What does "100% Grass Fed" or "Grass Fed" mean?

What does "100% Grass Fed" or "Grass Fed" mean?

With all these labels appearing on packaging, it can get confusing. We've put together a guide on what allows a product to be labeled "100% Grass Fed". 


Quick Summary

The general idea here is to raise and feed animals as nature intended.

100% Grass Fed animal products are from animals that have been fed their biologically-appropriate diet of grass throughout their entire life (after weaning off milk). 

In doing so, the dairy and meat produced is more nutrient-dense, healthier for you, and better tasting. There is a fair deal of literature supporting these claims:

"Pasture feeding has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on the nutrient profile of milk, increasing the content of some beneficial nutrients such as Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, vaccenic acid, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), while reducing the levels of Omega-6 fatty acids and palmitic acid."

Read the grass fed milk study published in the National Library of Medicine.


What's the difference between "100% Grass Fed", "Grass Fed", and "Grass Finished" labels?

Although the FSIS states "100% Grass Fed" and "Grass Fed" claims to be identical, it's unclear whether these claims are enforced with identical protocols.

Animal products with solely a "Grass Finished" label could have been fed grain or supplementary feed prior to harvesting.

Because of this ambiguity, we recommend to check for "100% Grass Fed" or "Grass Fed and Grass Finished" labels to avoid animals fed grain, corn, or soy at any point of their lifespan.


Labeling Standards

In the United States, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is responsible for ensuring food and animal products are properly and truthfully labeled.

Here's an excerpt from the FSIS regarding diet-based labeling:

"FSIS considers Grassfed, Grass Fed and Grass-Fed synonymous terms.  “Grass Fed” or “100% Grass Fed” claims may only be applied to meat and meat product labels derived from cattle that were only (100%) fed grass (forage) after being weaned from their mother’s milk."

Read the full Food Safety and Inspection Service Labeling Guideline here.


Are all 100% Grass Fed animals also Pasture Raised?

100% Grass Fed and Pasture Raised are related, but not exactly the same.

While a "100% Grass Fed" label emphasizes the specific diet of the animal, the "Pasture Raised" label indicates the animal's living conditions and the freedom it had to graze and roam outdoors.

However, the "Pasture Raised" label doesn't necessarily guarantee that the animal was exclusively fed grass throughout its life; it's more about the environment and lifestyle the animal had while being raised.

In almost all cases, an animal labeled as "100% Grass Fed" would have had access to outdoor pasture for grazing its whole life.

Pasture Raised labels and claims also vary depending on the animal– explore our guide of Pasture Raised standards to learn more.


Cow grazing in open pasture

Photo by Sean Foster


Does I Like It Raw source 100% Grass Fed and Pasture Raised animal products?

Yes, we are committed to working with farms that raise their animals in accordance with nature- ensuring the purest ingredients.

Check out a list of partner farms and ingredient sourcing.

The Raw Journal

Still curious? Explore our journal to learn more about the topics we care about: