1. Meat Madness: What
Message is Shaping Your
Opinions about Beef?
Lynn A Bliven
Association Team Coordinator
Cornell Cooperative Extension Allegany/Cattaraugus County
2. Where life begins the Cow-Calf Farms
• Cows are bred & give birth to a calf every year.
• For the first few months of life, calves drink their mother’s
milk & graze on pastures.
• Calves are weaned at 6-8 months old, weighing 400-500
pounds. Then eat grass & forages.
• 1-in-3 female calves are kept on the cow-calf farm as breeding
animals (“replacement heifers”).
4. Stockers & Backgrounders
• Stockers and backgrounders graze cattle on many
different kinds of pastures all across the United
States. These cattle gain weight and, in
effect, convert forage and grass into protein.
5. Types of feeds:
• Silage, corn silage: The entire
corn plant, chopped and stored
“wet”, fermented. Ensiled corn.
• Shelled corn: Dry, whole
• Cracked corn: Dry, whole
kernel corn which is ground into
• Mature calves are moved to feedlots.
• Typically spend 4-6 months.
• Have constant access to water, room to move
around & are free to graze at feed bunks
containing a carefully balanced diet.
• Veterinarians, nutritionists and cattlemen work
together to look after each animal.
10. What is:
• “minimally processed, no artificial ingredients”.
• Commonly used on products raised without
antibiotics or hormone implants.
So, is feeding expired baked
11. What is:
• Cattle can be grain-finished or grass-finished (look at
the label for details)
• Have never received antibiotics or growth promoting
• May be given vitamin & mineral supplements
• Must be certified by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing
12. What is:
• Cattle spend most of their lives grazing on
pasture, then spend 4-6 months in a feedlot
• Fed scientifically & healthy balanced diet of
grains, such as corn, wheat or soybeans
• May judiciously be given FDA-approved antibiotics or
growth promoting hormones
• May be given vitamin and mineral supplements
• Have continuous access to clean water & room to
grow & roam
13. What is:
• Varies, implies a grass diet.
• Sometimes specified as “ 100%” or “strictly”.
Grass (Forage) Fed – Grass and forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant
animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The diet shall be derived solely from forage
consisting of grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes, Brassica), browse, or cereal grain crops in the
vegetative (pre-grain) state. Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access
to pasture during the growing season. Hay, haylage, baleage, silage, crop residue without grain, and other
roughage sources may also be included as acceptable feed sources. Routine mineral and vitamin
supplementation may also be included in the feeding regimen.
Grass (Forage) Fed Marketing Claim Standard (October 16, 2007, Federal Register Notice (72 FR 58631)) PDF
So, are steers fed hay inside a barn all winter grass-fed?
Does grazing in a field of “young corn” mean grass-fed?
Where is this grass fed beef coming from?
14. What is:
• Cattle spend their entire lives grazing on
• May judiciously be given FDA-approved
antibiotics or growth promoting hormones
• May be given vitamin and mineral
• Can be difficult to produce year-round in
North America due to changing seasons &
15. What is:
Certified organic feed, can include grain.
Housing, health, & handling specifically defined.
Processing done at a certified facility.
No antibiotics, no hormone implants allowed.
Could this farm be
17. What is:
• Most locally raised beef carcasses “hang” 10-14
days in the cooler.
• Technically, “dry aging” is for individual primals
for a period of 21 days or more.
18. What is:
• Only USDA Graders can assign USDA Quality
• There are NO USDA Graders in NYS.
% of US Beef Supply in
the 3 top USDA Grades:
Beef Research Report, Iowa SU 1998
20. Define what is important to you,
seek it from local sources.
1. “What do I want?” Common answers are
“affordable, healthy, safe, humane meats.”
2. VISIT farmers’ markets, ASK around, and
TALK with area farmers.
3. If you like what you see/hear…buy it! Buy
small quantities to sample, figure out what
21. What is important to me?
Healthy animals, healthy feed
• Pasture, when it is available.
• Haylage, balage, some grains, but not straight corn.
• “Free choice” hay.
• No food waste from
• Treat sick animals
22. Clean, humane farm conditions
• Animals have access to the outdoors, shade/
shelter, water, feed, and pasture (seasonal).
• General farm and livestock appearance.
