Tuesday, June 22, 2010
WHAT'S HEALTHIER.....GRASS OR GRAINFED BEEF?
More Bad Science: Ground Beef from Grainfed Cattle Healthier than Grassfed. Fact or Fable?
June 21, 2010 on 5:21 pm
By Andrew in Grass-Fed Beef,
At the recent Council for Agricultural Science and Technology symposium there seemed to be a consensus that folks didn’t trust science. Now, as some of you might know from my previous blogs (see “Beware of Bad Science”), one of my pet peeves is deceit and spin being masqueraded as real science. I believe that this practice is helping to undermine the vital role that science has to play in our lives, and is a key reason why more and more people don’t trust scientists.
On May 27, 2010, AgriLife Communications posted a press release which appears to refute claims that grassfed beef is healthier than grainfed beef. But the shocking lack of academic rigor behind this seemingly important press release demonstrates to me exactly why people are losing their faith in science.
This press release, entitled “Study shows ground beef from grainfed cattle healthier than grassfed,” claims to highlight new research by Dr. Stephen Smith, a Professor of Meat Science at AgriLife Research, a member of the Texas A&M University System. The background is that Dr. Smith was paid by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to look at the potential effects of eating grassfed or grainfed beef on cholesterol levels.
As Dr. Smith’s report runs counter to many people’s understanding of grassfed beef and its potential health benefits, it’s not surprising that it gained widespread media coverage. Indeed, many websites and blogs have repeated the AgriLife press release word for word. At AWA, however, we don’t simply copy and paste our news stories. We make a point of ensuring that the information we provide is based on up-to-date, proven, peer-reviewed science or published reports. And as we have a large number of grassfed farmers in our program we felt that a report stating that beef from grainfed cattle was healthier than grassfed warranted further investigation.
As we do with all news items, we sought to confirm the authenticity of the report by returning to Dr. Smith’s original study and reviewing its findings. Unfortunately, in this instance, our technical team could not find any references for the reported study. So we contacted Dr. Smith directly on June 6, 2010 to request further details. As we didn’t get a response, we sent another e-mail to Dr. Smith on June 9, asking for further information–this time copying the report’s co-author, Dr. Rosemary Walzem. Again, no response.
Concerned that we were being ignored, on June 14 we contacted the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the Texas A&M University, asking for his help in resolving the issue. To our surprise, we received no reply to this letter either. Just to cover all bases, we contacted the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, which funded the work, to ask if they had a copy of the study. You guessed it: complete silence.
READ MORE...... http://www.animalwelfareapproved.org/2010/06/21/more-bad-science-ground-beef-from-grainfed-cattle-healthier-than-grassfed-fact-or-fable/