Dear Fellow Members and Industry Supporters,

Fall has officially arrived, and at least here in the northern part of New Mexico there is a definite chill in the air which means the first freeze of the season is just around the bend.
Everyone is busy gathering cattle and preparing to ship them off to out of state buyers, feedlots or the nearest sale barn. Prices have fallen substantially from the highs earlier this year due to growing meat supplies but thankfully most everyone received enough rain to grow some good grass, and that translates into heavy, healthy animals.
If you’ve read the article “How Safe Is your Ground Beef” in the September edition of Consumer Reports you might have questioned just how safe American Beef really is. Given the extensive attention raised with regard to bacteria, E. coli and antibiotics in ground beef that come from cattle harvested from feedlots as compared to what the author describes as sustainably or organically raised beef.
I must admit that I had to read the article twice before I captured the fact that there was a specific agenda behind the piece. I noticed that the study was not actually written by Consumer Reports but by Consumers Union which is
“… the policy and action division of Consumer Reports” which works with their “million-plus activists” that seek to pass legislation both locally and nationally while hammering corporations “that do wrong by their customers”.
At that point I realized that the article was a hit piece against conventional cattle production and the efficiencies it provides to the average consumer in terms of the retail cost of ground beef by making efficient use of feed, water, land, labor and fuel in finishing the beef prior to harvest.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with organic or grass-fed beef, but the author should have been more forthright in regards to her agenda.
I also realized that the bacteria in question had nothing to do with food-borne illnesses in ground beef but was rather the product of cases where food was left out for an inordinate amount of time at incorrect temperatures. The supposed
E. coli issue came from the assumption that consumers were less likely to cook ground beef to the proper internal temperature as opposed to chicken, pork or turkey. I think we are all grown up enough to recognize that almost all meats should be cooked to at least 160º Fahrenheit, especially for those people with compromised immune systems. And on the issue of antibiotics in ground beef, you might want to check out the article, “There are no antibiotics in your meat: Now stop”, at catttlenetwork.com.
It is common knowledge in the industry that the use of antibiotics in beef and other animals is necessary from time to time and would certainly be inhumane to do nothing to treat an animal that’s ill. Suffice to say that there are federal regulations which ensure that no antibiotic residues are present in your meat.
So whether you choose “organic”, “grass-fed” or conventionally raised beef you can be assured that American Beef is the safest in the world. I believe that the point the author was trying to make, albeit misinformed, was that somehow “organic” or “grass-fed” ground beef was superior to conventional ground beef because it was raised “sustainably”.
I would argue that there are many ways to sustainably produce beef and feedlot finishing is one of them. So enjoy your burger or steak with the knowledge that the activists out there are simply pushing their agenda while offering you a very myopic view of our food system. And by the way, who knew that Consumer Reports had an activist arm?