We believe the claim of grass-fed or 100% grass-fed on dairy products must be meaningful and verified.
This is essential to communicating honestly with consumers, ensuring market potential and promoting grass-based production systems. As processors, manufacturers, certification bodies, and retailers, our companies commit that any grass-fed or 100% grass-fed claims on dairy products will comply with the 10 Principles for 100% Grass-Fed Dairy. We support the continued work to develop a unified, industry-wide grass-fed dairy claim.
The coalition is committed to the 10 Principles for Grass-Fed Dairy outlined below:
- No grain ever. Cows eat a diet of high quality forages (pasture and hay) from birth. Feeding grain or grain by-products is prohibited.
- Pasture is a priority and maximized. Cows must get the majority of their feed from good quality and well managed pastures. Cows must receive at least 60 percent of their annual dry matter intake from pasture and graze for no less than 150 days a year.
- Access to the outdoors is a must. Cows must be provided outdoor access year round except when it jeopardizes the health, safety, and welfare of animals or would damage natural resources.
- Animal health is first. Third party wellness checks or veterinarian oversight are required. These are not voluntary options – cows and calves must be healthy and all animals must be treated when sick.
- Stored forage and non-grain supplements. Cows and calves may be fed hay haylage, balage and silage in the non-grain stage. Essential vitamins and minerals as well as limited non-grain supplements may also be fed.
- NO antibiotics and NO growth hormones.
- Animals are fed a diet that is GMO free and includes NO animal by-products
- Clear cow and herd entry requirements. Any cow or herd entry must meet the grass-fed principles for 60 days before the milk is accepted for “grass-fed” or “100% grass-fed” products.
- Good farm records. Auditable, common-sense records are essential to maintaining integrity for grass-fed dairy. Required records include: pasture management plans, use of feedstuffs, planted on-farm seed receipts, medications used and segregation actions performed, herd health plans, and traceable animal sourcing and lifecycle records.
- Annual verification. The supply chain for grass-fed dairy claims must be supported by third-party certification bodies.