FAQs: About U.S. Wellness Meats

Where are your farms located?

Our four founding farms are located in the northeast corner of Missouri and western Illinois, alongside the Mississippi River. The Wood farm is near Canton, Missouri; the Leeser Farm is in Taylor, Missouri; the Suter farm is near Wyaconda, Missouri; and the Crum farm is near Virginia, Illinois. Our other products come from our co-operative of family farms around the country. To learn more about each of the family farm providers, please click here.


Are you certified organic? Why not?

All U.S. Wellness Meats pastures and animals have been maintained with organic principles in mind since 2000. Unfortunately, the state of Missouri dropped a state-run organic-certification program and turned it over to a private certifier several years ago. The private certifier wanted 3% of the gross income of the preceding year to maintain the license. We politely said no, and felt if Thomas Jefferson were still alive he would concur. Sadly, greed has infiltrated a noble cause. 50% of the Missouri organic producers have let their certification lapse since this situation was create by the Missouri legislature.


Does U.S. Wellness Meats adhere to sustainable farming practices?

Yes. With a 30 to 45-day rest period between grazing, we increase the density of existing plants in our pastures and allow for the re-introduction of new native plants. As a result, all of our grassland is deeply rooted, and this better root structure and thicker sod enables the landscape to catch and hold nearly all of the rain that hits it, resulting in virtually no soil erosion or flooding. In the most recent local floods, our neighbors' fields suffered erosion and, in extreme cases, were underwater, while ours were able to absorb the excess water. Finally, this sustainable eco-system is a natural carbon recycler: the carbon our animals produce is reused by our plant life for further growth.


Do you offer wholesale or affiliate programs?

Yes, we offer both. As an affiliate, you can earn commissions based off sales from your website. As a wholesale customer, you can save by buying in bulk. For more information on both programs, visit our website.


FAQs: About Our Meat

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Do you feed antibiotics or hormones?

No, none of our animals are fed antibiotics or growth hormones throughout the course of their lives. Many companies to add these to the diet, especially if they are keeping many animals together in small areas. We do not.


Are the cattle finished with grain?

Never. From the moment our animals are weaned from their mothers, they consume high quality forage for the rest of their lives. Not only is grain-finish counter to the values of grass-fed farming, but a change to a starchy grain diet can undo omega 6:3 ratios and CLA values in 30 days.


What do cattle eat in the winter?

The onset of winter doesn't mean the end of grazing for our animals—there is still stock-piled forage that they consume until it is harvested or snow is an issue. When snow makes grazing impossible, we feed our animals our own hay, which is pasture grass that is harvested and stored when dry. Baleage, fresh pasture grass that is cut at optimal freshness, stored and vacuum packaged while moist, allows for nearly green grass in January. During harsh weather, we supplement with a starch-free grass plant protein for added energy and protein. We never use grain (starch) as it will ruin excellent lipid chemistry.


Where are the cattle harvested? Is it humane?

The animals are tended as humanely as possible up to point of slaughter to minimize stress. The process is done as quickly as possible to eliminate animal trauma or suffering. And we are sticklers about cleanliness: We demand a steam-cleaned facility for the slaughter process in order to eliminate all risk of cross contamination with grain-fed animals, and we are committed to a strict adhere to the USDA's Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards. In seven years with the current abattoir, we have yet to see any evidence of adrenaline-rush damage (an immediate stress indicator) in the meat tissue after slaughter. Finally, the facility we use in the Midwest is one of only three in the U.S. that is approved by the European Union. And in keeping with our tradition of supporting outstanding family businesses, our facility is family-owned with six members of the same family involved in overseeing daily operations.


Do you ever raise or harvest cloned animals?

Certainly not. This is not a method we use, or have any intention of exploring. We are committed to raising a natural product and cloned animals do not fit our protocol.


What is the difference between wet aging and dry aging and why do you use wet aging?

