Beef Quality Assurance is important for food safety | TSLN.com

Beef Quality Assurance is important for food safety

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a national program that provides guidelines for beef cattle production. The program raises consumer confidence through offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry. While many producers have taken the initiative to become BQA-certified, there is still much work to do in the beef and dairy cattle industries, said Dee Griffin, professor at the University of Nebraska in the Veterinary and Biomedical Science Department teaching at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, and Jim Collins, director of industry relations for the Southeastern Livestock Network.

“BQA brews from a 1980s concern about residues in food,” explained Griffin. “At that time, three out of 10 cans of vegetables had traces of pesticide residues. We have made a lot of progress, but even today, reporting for residues is two-years out-of-date. Looking at these issues, we took a hard look at what we needed to do to improve food safety. Within a matter of a few years, we had the numbers down to meet the government targets.”

In 1991, the first National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit was performed. At that time, a retailer had told the program directors that one in four boxes of meat he received had a lesion in it.

“When we heard about the lesions, we had no idea,” said Griffin. “His statements were perfectly correct; about 25 percent of the meat we looked at had a lesion. So, we had to take the bull by the horns to better understand our product. We produced an educational program nationwide to prevent defect meat. BQA isn’t a government program; it’s absolutely a producer-run program. BQA is the process of figuring out what could go wrong, planning to avoid it – then validating and documenting what you have done. BQA is just part of good business.”

The guiding principles of BQA help to demonstrate producer commitment to food safety and quality and enhances herd profitability through better management practices. The beef checkoff supports BQA.

“BQA starts with basic animal husbandry and being able to verify what you do, said Griffin, one of the pioneers who developed BQA. “Taking those concepts, we developed BQA basic handling practices. BQA assists our industry in validating producer integrity. Two percent of the population is involved in agriculture, so consumers don’t know who we are. BQA gives us a way to communicate to our consumers.”

Recommended Stories For You

The guidelines of BQA focus on minimizing defects in the forms of chemical, physical and microbiologic. While very important, everything else covered in the guidelines is secondary to providing a safe product.

“Nothing is more important than having that safe product,” stressed Griffin. “The guidelines are built around following good husbandry practices and meeting FDA, USDA and EPA requirements for product use. BQA is driven by consumer demands, government laws, and, most importantly, producer leadership.”

There are six components of BQA best management practices for producers to consider:

1. The care and husbandry practices;

2. Making sure feedstuffs are contamination-free;

3. Following rules for feed additives and medications;

4. Strictly adhering to all withdrawal times for vaccines, medications and pesticides;

5. Keep and check records frequently; and

6. Control management outliers to maintain consistency.

“BQA has value through certification,” added Collins. “Mainstream producers can share BQA concepts in hands-on settings with late adopters. We encourage producers to talk to their neighbors about getting certified.”

Collins and Griffin recommended http://www.animalcaretraining.org for producers to study up on BQA practices. Another Web site worth checking out is http://www.bqa.org.

“Thinking back to my childhood at Christmas time, farm families may gather around the tree and have breakfast, but then the very next thing you did was go out and check on the cattle make sure they have enough feed and hay,” said Collins. “Nobody cares more about cattle than people in the beef and dairy industry. That strong work ethic and caring attitude is the background behind this program. This is a producer-driven process, and we all take it very seriously.”

BQA is a common-sense program for all producers to take part in. Collins and Griffin encourage those producers already certified to visit with their fellow ranchers about the program. It’s an investment in food integrity, safety and wholesomeness; one that benefits consumers and producers alike.

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a national program that provides guidelines for beef cattle production. The program raises consumer confidence through offering proper management techniques and a commitment to quality within every segment of the beef industry. While many producers have taken the initiative to become BQA-certified, there is still much work to do in the beef and dairy cattle industries, said Dee Griffin, professor at the University of Nebraska in the Veterinary and Biomedical Science Department teaching at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, and Jim Collins, director of industry relations for the Southeastern Livestock Network.

“BQA brews from a 1980s concern about residues in food,” explained Griffin. “At that time, three out of 10 cans of vegetables had traces of pesticide residues. We have made a lot of progress, but even today, reporting for residues is two-years out-of-date. Looking at these issues, we took a hard look at what we needed to do to improve food safety. Within a matter of a few years, we had the numbers down to meet the government targets.”

In 1991, the first National Market Cow and Bull Beef Quality Audit was performed. At that time, a retailer had told the program directors that one in four boxes of meat he received had a lesion in it.

“When we heard about the lesions, we had no idea,” said Griffin. “His statements were perfectly correct; about 25 percent of the meat we looked at had a lesion. So, we had to take the bull by the horns to better understand our product. We produced an educational program nationwide to prevent defect meat. BQA isn’t a government program; it’s absolutely a producer-run program. BQA is the process of figuring out what could go wrong, planning to avoid it – then validating and documenting what you have done. BQA is just part of good business.”

The guiding principles of BQA help to demonstrate producer commitment to food safety and quality and enhances herd profitability through better management practices. The beef checkoff supports BQA.

“BQA starts with basic animal husbandry and being able to verify what you do, said Griffin, one of the pioneers who developed BQA. “Taking those concepts, we developed BQA basic handling practices. BQA assists our industry in validating producer integrity. Two percent of the population is involved in agriculture, so consumers don’t know who we are. BQA gives us a way to communicate to our consumers.”

The guidelines of BQA focus on minimizing defects in the forms of chemical, physical and microbiologic. While very important, everything else covered in the guidelines is secondary to providing a safe product.

“Nothing is more important than having that safe product,” stressed Griffin. “The guidelines are built around following good husbandry practices and meeting FDA, USDA and EPA requirements for product use. BQA is driven by consumer demands, government laws, and, most importantly, producer leadership.”

There are six components of BQA best management practices for producers to consider:

1. The care and husbandry practices;

2. Making sure feedstuffs are contamination-free;

3. Following rules for feed additives and medications;

4. Strictly adhering to all withdrawal times for vaccines, medications and pesticides;

5. Keep and check records frequently; and

6. Control management outliers to maintain consistency.

“BQA has value through certification,” added Collins. “Mainstream producers can share BQA concepts in hands-on settings with late adopters. We encourage producers to talk to their neighbors about getting certified.”

Collins and Griffin recommended http://www.animalcaretraining.org for producers to study up on BQA practices. Another Web site worth checking out is http://www.bqa.org.

“Thinking back to my childhood at Christmas time, farm families may gather around the tree and have breakfast, but then the very next thing you did was go out and check on the cattle make sure they have enough feed and hay,” said Collins. “Nobody cares more about cattle than people in the beef and dairy industry. That strong work ethic and caring attitude is the background behind this program. This is a producer-driven process, and we all take it very seriously.”

BQA is a common-sense program for all producers to take part in. Collins and Griffin encourage those producers already certified to visit with their fellow ranchers about the program. It’s an investment in food integrity, safety and wholesomeness; one that benefits consumers and producers alike.

Go back to article