"All natural" is not all natural! “All Natural” as well as “Hormone Free / Antibiotic Free/ Free Range / Vegetarian Fed” meat does NOT really mean what you think it means. Please don’t be fooled by these green washing labels at restaurants or grocery stores. In every single case that I have investigated, restaurants using these terms are using meat that is fed GMO feed. It's unfortunate, but our entire commerical feed crop for animals has been overtaken by GMOs. I have yet to encounter a non organic feed that is not genetically modified. I don’t know about you, but last time I looked, Genetically Modified Organisms are not “All Natural”, far from it. Companies and restaurants are getting away with using these terms because there are no laws or regulations around labeling GMOs. So an animal can be raised it’s entire life on GMO feed and still be labeled “All Natural, Vegetarian Fed, Free Range, Hormone Free, Antibiotic Free”, even some grass fed meat is finished with GMO grain. GMO food can also be labeled as “All Natural”. “All Natural” products often contain GMOs. Click here to see an article on a woman suing companies over GMO snacks being labeled as “All Natural”.
From talking to farmers and ranches, I have learned that they are not able to get a non GMO, non organic feed for animals, feed is now either organic, or it's GMO, there is nothing in between. There are some farms working on this issue in CA to try to produce a feed that is lower cost than organic, but is also not genetically modified, but this has not actually happened yet. This puts farmers in a really tough position because there are "natural" meat producers who would prefer to use a Non GMO feed, but it doesn't exist right now, and many farmers feel that if they switch to organic feed that they have to raise their prices to a point that customers and restaurants will not be willing to pay, so "natural" meat companies are forced into using GMO feed, they are running a business and they need to make a profit. This will not change until customers start speaking up and there is a demand for Non GMO feed, or if customers are willing to pay more for eating organic. Right now, most people don't realize that all that "natural" meat they are eating has been raised entirely on GMO feed, hopefully once people understand this, things will change.
Right now, the only way to tell if a restaurant is really using non GMO fed meat is if it is certified organic or 100% pasture raised and grass finished. Unfortunately, this is quite rare, even among "organic / sustainable/ local" restaurants. Please ask the chef directly. 95% of the time in restaurants, the servers think that “All Natural / Hormone Free” means organic. It does not, ask for a general manager or the chef to get the correct info. I often get wrong info from Chefs and managers too, don't just ask if it is organic, ask what ranch or farm they get their meat from and look it up online or contact them yourself. Trust me, most of the time, I am given incorrect info in restaurants, you have to research the farm yourself of where they get the product from. Restaurants don't intentionally give you incorrect info, most people in the restaurant industry equate natural with organic, and this could not be further from the truth. You have to contact the farm directly to get the truth. If the farm is using commercial, non organic feed, then they are using GMOs, period. If the chef tells you it is organic and you discover it is not, please send the restaurant this article if you can, and educate the restaurant. Some restaurants appreciate the info, and some get defensive, which I understand, I would be upset if I thought I was serving my customers "all natural" meat when really, the animal was raised on GMOs, people just don't know....yet.
Please see my post on Niman Ranch using GMO feed an a good example of this greenwashing issue.
Don’t be fooled into consuming GMOs with these green washing labels, let the restaurants you go to know that you want certified organic or 100% pasture raised and grass finished non GMO meat and non GMO ingredients in your food. They will not change this unless you voice your opinion.