Aging is critical to a tender, flavorful beef product. We choose to wet—rather than dry—age our meat to prevent moisture loss and unnecessary exposure to pathogens. Meat is cut into sub-primal cuts and aged for an average of 30 days before it is cut into retail portions. Wet aging allows for the breakdown of collagen, essential to infusing fat through the meat, without losing valuable moisture as happens during the dry aging process. In order to ensure freshness, wet aging is done in a vacuum package to improve meat safety and to eliminate risk of exposure to additional pathogens that can occur during a dry aging process.


What is a "primal" and a "sub-primal"?

There are nine primary cuts of beef in a harvested animal, and these are known as "primal." You can learn more about each primal cut here. It is possible to cut each of these primal into smaller "sub-primal" cuts. For example, a short loin is sub-primal of the loin primal. A tenderloin and a striploin are also sub-primals of the loin primal. You can save significant money on our meat by ordering a primal, and cutting it into retail cuts at home.


How can I learn about the different cuts of meat?

Please visit our "Learn Your Cuts" page.


What is the difference between "fresh chilled beef" and regular products?

Most U.S. Wellness Meats products are stored and shipped frozen, but a small selection of “fresh chilled beef” has never been frozen and will arrive at your door fresh and cool to the touch. Like our regular beef products, it is forage-fed and aged for optimal tenderness and flavor. Please note, fresh chilled beef ships the second Wednesday of every month and arrives separate from frozen products. Please note the shipping schedule listed in the web store. For more information, visit our Fresh Chilled Blog.


Why will some vacuum ground beef packages show color differences?

U.S. Wellness Meats uses cryovac vacuum packaging on bulk burger and patties in order to guarantee that our packaging is the safest possible. Vacuum-sealing ground beef packages will often remove some oxygen from the beef itself, this can result in varying surface color on all four sides of the package. This is an appearance issue only and will not result in taste or flavor concerns. US Wellness has never ever used food dye to mask the dull color of vacuum sealed ground beef.


Are the "processed" products (sausage, hot dogs, pre-cooked products, etc.) also made from grass-fed beef?

Yes. All beef products on our site are made with 100% U.S. Wellness Meats grass-fed beef.


Some products say"nitrate free." Does this mean they are nitrite free as well?

Yes.


How do I find out the ingredients in any prepared product?

All ingredients are listed on the individual product page.


Which steak should I choose?

Please visit our "Learn Your Cuts" page.


What is pemmican and how does it fit into my diet?
Centuries ago, the Native Americans of the Great Plains developed pemmican as a means of preserving fat and protein. Pemmican was a blend of tallow (40%), air-dried jerky (60%), and seasonal berries and raw honey, if available. With dried berries acting as a natural preservative and added energy from honey, pemmican was—and still is—a wonder food. U.S. Wellness Meats pemmican is:

  • A super snack bar, best opened when frozen for ease of opening;

  • Ready to consume after 15-20 minutes at room temperature;

  • A delicious and healthful addition to scrambled eggs, green beans or meat loaf.


Why does the pemmican have to be frozen?

Pemmican is made from beef jerky that is dried, but not to the point of being shelf-stable. For this reason, our pemmican is perishable and must be stored in the freezer.


How long can U.S. Wellness Meats products be stored in the refrigerator? Freezer?

Storage time varies from product to product. On average, we say three to five days in the refrigerator, and up to several years in the freezer as long as the vacuum seal holds.


What is the difference between suet/lard/tallow?

Suet is the hard fatty tissue from around the loins and kidneys of beef, sheep, and other grazing animals that is used in cooking. Suet is rendered to make tallow. Lard is rendered fat, which most often comes from the fat of the abdomen. Please note that the USDA requires the term lard on the beef label. Finally, tallow and lard have a texture similar to vegetable shortening.


How do I find out if a product contains gluten or casein?

Our products are without additives unless noted on the product page, where you can find a complete list of product ingredients. If you would like more information about a specific product, please contact our customer service at (877) 383-0051.


What is the supplemental diet of the poultry? Does it contain soy?

