In light of recent articles regarding the safety of American ground beef, we have received a number of questions regarding the safety of our ground beef products, specifically our Hearst Ranch Grass-fed Ground Beef Patties and our Hearst Ranch Grass-fed Ground Beef Packs.

Here is a question and answer that we recently exchanged with a valued customer:

Question: Recent news stories have again highlighted problems with commercially produced ground beef. I like hamburgers, but want to eat smart and reasonably safely. Does all of the meat that goes into making Hearst Ranch ground beef come from Hearst Ranch animals, or does the company add meat from other sources? Also: what is the fat content of Hearst Ranch ground meat? Finally, does the company test for e. coli in its meat? I look forward to hearing from you.

Answer: Your email was passed on to me by our customer service team: thank you for your questions. At Hearst Ranch Beef, we love ground beef and hamburgers and we take pride in producing the most delicious, highest quality, and safest ground beef possible.

1. All of the meat used in our ground beef hamburger patties and our ground beef packs comes from animals raised on our two ranches: the Jack Ranch in Cholame, Ca. and the Hearst Ranch in San Simeon, Ca.

2. We do not add meat from other sources in our ground beef products, nor do we use any further processed ingredients in our ground beef products. The ground beef products that we sell on our website are made from whole chuck rolls and briskets.

3. Our ground beef products are approximately 80% lean and 20% fat.

4. We take the following steps to ensure our beef is free of E. Coli 0157:H7:

  • All Hearst Ranch Beef cattle are Free Range.
  • All Hearst Ranch Beef cattle are 100% Grass-Fed.

Because our cattle are raised on grass and never confined, the risk of E.Coli 0157:H7 is almost non-existent. The grass-fed diet provides for a normal PH in the gastro intestinal tract, while a grain ration raises the PH to abnormally high levels and the 0157:H7 strain of E.Coli can become acid resistant and very dangerous. For every 1 E.Coli bacterium that may survive in the human stomach from grass-fed steers 2500 could survive from a grain fed steer (1, pages 455-53). Free range cattle are much cleaner and are raised in a more natural environment. Studies have shown that pasture cattle may either not be exposed to 0157:H7 strain or may clear themselves of it naturally (2, pages 55-61).

In addition, we use a USDA harvest facility that maintains state-of-the-art sanitation practices which we personally inspect. Each harvest group is tested for E. coli at the packing plant. The test results must be received and the beef must be cleared before any further processing can take place. Finally, our meat is 100% traceable to our herd and we do not sell meat from other ranches.

Academic Research Cited In This Letter:

1. Russell, J.B., F. Diez-Gonzalez, and G.N. Jarvis. “Potential Effect of Cattle Diets on Transmission of Pathogenic Escherichia Coli to Humans” Microbes Infect 2, no.1 (2000): 45-53.

2. Jonsson, M.E. et al. “Persistence of Verocytotoxin-Producing Escherichia Coli 0157:H7 in Calves Kept on Pasture and in Calves Kept Indoors” Int. J Food Microbiol 66, 1-2 (2001): 55-61.

I hope this answers all of your questions. If you have more, please feel free to contact me at any of the numbers below. Thank you for your interest in Hearst Ranch Beef and thanks in advance for your patronage. We remain committed to your satifaction and your health.



Brian J. Kenny
Division Manager, Hearst Ranch Beef
Hearst Corporation