Thursday, October 21, 2010

You've got choices!

Grain-fed beef, grass-finished beef, certified organic, natural beef, naturally raised beef... the list goes on. As a consumer you have so many choices in the beef meat case. For some of you this can be confusing and for producers there are many misconceptions of this marketing opportunity. There has been a lot of talk in the beef industry lately about working together, uniting, and striving toward common goals. A post by Ryan Goodman (AR_ranchhand on Twitter) started a huge discussion about the need of the cattle business to stick together realizing that our commonality rests in the consumer. We cannot do away with niche marketing because without it there would be little to distinguish our products for marketing. So in reality the your choices not only result in your happiness but also better prices for beef producers.

The national beef checkoff recognizes the need for you (the consumer) to better understand your options... there is a rack card published by the beef checkoff entitled "Beef From Pasture to Plate; Many Choices, One Commitment". This is most certainly true; while there are many choices for you in the meat case, there is only one commitment for all beef producers. That commitment is safe, nutritious, and budget friendly beef. No matter which type of beef you purchase ALL beef products are safe across the board.

The American beef industry takes steps to ensure that U.S. beef remains the safest in the world. That commitment starts with beef producer diligence on the farm and ends with safe food handling practices in grocery stores, restaurants and in your kitchen. With proper food safety measures you can rest assured that beef is safe from pasture to plate. There are a few important tips to keep in mind. Be sure beef is cooked to proper temperature; remembering that ground beef must be cooked to a higher internal temperature than steaks or roasts. Keep your foods out of the danger zone (temps between 40 - 140 F) this helps prevent the growth of bacteria. The last thing to remember is to keep your hands, counter tops, dish towels and utensils clean; washing them with soapy water after they touch uncooked meat.

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