23. High Quality Meats
• A good eating experience!
• Adequate marbling & fat cover.
•Animals of the
•Beef: 16-32 mos.
24. Humane, clean processing
• Properly wrapped for long
• Beef animals should “hang”
between 1-2 weeks.
• USDA inspected is good, not
25. USDA & NYS Regulations
• USDA Inspected: Livestock
(beef, pork, goat, lamb) meat can be sold to the
• “Custom” & NYS 5A: Livestock meat cannot be
sold. Consumers can buy a live animal (or
portion of live animal) from a farmer & have it
processed at a 5A.
• NYS 20C: Can process (butcher) & sell livestock
killed at USDA inspected facility.
30. FORE SHANK AND BRISKET
The fore shank and
brisket come from the
shoulder and chest of
It’s most common retail
cut is the brisket.
31. Beef Brisket
The Beef Brisket is a very course textured muscle. The heavy layer
of fat and the sternum or breast bone have been removed. Due to
the course texture of this muscle, cooking in liquid is recommended.
32. THE ROUND
The round is the hind
quarter of cattle, similar to
the ham of a hog.
The rump roast is a
common example of a
retail cut from the round.
33. Round Steak
This steak is identified by the round leg bone and three muscles. At
the top of the screen is the top round, at the lower left is the bottom
round, and lower right is the eye of the round.
34. Rump Roast- Boneless
When the rump is removed, boned, rolled and tied, a retail cut called
the Beef Round Rump Roast is made. This represents a cut only
moderately tender, moist heat is often used. However with a cut
from choice and prime cattle, it is often cooked with dry heat.
35. Tip Steak
The Tip Steak is cut from the tip roast. Like the roast this steak is
identified by four individual muscles within one large muscle mass.
36. THE CHUCK
The chuck is the
You may recognize
the boneless chuck
roast as a retail cut
from the chuck.
37. Chuck Blade Steak
The Beef Chuck Blade Steak is similar to the beef chuck blade
roast. It is usually cut less than one inch thick. The blade bone
shown in this slide has the typical shape of the "sevenbone", a term
frequently used in the meat trade.
38. Chuck Arm Roast
The Beef Chuck Arm Roast is identified by its thickness as a
roast, the large round bone in the center of the cut and the many
small muscles of which it is made. This roast may or may not have a
cross cut rib bones showing but if present would be at the bottom of
39. Shank Cross Cut
The Beef Shank Cross Cut is identified by a cross section of the arm
bone and many very small muscles, each surrounded by connective
40. THE RIB
The rib cut is the
rib section of the
We derive several
retail cuts from this
prime rib, and back
41. Rib Eye Steak
The Beef Rib Eye Steak come from the large end of the beef rib and
is made by removing back and rib bones.
42. Rib Roast, Small End
The Beef Rib Roast, Small End, contains several ribs, a portion of
the backbone and one large muscle, the rib eye.
45. T-Bone Steak
This steak has the characteristic "T" shaped vertebrae and the large
eye muscle. The smaller muscle located below the T-bone is the
46. Porterhouse Steak
The Porterhouse Steak is similar to the beef loin T-bone steak.
However the tenderloin muscle is much larger and an extra muscle
is located in the center of the porterhouse steak on the upper side.
47. Tenderloin Steak
The most tender retail cut from the entire beef carcass is the Beef
Loin Tenderloin Steak. This steak has a fine texture, is circular in
shape and is usually about three inches in diameter.
48. THE SIRLION
The sirloin is the
waist of the
between the ribs and
The top sirloin steak
is the favorite retail
cut from this section.
49. Sirloin Steak, Round Bone
The Sirloin Steak, Round Bone is located further back on the sirloin
area of the beef loin. This particular sirloin steak has the greatest
amount of lean and the least amount of bone.
50. Sirloin Steak, Round Bone
The Sirloin Steak, Round Bone is located further back on the sirloin
area of the beef loin. This particular sirloin steak has the greatest
amount of lean and the least amount of bone.
51. FLANK AND SHORT PLATE
The flank is the area
between the body and
the hind legs.
