Have You Herd…

New federal data show that E. coli O157:H7 is found in less than one quarter of 1 percent of ground beef samples.

… The winning recipe is in … among 1,184 other entries in the 2011 National Beef Cook-Off.

… In a state/national effort, the Beef Checkoff Program recently conducted a beef-chuck cutting demonstration for SuperValu and its Ohio-area retail meat managers, on behalf of the Ohio Beef Council. 

Calling All BQA Award Nominees!

Applications for the fourth annual checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Award are now being accepted. The National BQA Award will recognize one outstanding beef producer and one dairy producer that best demonstrate animal care and handling principles as part of the day-to-day activities on their respective operations.

Two National BQA award winners will be selected by a committee of representatives from universities, state beef councils and affiliated groups. Nominations can be submitted by any organization, group, or individual on behalf of a U.S. beef producer. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, though the nominees are expected to be involved in the preparation of the application. For further information about the award or to download the application, please visit http://www.bqa.org.

Can Communicating with Consumers Help In Agriculture?

When surveyed, 69 percent of consumers say people can get foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) from infected meat, and many confuse FMD with bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE. To help better prepare the animal agriculture industry before outbreaks occur, Dairy Management Inc., the pork checkoff, and the beef checkoff are working together to provide producers with the tools to help inform and educate consumers that FMD is not a threat to people and does not affect the safety of meat or milk. Listen to a presentation (courtesy of Truffle Media Network) about the current state of the Cross Species FMD Communications Team.

Click here for more about checkoff-funded information, news and resources on FMD.

Verification of humane handling in the beef industry

By Leann Saunders – IMI Global Inc. & Jason Ahola, Ph.D., Department of Animal Sciences – Colorado State University

Many consumers today are making animal product purchasing decisions based on how animals were raised and cared for. This decision is, in most cases, based on labeling claims made on packaged products, point-of-purchase materials offered, and/or conversations with those selling the product. This specific issue is driven by consumers wanting to know more about how their food is raised and where it comes from.

For those of us involved in food production, the quality of care an animal receives during its lifetime is assumed to be adequate, as we are familiar with livestock production and the concept that if you don’t take care of your livestock, they will not provide for your livelihood. But, for the average consumer with no baseline knowledge, there appears to be a need for verification and validation that animals received appropriate care during their lifetimes and were treated as humanely as possible. Thus, as consumers want more information about their food products, and as brands are working to differentiate themselves, the third-party verification of these credence attributes (those claims made about a product that can’t be determined by simply looking at the product) continues to be in demand.

Click here to sign up to receive the checkoff-funded Beef Issues Quarterly newsletter and read the complete article.

Educate Yourself and Make Positive Beef-Purchasing Decisions

Research suggests that when faced with complex purchasing decisions, consumers prefer to simplify by making short-cut decisions based on small steps toward their ultimate goal.

Faced with myriad messages regarding health, nutrition, and the environment, consumers may also have developed choice “trial and error” theories that influence their beef consumption/ purchasing decisions.

While a Meatless Monday call to action may fulfill consumer needs for quick, easy, actionable steps, this short-cut decision may do little toward fulfilling more significant nutritional needs.

Regulation published in December 2010 requiring on-pack nutrition labeling of all ground or chopped beef and on-pack or point of purchase labeling for major cuts of beef represents an opportunity to further evolve consumer evaluation for beef choices and increase the likelihood of educated beef purchasing decisions.

Click here for checkoff-funded information about making informed purchase decisions and building a healthy diet that includes beef. Click here for more about checkoff-funded retail programs, such as on-pack nutrition labeling.