When I found out Carl's Jr. began offering GRASS-FED beef burgers....I was skeptical. Many meats that are claimed to be grass-fed are also grain-finished.
Meaning, throughout the life of the cattle they MAY have been feeding on grass but towards the end of their life were given grain.
I tried an All Natural Burger on Monday 1/5/2014. I was asked if I wanted to make it a double (2 meat patties). I declined. I just asked for Lettuce, Tomatoes, and Onions.
When I received it came with their Fresh Baked Buns. The patty itself was very thin and they bulked up the burger with lettuce. The Fresh Baked Buns had almost a thick potato-bread consistency. I could hardly taste the meat because it was so thin and it got lost with so much bread and so much lettuce. I would probably make it a double and make it a lettuce wrap next time.
But I contacted Carl's Jr. to find out if the meat was TRULY grass-fed AND grass-finished. They responded very quickly with the following:
Dear Ms. V,
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Our goal is to make every guest happy every time!-
The beef for the All-Natural Burger comes from Australian ranches which raise grass-fed, free-range cattle that are steroid-free and antibiotic-free with no added hormones. The All-Natural Burger patty is sourced from cattle raised in a manner that meets USDA requirements for natural beef. It also meets Australia's stringent Department of Agriculture standards.
The beef is grass fed; grain is not permitted in the diet at any time.
Your comments have been forwarded to our management team for their review and consideration.
Please feel free to contact us again at any time.
Carl's Jr. & Hardees Guest Relations
On the Web at www.ckr.com
There you have it. While I am not quick to believe any claims that such a product is "all natural," I am pleasantly surprised that a FAST FOOD CHAIN of all places, is actually offering something GOOD and that there was no hesitation to address my concerns. Not only that, but the last few times I have visited a Carl's Jr., the service completely changed. The staff was very friendly, they served us as opposed to being called to pick up our food, and cleaned up after us. It was as if I went to a nice restaurant as opposed to a fast food joint.
Thank you Carl's Jr.
Facts About Grass-Fed & Corn-Fed Beef
Corn-fed (conventional): Corn-fed, also known as conventional or grain-fed, is the most widely
produced kind of beef in the U.S. This is the product most consumers see in the meat case at the
supermarket. Conventional beef assures a consistent, year-round supply of high quality beef with the
tenderness and flavor most consumers prefer. Corn-fed beef cattle spend most of their lives in range
or pasture conditions eating grass. At 12 to 18 months of age, conventional cattle are moved to a
feedlot and are usually separated into groups of 100 animals and live in pens that allow about 125 to
250 square feet of room per animal. Cattle usually spend four to six months in a feedlot, during which
they are fed a scientifically formulated ration of corn and/or silage, hay and distillers grains.
Grass-fed: Consumers typically don't know that all cattle spend the majority of their lives eating grass in pastures. Calves start grazing at a young age and are kept on pasture after they are weaned until 12-18 months of age. Then, they are taken to a feedlot or are kept on grass to become “grassfinished”. In North America it’s difficult to produce grass-fed beef in large due to limited growing seasons. That’s why most grass-finished beef is imported from Australia and New Zealand where grass grows all year.
Grass-finished: Also called free-range, grass-finished cattle eat only a grass and forage-based diet
throughout their whole lifespan. Grass-finished beef is often described as having a distinct taste and
may require different preparation methods, including marinades and shorter cooking times.
Natural: The definition of “natural” beef can confuse some consumers. According to the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), natural means that a product is minimally processed and
contains no additives. By this definition, most beef in the meat case is natural. Many companies are
raising beef under “natural” production practices. Common “natural” production claims include, “raised without hormones,” “raised without antibiotics,” “free range” and “vegetarian fed.” Since the definition of “natural” production practices can vary, it is important for consumers to read labels carefully to understand what a particular company means when it says “natural.”
Certified Organic: Certified organic beef must meet USDA’s National Organic Program standards.
Organically-raised cattle must be fed 100 percent organic feed, and they may not be given hormones
to promote growth or antibiotics for any reason. Certified organic beef can be corn-fed or grassfinished.
USDA states organically produced food is no safer or more nutritious than conventionally
produced foods. Organic food differs only in the way it is grown, not how it's handled and processed.
Like many organic products, organic beef is more expensive to produce, which results in higher
prices than other beef choices in the meat case.