You may be familiar
with the flank steak
often used for beef
52. Flank Steak
The Beef Flank Steak is the only steak in the carcass containing an
entire large muscle. Also, although most other steaks are cut across
the muscle fibers, the flank steak fibers run the full length of the
steak. To help tenderize these long fibers, you will notice the knife
scores across the cut. Since the flank steak is one of the less tender
steaks, it should be cooked with moist heat cookery.
57. The important message
• Shopping locally allows you to choose based on
a relationship rather than a claim.
• You want a good eating experience.
• Buying local has many benefits (the “triple
• Talk to farmers to learn more.
Credit for content and photos:
Michael J. Baker, Cornell University
Beef Extension Specialist
Matt LeRoux, Ag. Marketing Specialist
CCE - Tompkins
Audrey Monroe, RD, LD
Kansas Beef Council
Notas do Editor
LimousinWorked for 8 years in 4-H Youth Development.Past 17 year working in adult agriculture.Beef producer for 21 years; grass-fed 18 years.Pastured poultry and grass-fed lamb producer.
Beginning of the cycle.A newborn calf weighs 60-100 pounds.Calves can be born year round, but many farmers & ranchers plan for spring.
Hay: dried grasses & legumes.Haylage: Hay stored “wet” and fermented. Ensiled hay.Balage: Large wrapped bales of haylage. Ensiled hay.
Younger or lighter weight calves may be sent to a backgrounder or stockerto graze. 500-750#. Depends on the area of the country and the resources they have available (for example, California has a nearly year-round supply of grass). Utilize co-products (citrus pulp, cottonseed hulls, rice hulls)
Feedlots are used to efficiently put weight on cattle and control what, and how much, they are fed before they are sent for processing. Cattle usually spend four to six months in a feedlot, during which time they have constant access to water and are fed a scientifically formulated diet averaging 70 percent to 80 percent grain. The time cattle spend in a feedlot is often called the “finishing phase.”Cattle are checked daily for health and well-being by a “pen-rider,” also called a “cowboy.”
Grass-Fed: All cattle spend a majority of their lives eating grass on pasturesNatural: Most beef does not contain any additives and is not more than minimally processed.Nutritious: Beef is a powerful protein and an excellent or good source of 10 essential nutrientsSafe: Vigilance on farms, rigorous safety inspections and strict government guidelines ensure the highest level of safety3% of beef is Organic, Grass-fed, Certified Natural/ 97% commodity meat. More than 1 million farmers & ranchers raise cattle in every state in the country. They use the diverse resources available in their local areas to produce nutritious, safe and delicious beef. For consumers, that means there are a variety of beef choices such as grain-finished, grass-finished, natural and certified organic beef.
There are other voluntary labels for livestock products, such as meat and eggs. Animal raising claims must be truthful and not misleading. USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service verifies the truthfulness of these claims:Free-range. This label indicates that the flock was provided shelter in a building, room, or area with unlimited access to food, fresh water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. The outdoor area may or may not be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material. This label is regulated by the USDA.Cage-free. This label indicates that the flock was able to freely roam a building, room, or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle.Natural. As required by USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.Grass-fed. Grass-fed animals receive a majority of their nutrients from grass throughout their life, while organic animals’ pasture diet may be supplemented with grain. Also USDA regulated, the grass-fed label does not limit the use of antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides. Meat products may be labeled as grass-fed organic.Pasture-raised. Due to the number of variables involved in pasture-raised agricultural systems, the USDA has not developed a federal definition for pasture-raised products. Humane. Multiple labeling programs make claims that animals were treated humanely during the production cycle, but the verification of these claims varies widely. These labeling programs are not regulated under a single USDA definition.No added hormones. A similar claim includes “Raised without Hormones.” Federal regulations have never permitted hormones or steroids in poultry, pork, or goat.
If you see “naturally raised” on a label, check further for what that claim is meaning. NATURAL: A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as "no artificial ingredients; minimally processed").
CERTIFIED: The term "certified" implies that the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Agriculture Marketing Service have officially evaluated a meat product for class, grade, or other quality characteristics (e.g., "Certified Angus Beef"). When used under other circumstances, the term must be closely associated with the name of the organization responsible for the "certification" process, e.g., "XYZ Company's Certified Beef."
