100 years ago there was no such thing as factory farming. Grass-fed organic beef was standard and did not require labeling. It wasn't until factory farming began that we were faced with an ethical and health dilemma.
Factory farms often feed their cows corn, wheat or soy, which is not the natural diet for these animals. As you can imagine, when you feed any animal food it is not meant to eat, they become sick. Corn, wheat and soy diets promote weight gain, hormonal changes and infections in these animals. Cows are meant to eat grass and when they are raised on corn or soy, it actually changes the composition of their tissue and makes the meat more inflammatory and fatty.
The use of antibiotics and hormones also contribute to this inflammatory problem. Factory farms keep thousands of cattle in confined spaces, which often leads to them living in their own waste. They also prevent these animals from access to the outdoors. This causes increased stress hormone production and is a great environment for pathogens to make these animals sick, requiring the standard use of antibiotics.
When cows are fed grass, as they were meant to eat, they have less total and saturated fat than their conventional, factory farmed counterparts. Grass-fed meat also has less calories, higher amounts of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids and CLA and antioxidants such as vitamin E, C and beta-carotene.
The important thing to remember is that "grass fed" does not encompass no antibiotic or hormone use, but the "organic" term does. This is why it is best to look for Grass-fed, organic beef to gain the optimal benefits from this food. Remember, as a consumer you can influence demand every time you purchase food. Don't support factory farming! If it doesn't say grass-fed organic, it's factory farmed!