Renewing the Focus on Quality Assurance Certification
How many of you know The People Behind Beef video that is part of the Beef? It’s What’s For Dinner – Rethink the Ranch campaign? The beef supply chain is made up of a lot of people! People that care for newborn calves, feed cattle, transport cattle, harvest the meat, and prepare that meat for someone’s meal. Each person along this supply chain takes pride in the quality and safety of the final food product, regardless of if they handle a live animal or a cut of meat.
To continue providing consumers with confidence regarding how and where U.S. beef is raised, each sector of the industry is doing their part. Consumers are looking for food companies to provide clear labeling and advertising, so they can make purchasing decisions with confidence. As a result, restaurants and food service companies are placing more focus on where they source their beef products in order to meet the changing market expectations. One way cattle producers and dairies can rise to meet this market demand for beef products is to participate in the various quality assurance certification programs: Beef Quality Assurance (BQA), BQA Transportation (BQAT), or Dairy Animal Care and Quality Assurance (DACQA, aka Dairy BQA).
New Packer and Food Service Commitments
Wendy’s is home of the square burger and ranks as one of the top five most successful fast food chains in the U.S. during 2017. Wendy’s made a commitment to source 100% of their beef from BQA Certified sources by 2019. In doing so, Wendy’s will fulfill their commitment to serve high quality beef from responsibly raised cattle. It is encouraging to see food services that desire a high quality product are looking to the existing beef industry quality assurance programs instead of creating their own individualized verification programs.
Given Wendy’s commitment to source 100% BQA Certified beef, Tyson Foods Inc., leading U.S. meat processor that processes approximately 25% of the United States’ beef cattle, expects all cattle suppliers to become BQA Certified by January 1, 2019. Cattle suppliers should work with a Tyson Foods Inc. buyer to provide their BQA number or certificate before January 1st. Additionally, cattle transporters will be expected to become BQA Transportation (BQAT) Certified by January 1, 2020 to deliver to Tyson processing facilities. Livestock haulers play a critical role to insure humane handling of livestock throughout the food supply and impact the final quality of the beef carcass. Thus, Wendy’s and Tyson Foods as leaders in the U.S. beef supply chain are asking everyone to assume responsibility for their role to help maintain the highest quality product for consumers.
The beef industry is big and diverse. Whether you’re a cow-calf producer, feeder, transporter, auction barn, or processing plant each person depends on the others to keep beef on the dinner plate across America. Check out the Tyson Beef Packing Plant, Dakota City, NE video highlighting a packer’s commitment in the Rethink the Ranch campaign.
Part 2, The South Dakota BQA Program: What’s New & How to Certify, outlines the changes to the South Dakota BQA program and answers frequently asked questions about the certification process.
South Dakota producers can contact Heidi Carroll, South Dakota BQA Coordinator, with questions on any of the beef or dairy quality assurance programs, to check your individual certification status, or to renew your certification.
Cattle feeders interested in being listed on the National Feedyard Assessment Database can contact Heidi Carroll directly to learn more about the steps to qualify. Information regarding the national Feedyard Assessment Database can be found at feedyardassessment.org.