The main difference in how grain-finished and grass-finished beef is raised is the diet fed to the cattle. Most beef that is grain-finished comes from cattle that spend most of their lives grazing on pasture and then spend four to six months in a feedlot, where they are fed a diet of grains such as corn, wheat or soybeans. Beef that is grass-finished comes from cattle that spend their entire lives grazing on pasture. Both types of beef come from cattle that may judiciously be given Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antibiotics or growth promoting hormones and also vitamin and mineral supplements (2).
the animal cannot be fed grain or grain by-products and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. However, a marketing claim of grass fed does not mean the animal was raised in free-range conditions
In October 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a voluntary standard for grass- (forage-) fed marketing claims (2). This voluntary standard established minimum requirements for cattle farmers and ranchers operating a USDA-verified program involving this claim. The grass-fed standard states that grass and/or forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animals, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. Forage consists of grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes), browse (trigs of trees and shrubs) or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state. Hay, haylage, baleage, silage, crop residue without grain and other roughage sources (most commonly, forages that have been removed from the ground and bundled) also are acceptable feed sources for grass-fed cattle. Additionally, the animal cannot be fed grain or grain by-products and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. However, a marketing claim of grass fed does not mean the animal was raised in free-range conditions (2).
Cattle can be grain-finished or grass-finished, as long as the feed is 100% organic. Have never received antibiotics or growth promoting hormonesMay be given vitamin & mineral supplements. Must be certified by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.Look for the official label.
NO HORMONES (beef): The term "no hormones administered" may be approved for use on the label of beef products if sufficient documentation is provided to the Agency by the producer showing no hormones have been used in raising the animals. NO ANTIBIOTICS (red meat and poultry): The terms "no antibiotics added" may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics.
Dry Aged Fresh Meat is held (without vacuum packing) for various periods of time (usually 10 days to 6 weeks) under controlled temperatures (34°F to 38°F), humidity, and airflow to avoid spoilage and ensure flavor enhancement, tenderness, and palatability.
How is ungraded beef different?All beef is inspected for wholesomeness. The overall quality of ungraded beef may be higher or lower than most government grades found in retail markets.
What is marbling?Marbling is white flecks of fat within the meat muscle. The greater amount of marbling in beef, the higher the grade because marbling makes beef more tender, flavorful, and juicy.
How & why is some beef aged?Beef is aged to develop additional tenderness and flavor. It is done commercially under controlled temperatures and humidity. Since aging can take from 10 days to 6 weeks, USDA does not recommend aging beef in a home refrigerator.
Saturated fat is a function of total fat contentSaturated fat varies in beef products from 38% of total fat to 44% of total fat depending on the quality grade and the cut (USDA Nutrient Database)Saturated fat content does not vary in grain-or grass-fed beef at the same level of edible fat content (quality grade and marbling)Grain-fed = 43.4% of total fatGrass-fed = 44.2% of total fat (Duckett and Paven, 2007)Nutrition claims such as "lean" and "extra lean" are sometimes seen on beef products. Here are their definitions:"Lean" - 100 grams of beef with less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol."Extra Lean" - 100 grams of beef with less than 5 grams of fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.
names for various cuts can vary regionally in stores, causing confusion over the choice of cooking method. For example, a boneless top loin steak is variously called: strip steak, Kansas City Steak, N.Y. strip steak, hotel cut strip steak, ambassador steak, or club sirloin steak.
Wholesale cuts are those which are shipped from the packing plant to Butchers and Grocers for further Processing into smaller cuts.
Retail Cuts are the smaller cuts that consumers buy at the Grocery Store, Butcher Shop or local farmer.Nutrition claims such as "lean" and "extra lean" are sometimes seen on beef products. Here are their definitions:"Lean" - 100 grams of beef with less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol."Extra Lean" - 100 grams of beef with less than 5 grams of fat, less than 2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.
Buying beef in large quantities can result in significant cost savings. Savings are not always realized and the quality of the beef varies. The carcass represents about 60 percent of the market weight of a beef animal. Example, a 1,000-pound market animal = 600 pounds of carcass.Hindquarter-This is about 45-50 percent, the hindquarter from a 300-pound side should weigh about 135-150 pounds. Frontquarter-This is about 50 -55 percent, the frontquarter from a 300-pound side should weigh about 150-165 pounds.
You need to understand break down of carcass and value of part regardless of marketing channel.
People, profit, planet, maybe also the animals? The local economy?