The label, which has been developed by US certifying body Animal Welfare Approved (AWA), guarantees that the meat comes from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet and raised entirely outdoors on pasture. Farms raising animals in the AWA Grassfed programme are audited annually to ensure compliance with standards.
The labelling programme was recently approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). AWA said it would “set a new standard for grass-fed labels in Canada”, where the term grass-fed is not currently regulated and production systems claiming to be grass-fed can vary hugely. It pointed out that producers could raise animals on feedlots and include grain in feed and still legally label their meat as grass-fed.
AWA program director Andrew Gunther said: “With the increasing demand for authentic grass-fed meat, we sensed a need for a market‐based solution that would enable high-welfare, grass-fed farming businesses to differentiate their products in the marketplace.
“Although other grass-fed labels and claims exist, none match the integrity and transparency offered by the Animal Welfare Approved Grassfed standards and certification procedures.”