confuse customers into thinking they are purchasing grass-fed beef products.

FYI 1: In case you’re wondering, some cows in feedlots are not only fed that unnatural corn-and-wheat diet; they also have ground up meat and bones included in that mix!  You can thank that aberration for the developing of mad cow disease!

FYI 2: Since “vegetarian-fed” is not a claim regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture, the lack of that statement on a beef product does not necessarily mean you are purchasing meat from a cow that ate ground up bits of its own kind.



  1. Debbie said on November 17th, 2009

    With all the labelling atrocities out there, maybe it means a vegetarian is feeding the cow?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  2. dennise said on November 17th, 2009

    Funny you should post this, Andy. One of the reasons I loved having you at my home this summer was that while you go very proactive health and nutrition advice that was not extremist and really spoke to/about an individual’s health goals and plans, you also did not shy away from answering questions (like the one above) that spoke to some hard truths.

    I remember people at the event actually turning the heads away, not wanting to hear some of what you were saying about cows and how antibiotics and corn and wheat affect their bodies. You certainly did not belabor the point, but you respectfully spoke the truth.

    I have very nutrition-conscious friends who will say “well, I eat all natural organic beef that has been vegetarian-fed,” and who have no idea that cows were not meant to eat corn and wheat! The use of “vegetarian” to promote the beef leads them to believe the cows are eating a more healthful diet.

    Thanks again, Andy.

  3. Andy Bellatti said on November 17th, 2009

    Debbie — that is both funny AND a reflection of labeling insanity.

  4. Andy Bellatti said on November 17th, 2009


    Thank you!

    I find that people who learn nutrition — myself included, when I first started on this path — go through different stages.

    Issues like cows’ diets and the state of the food supply are one of the latter stages, where suddenly you realize nutrition goes beyond what you eat, but also the backstory behind what you eat!

    With each stage, you increasingly realize that much of the way in which food is promoted is misleading…

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