Our free-range birds are pasture raised and given supplemental feed to ensure they consume all the nutrients they need. This supplemental feed consists of corn, soybeans, a kelp meal-based vitamin-mineral mix with probiotics, and coquina (seashells for calcium and grit). Supplemental feed makes up no more than 50% of the diet, significantly less than that of conventional chickens. Our free-range birds are moved to fresh pasture every 24 hours to ensure that the majority of their diet is grass, clover, insects and worms. Our South Carolina producer raises nearly all of his grain on a certified organic farm and is now producing some soy-free chickens. We are in the process of converting more of our birds over to this soy-free ration. Most of our chickens are now on a non-GMO feed ration, if so, this will be stated on the specific product descriptions online.


FAQs: About Our Other Products

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Which dairy products are pasteurized and which are not?

All of our raw cheeses are grass-fed, raw, un-pasteurized, and of superior quality. Butter is pasteurized at the lowest temperatures allowed by state law for 30 minutes and not homogenized.


Is your butter "raw"? Homogenized? Cultured?

Please see above. It is illegal for us to sell raw butter.


Is the butter frozen? Is the cheese frozen?
Butter ships frozen; however, it can be stored in the refrigerator but freezing will extend shelf life. Cheese is fresh and ships fresh. Cheese will store for a month in the refrigerator. Cheeses can be frozen and will have minimal texture changes after thawing. Gouda freezes the best and cheddar may be a bit crumbly after thawing; however, flavor will not change significantly.


What are nutraceuticals? How can I learn more about them?

U.S. Wellness Meats’ nutraceuticals are concentrated vitamin and mineral supplements designed to enhance your daily diet. Learn more by visiting the specific product pages.



FAQs: Health and Safety

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What is the best way to thaw my order from U.S. Wellness Meats?

It is best to thaw meat using the refrigerator. With this method, a one-pound package will thaw in approximately 20 to 24 hours. We do not recommend thawing meat in the microwave; however, if you must, select the lowest power setting to avoid cooking—rather than defrosting--meat. Check the meat frequently to monitor thawing. Occasionally, pinholes can occur in the tumultuous first hour or two of transit at minus 10 degrees. Consequently, we suggest you thaw products on a plate in the refrigerator to catch any packages that have developed leaks in transit.


How should I cook my order?

Cook ground beef until no pink remains, or until the meat temperature registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Slow-cooking methods that retain moisture work well on lean, red meat. Braising is recommended for roasts and low heat is ideal for steaks. Steaks should be prepared to a minimum of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (rare) to a maximum of 160 degrees Fahrenheit (medium) for the most tenderness and flavor.


How is your meat processed and inspected?

Quality Processing Services, a highly-respected portion control house in Omaha, Nebraska, processes the majority of meat for U.S. Wellness Meats. QPS facilities maintain a strict HACCP plan that ensures the most wholesome products possible. In addition, all facilities have resident USDA inspectors overseeing quality-assurance programs to ensure the highest degree of professionalism and safety throughout the cutting and packaging process.


What is CLA?

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is fatty acid that is produced naturally in the bodies of grass-fed animals and is found in their meat and milk. Grass-fed cattle are likely to have two to three times the amount of CLA as grain-fed animals, and this nutritional value is passed on to you when you eat grass-fed meat. Research shows that a diet rich in CLA can help reduce a person's risk of cancer, atherosclerosis, and diabetes.


FAQs: Shipping Information

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Where does U.S. Wellness Meats ship?

All 50 states. Due to customs issues, we are unable to ship internationally.


Do you ship to Canada?

Unfortunately not. Due to rule changes by Canadian Customs in December 2007, our access to Canada has been closed. The cost for paper work is the deal killer — it now requires the same paper trail for a 10 kilo box as a full semi truckload. We suggest speaking to your local elected officials about NAFTA and new customs rules.


Is there a shipping weight minimum?

All orders must weigh at least 7 pounds total. Products that ship separately such as South Carolina Chicken bundles, BBQ Sauce, and cookbooks do not count towards the 7 pound weight minimum.


Is there a purchase minimum?

A $75 minimum order is required. If your order weighs more than 7 lbs, but costs less than $75, it does not meet our minimum order requirements. Please keep in mind that listed prices are delivered prices. The only additional charges are sales tax for Missouri residents. Please note that we no longer offer shipping to Canada.


