Do packaging labels have you scratching your head in the meat department? Reading labels on food can be confusing. Sometimes two phrases seem like they mean the same thing, but they actually do not.

Unfortunately, many grass fed beef consumers assume they are supporting American farmers, when in reality they may be purchasing imported beef, raised overseas. Knowing how to read product labels can mean the difference between your dollar going to support economic and sustainable development right here in America or it going overseas.

“Product of USA” vs “Born and Raised in the USA”

Products bearing the label “Born and Raised in the USA” indicate meat that was produced from livestock that was born and raised in the USA. Due to complex trade agreements, declaring country of origin on packages is now voluntary. What does that mean to you? If a company puts “Born and Raised in the USA” on a label, they are proudly supporting 100% American raised and want to be sure their consumers know.

While confusingly similar, the term “Product of USA” can be used on any grass fed beef product processed and packaged in the USA. Today, it is estimated that up to 75% of all grass fed beef sold in supermarkets today is from imported sources.

To ensure you are purchasing American-raised grass fed beef, make sure the label reads “Born and Raised in the USA.” Can’t find a country of origin statement on your grass fed beef package? Ask your butcher!