Consumers Union, the nonprofit advocacy group that tests products and publishes its results in Consumer Reports, says grass-fed beef is likely better for human and soil health.
In the magazine’s March 2008 "claim check" column (not yet online), Consumer Reports asks, “Is grass-fed beef better?” The answer:
CR's take. This beef could have benefits. The limited research completed to date suggests that steak and hamburger from grass-fed cattle may contain less total fat per serving, according to a review by the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists. Grass-fed steak can also have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce heart-disease risk. Grass-fed ground beef usually has more conjugated linoleic acid, which might improve the immune system and help fight cancer, atherosclerosis, and type 2 diabetes, lab and animal studies show. And raising cattle on well-managed pastures can lessen erosion and boost soil fertility, the scientists' group found.
According to a December New York Times article, Consumers Reports has 4.5 million print subscribers, while almost 3 million more read online (only 600,000 subscribers fall in both counts).