Ground Beef Fans, You’re Not Alone
Last year, Americans consumed a staggering 27 billion pounds of beef. Nearly half of that was ground: in hamburgers, sauces, meatloafs, and casseroles. In fact, our customers love ground beef so much that we sold out earlier this year (rest assured, we have plenty of supply for you this winter).
With all this ground beef love, we thought it was a good time to look closer at your favorite product: what it is, where it comes from, and what makes Foxhollow ground beef different from what you find in a grocery chain.
What is Ground Beef?
Without getting too technical – ground beef is most or all of the meat from cattle. Specifically, it is the meat from a heifer or steer, minus roasts and steaks; or the meat of an entire cow. Because ground beef includes high-quality cuts, it is incredibly juicy and flavorful. It also contains more fat than ground sirloin or ground chuck. However, grass-fed ground beef is leaner than conventional ground beef. Grocery store beef can be up to 70% lean to 30% fat, while Foxhollow ground has a maximum of 80/20 lean to fat content.
How is Ground Beef Made?
The answer to that question depends on who is making it. Big producers slaughter many animals at once and grind their meat into one large batch. That means that a McDonald’s burger – by their own admission – has as many as 100 animal’s DNA in one burger. One food safety expert said the number could be closer to 400 animals – per burger.
On the other hand, small producers like Foxhollow process just a few animals at a time. Our local, family-owned processor cuts and grinds the meat from those animals by hand. Sometimes, our team even helps pack the freshly ground beef into the one-pound packages we deliver to our customers.
That means that in most cases, that package of Foxhollow beef contains the DNA of one animal. That animal has gone from our farm to the processor to your table – and we were there every step of the way.
Does it Matter if Ground Beef is Single-Source?
So who cares if there are 100 animals in my burger? There are a few reasons we believe it matters.
Multi-source beef exposes consumers to higher risk. The high-touch, high-volume commercial supply chain is rife with dangerous bacteria outbreaks like e.coli. Hundreds of animals in large batches spread disease quickly – and USDA rules are not strict enough to truly protect American meat buyers. In addition, multi-beef batches make food fraud easier, and put people with allergies or religious restrictions at risk of eating food that’s harmful to them. One 2015 academic study tested DNA samples from grocery store and butcher shop packages and found hidden ingredients like pork, poultry, and horse in packages labeled “ground beef.”
Single-source beef is traceable from birth to your purchase – and that gives us unprecedented accountability. It is one of the many reasons we keep our farm operation small. We see feeding our community as an enormous responsibility. We demonstrate our commitment to that responsibility by using practices that match and exceed USDA demands. By doing so, we can say, without hesitation, that we’ve done everything in our power to make ground beef safe. We can also say, with 100% certainty, that we know exactly what is in the burger you’re eating…because we packaged it. And we can say (as humbly as possible) that our beef is the best-tasting in the business.
After all, we’re not just feeding your family – we’re feeding our own.