Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Association
Audits conducted every five years through the Beef Checkoff Program have validated efforts to improve beef quality over the past two decades. The most recent audit, conducted in 2011 and released during a session at the 2012 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver on July 26, shows that while the industry continues to make progress, there is still room for improvement.
The 2011 National Beef Quality Audit (NBQA) results show that significant improvements have been made in producing safe and wholesome meat that is consistently higher in quality, as proven by several measurable standards. Still, the three-phase checkoff-funded research, which took nearly a full year to complete and examined all facets of beef production, found there were several aspects – many associated with channel communication and consumer trust – on which the industry could improve.
"The National Beef Quality Audit has always been the gold standard by which problems in the beef production chain have been identified for the past 20 years," said Dr. John Maas DVM, who is a Veterinarian/Specialist in Cooperative Extension at University of California, Davis and Chair of the Producer Education Committee.
Maas noted that the 2011 NBQA, a comprehensive examination of cowcalf, stocker, feedlot, packing and retail segments, showed that significant progress has been made in areas such as improved animal handling and attention to final product quality over the past 20 years. A shifting consumer landscape means that the beef industry faces a moving target with regard to meeting consumer demands and Maas said the 2011 NBQA includes important messages for each of the five industry segments surveyed. Specifically, he said every sector needs to be aware that their production practices can and do have a major impact on the finished beef product.
"Consumers need to be assured that the industry is doing everything it can, on its own, with its own funding to make sure we’re providing one of the best protein products in the world,"