Everyone plays an important role in beef safety – from the cattlemen and women who continually invest in and learn from beef safety research studies to the various government entities that are responsible for enacting and overseeing food safety regulations and inspections. And even you – the folks who select, purchase and prepare beef – play a vital role in maintaining beef safety standards when it comes to proper food handling and cooking practices
Farmers and ranchers work diligently to manage their cattle for optimum health. It begins with proper nutrition. Whether out on grass or in a feedyard, cattlemen work with nutritionists to make sure the cattle are receiving the right balance of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to keep them healthy. Cattlemen also work with their veterinarian to determine the disease risks their cattle may face and develop a “herd health plan” to minimize those risks.
There has been a great deal of discussion lately about how antibiotics are used in raising livestock. The reality is that farmers and ranchers take antibiotic use in livestock very seriously and continuously evaluate their use based on the best possible science.
Let's explore the role of the antibiotics in animal care.
Animal medicine goes through three layers of approval to determine if the medicine is safe for the animal, the environment and the humans who will consume the meat. All three areas must be evaluated before approval from the FDA. Even after they’re approved, antibiotics are continuously monitored and must be re-evaluated annually. The antibiotics will only stay on the market if they continue to be proven safe.
The FDA sets withdrawal times for all veterinary drugs, including antibiotics. Withdrawal time is the amount of time required for the drug to be fully processed by the animal’s body; the withdrawal time depends on the drug but typically ranges from zero to 60 days
The USDA randomly tests and monitors beef before it gets to you. By law, no meat sold in the U.S. can contain antibiotic residues above the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) set by the FDA to ensure safety
Preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics is a cause for all of us. Even making sure to finish the full course of antibiotics prescribed to you or to your animals is essential to the fight against antibiotic resistance. To this end, the beef community is committed to further investing in research to better understand how to effectively and appropriately use antibiotics to best protect animal and public health.
The Federal Meat Inspection Act requires USDA inspectors to provide inspection of live cattle before entering a federally-regulated establishments. Inspectors also oversee where beef is cut and packaged and the finished meat products are prepared for shipment to their final destinations.