Part 2: Grass-Fed or 100% Certified Grass-Fed Dairy? What’s the Difference?

Food For Thought Tuesday May 23, 2017

Part 2: Grass-Fed or 100% Certified Grass-Fed Dairy? What’s the Difference?

By: Karen McDermott - Director of Digital and Social Media

PCO-certified-grass-fed-dairy

The 2nd installment of our five part series “5 Things to Look For in the Dairy Aisle” What is certified grass-fed?

Grazing is the reason behind organic dairy’s claim to happier cows and higher nutrient content. If grazing is so great then what about dairy simply labeled “grass-fed”? And why does Maple Hill Creamery always specify “100% certified grass-fed dairy”?

Remember: There’s “grass-fed” and there’s 100% certified grass-fed. Grass-fed labels are not regulated. Third party certification ensures that brands with a grass-fed label aren’t feeding cows corn, grain or anything but grass. Especially if a brand is not USDA certified organic – sometimes as little as 5-10% of a cow’s feed is coming from pasture. We find this claim disingenuous in context to what consumers expect when they see those words.

At Maple Hill Creamery, we use the PCO 100% Grass-Fed Certification. In conjunction with USDA Organic Certification, this ensures that our cows have access to pasture all year round and are actually fed from pasture throughout the grazing season. We don’t supplement our cows with corn, grain, soy, or other feed, even as calves. During the winter, cows are fed stored grasses, also called “baleage.”

In our next entry, we ask the question: Is your dairy brand transparent about their milk source? Do they really know the source farms, and the size of the herds?