Question of the Week
Answer: I am pleased to provide you with information on grass-fed beef certifications. There are a few opportunities nation-wide to certify beef operations to a standard and obtain a label for grass-fed and other management practices. These include the USDA-AMS Grass-Fed Claim, the American Grassfed Association Grassfed Ruminant Standards, and the Food Alliance Certified Grassfed Label. Other programs that certify production according to established guidelines, though perhaps not grass-fed, such as Animal Welfare Audits and Certifications and the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program, are detailed on the Animal Welfare Information Center website (see below for contact information).
1. Agricultural Marketing Service. 2007. United States Standards for Livestock and Meat Marketing Claims, Grass (Forage) Fed Claim for Ruminant Livestock and the Meat Products Derived From Such Livestock [Docket No. AMS–LS–07–0113; LS–05–09]. Federal Register Vol. 72, No. 199, Tuesday, October 16, 2007.
The Federal Register as cited above delineates a voluntary grass-fed standard. Producers can participate in such programs as the USDA Process Verified Program or obtain a Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) label. Detailed information of the Process Verified program can be downloaded. You can also access a list of official PV suppliers from the above link. Information on FSIS programs, including labeling, can be obtained from http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Home/index.asp or by calling their toll-free hotline at 1-800-233-3935.
2. American Grassfed Association. 2009. Grassfed Ruminant Standards.
American Grassfed Association
Denver, CO 80246
The AGA has partnered with Animal Welfare Approved to conduct third party verification of adherence to their grass fed standards. Click on AGA Certification in- 5 Easy Steps for information on obtaining certification. The standards can be accessed at:
3. Food Alliance Certified Grassfed Label
1829 NE Alberta, Suite 5
Portland, OR 97211
Food Alliance. 2008. Alliance Producer Certification Program Standards and Procedures Manual. Portland, OR.
Food Alliance is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 that certifies farms, ranches, food processors and distributors for sustainable agriculture and production practices.
4. Animal Welfare Information Center
USDA National Agricultural Library
Audit and Assessment Programs, Certification Programs, Standards and Guidelines, Food Industry Animal Welfare Policies, and International Programs.
5. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center is an electronic, national resource for producers interested in value-added agriculture. Browse commodities and products, investigate market and industry trends, study business creation and operation, read research results and locate value-added resources.
AGMRC – Branded, Certified, Verified Beef
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