According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the eight major foods that account for 90% of allergic reactions in people are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. However, don’t be surprised if corn is eventually added to that list.That’s because corn is the primary feed grain grown in the U.S. according to the USDA. Corn allergies—while still considered relatively rare—may be on the rise. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has a page on their site specifically dedicated to allergies by corn and corn products.
Corn production accounts for more than 95% of total feed grain production in the U.S. Corn is used as an ingredient in a variety of food and industrial products including starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverages that contain alcohol, industrial alcohol, and fuel ethanol. Much of America’s corn crop is also used as the main food source for cattle that are being raised for beef.
What does this mean for someone with a corn allergy? It means they must avoid consuming anything that contains corn—and that can include beef derived from grain-fed cattle that were fed corn.
Grass-finished beef provides an alternative for meat lovers that can’t eat grain-fed beef because of corn sensitivities. It’s important to note that beef labeled as grass-fed may not necessarily have come from animals that were never fed corn; sometimes cattle are started on grass but then switched to a corn diet during their last few months so that they’ll gain weight faster. Verde Farms’ organic line of beef products come from cattle that are grass-fed and grass-finished, meaning they ate grass their entire lives and never corn or other grains. (Two new varieties we’re introducing soon will come from cattle that are still pasture raised, but given the option to eat grain when grass is not as plentiful, usually during the winter months.)
The way beef is processed and packaged can have an effect on corn allergy sufferers as well. Some packaging used for meat is dusted with cornstarch, which can trigger a corn sensitivity. Verde Farms, however, uses no corn products in the packaging of its beef.
If you or family members have a corn allergy that’s triggered by eating grain-fed beef, you may want to give grass-finished beef a try, and continue enjoying steak, ground beef, and more that is free of corn and corn-based ingredients.