What’s the Beef? Shake Shack vs. McDonalds

Today, I stopped by Shake Shack instead of McDonalds for a burger during lunch time. I convinced myself that even though I wasn’t eating healthily, I had picked the healthier choice: organic beef. Turns out I was under a mistaken impression. Shake Shack doesn’t carry organic beef but “100% all natural Angus beef.” What’s the difference between natural vs. organic beef? A lot.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, organic beef comes from cattle that has been:

  • Born and raised on certified organic pasture
  • Never received antibiotics
  • Never received growth-promoting hormones
  • Fed only certified organic grains and grasses
  • Must have unrestricted outdoor access

Beef is “natural” as long as it is miminally processed and includes no artificial flavoring, coloring, preservative or any other artificial ingredients. Natural beef doesn’t have to meet any of the criteria above for organic beef. So, chances are, you are not getting organic beef at Shake Shack. If you were, you’d be sure Marketing would be all on labeling it such. The good thing is, Shake Shack’s beef is hormone and anti-biotic free, but that doesn’t mean the cows weren’t fed on gummy worms. So next time you try to delude yourself about eating junk food like me, just remember it’s still junk.