Why is a handling fee added when shipping is advertised as free?

The U.S. Wellness Meats handling fee covers the labor expense of the person filling your order on the day of shipping. Keep in mind this person is working for you in a very cold environment of minus 10 degrees! We do our best to limit the expense by making it a flat fee, which means it is a minimal percentage of the overall cost of larger orders. Shipping charges have been included in the cost of meat since we started our company. IMPORTANT: Your handling fee will never exceed $7.50 per complete order no matter how many items you add to your shopping cart.


How is my meat packaged?

After four-plus weeks of wet aging, the beef is vacuum packed in state-of-the-art cryovac vacuum packaging. This airless environment ensures high quality and a long shelf life in your freezer. Meat will arrive at your door still frozen in well-insulated styrofoam shipping containers. Chicken, bison, rabbit, salmon, halibut and pork are also in cryovac packaging. Lamb is packaged in “shrink wrap” (like heavy duty saran wrap). The shrimp are packaged in sealed bags.


My cheese package "puffed up" a bit during shipping.
Is this normal?

The cheese packaging sometimes puffs as the cheese goes through its natural aging process.


When will my order be shipped?

Day Order Placed

Estimated Shipping Date

Monday Tuesday or Wednesday
Tuesday Wednesday
Wednesday before 10 am CST Wednesday
Wednesday after 10 am CST Monday
Thursday Monday
Friday Monday
Saturday Monday
Sunday Monday or Tuesday

Fresh chilled (never frozen) beef ships separately from frozen meat. Fresh beef ships every 4 weeks (as designated by the schedule in the product description on our website). If you have any questions about the shipment date of your fresh chilled beef order, please call customer service at (877) 383-0051.



What shipping method do you use?

FedEx is our current carrier.


When will I receive my order?

We ship Monday-Wednesday every week and ship via FedEx Ground or Express service. Deliveries are expected to arrive within 24-48 hours from when we ship. You will receive a tracking number from FedEx after the order ships so you will know estimated delivery date.


How can I change my personal info/billing address/shipping address?

Click here to change customer profile information. Enter your username and password and then make any necessary changes.


How should I dispose of the Styrofoam cooler? Do you have a recycling program for the Styrofoam containers?

U.S. Wellness Meats has explored both an ideal return policy for Styrofoam coolers and a new product with similar insulating properties. To date, we have not yet found a product with insulating properties that match those of Styrofoam yet that are also environmentally friendly. Currently, we suggest giving to local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or similar organizations that can make good use of the superior coolers. Rest assured we are looking for a better alternative daily. For more ideas visit our Go Green Blog.


FAQs: Your Order

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How do I order?

Follow our easy online process. You can also call our toll free number (877) 383-0051 for live assistance. If you would like to purchase by mail, please send a check and your order to U.S. Wellness Meats, P.O. Box 9, Monticello, MO 63457.


When will my order be shipped?

Day Order Placed

Estimated Shipping Date

Monday Tuesday or Wednesday
Tuesday Wednesday
Wednesday before 10 am CST Wednesday
Wednesday after 10 am CST Monday
Thursday Monday
Friday Monday
Saturday Monday
Sunday Monday or Tuesday

Fresh chilled (never frozen) beef ships separately from frozen meat. Fresh beef ships every 4 weeks (as designated by the schedule in the product description on our website). If you have any questions about the shipment date of your fresh chilled beef order, please call customer service at (877) 383-0051.



How will my order be shipped?

FedEx is our current carrier.


When will I receive my order?

We ship Monday-Wednesday every week and ship via FedEx Ground or Express service. Deliveries are expected to arrive within 24-48 hours from when we ship. You will receive a tracking number from FedEx after the order ships so you will know estimated delivery date.


How can I change my personal info/billing address/shipping address?

Click here to change customer profile information. Enter your username and password and then make any necessary changes.


How are credits issued?

In the event that we must issue a credit, it will be issued as either a store credit or a credit to the credit card used for the purchase, unless otherwise requested.


How much freezer space will I need?

One cubic foot of freezer space will hold approximately 22 to 28 lbs. of beef.