Bison meat information

I wanted to thank Kayla Fioravanti from Red Bison Cedar who wrote the majority of this article on the health benefits of bison meat.

Bison meat

Did you know that bison meat is America’s original red meat.

It has been rediscovered due to the amazing nutritional value of bison meat.

Both  Mayo Clinic and American Heart Association recommends bison as a heart-healthy red meat.

Readers’ Digest Magazine listed bison as one of the five foods women should eat due to its high iron content.

Bison meat and growth hormones

According to Kayla Fioravanti, a second generation  bison business owner,

“It is illegal to give growth hormones to bison. You can see it as one of the codes of ethics of the NBA, “Abide by all laws of any jurisdiction within which they carry on activities as bison producers. This includes no use of growth hormones in bison.”

Interesting fact

Did you know that bison are the only mammal known to never get cancer?

Bison meat and antibiotics

According to Kayla Fioravanti from Red Bison Cedar, “We belong to the National Bison Association and one of the tenants of membership is a commitment to not use antibiotics in bison on a subtherapeutic (non-therapeutic) basis. It is not illegal to give bison antibiotics, but we don’t believe in giving to them unnecessarily. The practice of giving antibiotics in an animals feed is highly unlikely in a grass-fed and grass-finished diet since they eat the grass below their feet, but it is always worth asking the rancher directly. We don’t mind assuring our customers of our practices.”

Nutritional value of bison meat

grass fed bison meatBison meat is low in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Bison meat is 97% fat-free depending on the cut and contains 40% more protein than beef.

Bison meat is a highly nutrient dense food source with high levels of digestible protein, vitamins, and minerals.



According to the USDA, four ounces of ground grass-fed bison meat has about

  • 124 calories
  • 6 grams fat
  • 17 grams protein
  •  vitamin B12 28 percent RDA
  • zinc 26 percent od RDA
  •  selenium 24 percent of RDA selenium can help with our immune system
  • niacin 22 percent of RDA

Iron levels in bison meat

Bison has more mg of iron per serving than other meats.

3.42 mg – Bison

2.27 mg – Beef, Choice

2.99 mg – Beef, Select

1.0 mg – Pork

1.21 mg – Chicken, Skinless

0.50 mg – Sockeye

*Source: USDA NBA No. 17157, 13362, 13366, 10093, 05013, 15086

Bison meat effects on cholesterol and inflammatory markers

“The rearing method of bison and the nutrient content of the meat may make bison a healthier alternative to beef,” according to a study on the National Library of Medicine in April 2013. 

Eating beef increased both triglyceride levels and markers of inflammation in study participants, but eating bison involved a smaller increase in triglyceride levels and no increase in the markers of inflammation.

Bison meat and Conjugated Linoleic Acid 

Conjugated linoleic acid or CLA, is a fatty acid that may help reduce body fat deposits and improve immune function.

According to Kayla Fioravanti, Conjugated  Linoleic Acid (CLA) is only prevalent in bison that graze on fresh grass, not hay or grain fed bison. An animal is grass-fed and grass-finished is never fed grains including corn, wheat, barley, oats, or any GMO (gentically modified organism) foods from birth to death.

Bison meat and Omega 3 level

Grass fed bison meat has higher levels of omega–3.

Beef has higher levels of omega-6 which is thought to cause increased inflammation and risk of cancer.

Bison meat and fat

Bison that are raised and finished on grass have a lower fat (1.7% versus 2.2%), lower monounsaturated fat (35.4% versus 46.5%) and lower calories (133 kcal versus 141 kcal). (Source: North Dakota State University, Nutritional Science and Dietetics)

Prices of bison meat

According to Kayla Fioravanti, 

You may find that bison prices are higher than beef prices.

There is less bison on the market than beef and it costs more to produce.

Raising an all-natural animal with no hormones or antibiotics takes longer.

Grass-fed and grass-finished bison also takes longer, costs more than grain-fed and/or grain-finished bison.

They are allowed to graze on the grass below their feet as nature intended.

A grass-fed and grass-finished bison requires at least one acre or more each.

Cost of raising grass fed bison

According to Kayla Fioravanti,

Meat from a grass-fed and finished bison does not contain intramuscular fat, but when a bison is fed grains to fatten them up marbling of intermuscular fat occurs.

Meat that is labeled grass-fed is often grain-finished the final 90-160 days of the animal’s life. This means that the animal lived most of its life eating pasture land, but was fattened up or “finished” before slaughter. Why? Because this practice increases the revenue earned per carcass.

A typical grass-fed bison’s market weight is 950 pounds with a carcass weight of 532 pounds. This makes the estimated revenue per carcass $2660 with a cost of $1400 to raise the animal.

A typical grain-fed bison weighs 1200 pounds with a carcass weight of 720 pounds. This makes the estimated revenue per carcass $3197 with a cost of $1300 to raise the animal.

The health benefits of grass-fed and grass-finished bison far outweigh the extra cost per pound.

Interview with Kayla Fioravanti from Red Bison Cedar

How and why did you go into the bison business?

“We are a second generation bison business. When my father-in-law wanted to retire after 25 years in the bison industry my husband and his business partner moved the bison from Oklahoma to Tennessee. Bison ranching is full of opportunity and potential. The health benefits of bison meat fits our lifestyle and values. And who wouldn’t want to be a bison rancher? We have gone back in time to raise animals humanely, preserving the ecosystem of our land, and create a long-term sustainable ranch where the bison have room to roam in peace. Life is simple for our bison. We allow nature to take its course at its own sweet time and our ecosystem is thriving. The overdeveloped rushed pace of society is halted at the gates of Red Cedar Bison, and we like it that way.”

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