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How to Understand Beef Labels

Whether you’re shopping for a ribeye steak or ground beef for burgers, you may not be entirely sure what some of the labels mean. Here’s a handy guide: 

Choice

One of the grades given to beef by the USDA, Choice designates very high-quality beef with a moderate amount of marbling with intramuscular fat (remember, fat = flavor!). Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib section will be very juicy, tender and flavorful.

Grass-fed

The cattle eat a diet of grass for all or part of their lives. Look for the additional phrase “grass-finished” if you want beef that is never fed grain. Beef fed solely on grass boasts richer nutritional profile: lower saturated fat and higher healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a lower risk of E. coli bacteria contamination. Grass-fed beef is often, though not necessarily, organic. Grass-fed beef is generally leaner than conventionally-raised beef, so it’s best when cooked no further than medium-rare. 

Certified Angus Beef

Angus is a breed of cattle that tends to produce better-marbled beef than other breeds. The Certified Angus brand, created by the American Angus Association. To be labeled “Certified Angus Beef” (or CAB for short), the beef must be at least 51% Angus breed, at least Choice grade, and pass 10 other standards for size, appearance, flavor, and tenderness.

Have more questions about beef labels? Don’t hesitate to stop in our meat department and ask our butchers! 

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