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Mar 17, 2012 05:29 PM

Humanely raised corn-fed beef? Non gmo? Any brands you can recommend?

Hey guys good afternoon! Well I am looking for some corn-fed beef. The main thing needs to be that the cows are treated humanely! The other main concern would be I need to know that the corn they are being fed is NON GMO! Basically I have found I prefer the taste of corn-fed to grass-fed and with me, the only thing I care about is how the cows are being treated, so I don't mind if they eat corn, and in fact if you think about it the cows eating corn are probably alot happier because they like corn!

I have been buying Storm Hill Beef from Storm Hill Beef Co-Op, found at which I highly recommend, however there's is only corn finished so it still has that slightly grassy flavor! I would gladly continue to support these guys til the end however I wanted to make sure there wasn't anything else out there!

I have found some beef called Brandt Beef, corn-fed, however while they do say they follow humane treatment it says nothing about gmos, so I have emailed them for an answer.

I am still researching some more however I wanted to hear from some of you guys since my previous forum topics have been such a success in terms of help received :) Have a good weekend :) Good eats :)

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  1. You may need to find a farmer rather than a 'brand.' I haven't seen any large scale beef producers using non GMO corn but there may very well be some out there. Try a farmers market or look on the Eatwild site. They might have some good resources. Good luck and happy eating!

    3 Replies
    1. re: JeremyEG

      Ok that will be tough, ahaaha... Thank you man for the help however that link you sent is for grass-fed specifically so I'm not sure that will work for me.. Any other ideas? I'm not sure where to look . . . Have a good one then :)

      1. re: JeremyEG

        Jeremy, you sound like you know what you are talking about with beef. I am doing research on GMO foods. Can you tell me where I can go (links) to find info on GMO fed to farm animals for human consumption. It sounds like most beef bought at supermarkets and from suppliers are fed GMO corn and Soy? Is this a good assumption?

        1. re: RickKT

          Hi Rick,
          I think that's a fair assumption but certainly someone here will know more than I do. Since a huge amount of beef is raised by just a handful of companies, you can probably contact them to find out if they use GMO corn and I'm 99% sure that they do. Sorry I don't have specific sources to send you!

      2. I think you're not going to be able to find what you are asking for.

        Corn by itself isn't enough for cattle- it's low in protein and also is often flaked or rolled for better nutrient absorption. It is usually mixed with oats, barley or soy and fed in the form of grain.

        While cows may like the taste of grain, their stomachs aren't as well-adapted to handle it (compared to grass), which is one reason why antibiotics and growth hormones are typically used in the feed, to help the cattle absorb the nutrients from the grain better. Also grain-fed cattle need to be kept in close quarters for easy access to feeding troughs, which leads to a greater need for antibiotics due to the increased chance of infection from various diseases like mastitis. So, grain feeding is generally practiced by larger operations aiming for efficiency, and non-GMO grain (if it's even available- I'm not sure it is) would be more expensive, making it undesirable to such operations.

        A small farmer might be inclined to used non-GMO grain. But a small farmer with more of an interest in raising humanely wouldn't be likely to raise grain-fed beef because they usually are aiming to use antibiotics and hormones as little as possible and to not raise the cows in close quarters. And again, even small farmers who may be using grain probably wouldn't be looking for the cost increase non-GMO grain would cause, when the vast majority of their market wouldn't pay extra for it. I have heard Brandt recommended by chefs in my area, so I'd be curious to hear what you learn about the GMO question and whether the beef is fully grain raised.

        I wonder how compatible humane and grain-raised beef really are. Grain-finished, yes. But grain-raised... it doesn't seem likely. Brandt does claim to do it, but based on the research I've done and the farmers I've talked to, I don't really understand how it's possible. And even Brandt's site mentions forage, so it doesn't seem to be the pure grain diet you are seeking. I'll be interested to hear from others who know more about this issue! And maybe what you really want is grain finished, not grain raised. If that's the case, Prather Ranch is another you may want to investigate.

        1. many humane beef producers believe that feeding cattle corn is quite problematic for the animals' health. maybe continue to investigate grass-fed to see if there is a producer/breed you prefer, if humane is the goal.

          however, corn finished, certified organic beef may be something to look into. certified organic beef can't be fed gmo corn, and the animals are more likely to be treated carefully and humanely.

          1. You may already be aware of the eatwild website for finding sources for meats?

            You might try contacting a farmer in your area listed there that does a longer grain finish or aging, that is more to your liking. As said before, most farmers that care about animal health will not keep them on grain their entire life. Individual farmers though, will often finish (or long finish, or intermittently supplement) on their own organic hay from the farm. Good luck!

            1. Also, don't throw in the towel quite yet on all grass-fed beef. Where are you located? Near me, I have found some exceptional grass-fed beef producers doing dry-aging. They are also know quite a bit about breeds and feeding and let me tell you, the best cuts of theirs have marbling that I could have sworn came from a corn fed cow at a very expensive steak house. The meat is in some ways richer than corn fed and without a distinct 'grassy' taste. Ask around. At the very least, you'll get to do some fun taste tests!