Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kiss A Cow

James, one Sappington's meat cutters, on a busy day.

Our meatcutters cut and grind meat from individual animals.

Some folks really love their animals. I think this picture proves it. Pictured is Ron McNear, one of the owners of Sappington Farmers Market and the president of MO Best Beef Cooperative.

Please note the eartag on the cow. This eartag is part of a voluntary animal id system used by Missouri's Best Beef Cooperative to protect you, the consumer.

The system works perfectly to identify every cut of meat from this coop which is sold at Sappington Farmers Market.

Although the typical pound of ground beef sold as part of the conventional meat production system in the US can contain DNA from as many as 1000 animals, a pound of ground beef bought at Sappington Farmers Market and labeled "Rancher's Best Beef" contains meat from only one animal. Our meat department receives a delivery direct from one of the MO Best farmers-in a refrigerated van. This is not boxed meat. This is a side of beef. The meat department cuts the beef into custom cuts, and grinds some of it. We know it's from one cow because that's all they've cut and ground. It is then labeled "Ranchers Best Beef" and sold from the meat case. Records are kept of the information on that animal's ear tag and that meat can be traced back to the exact animal. What are the chances that meat has e. coli contamination? Well, so far, every e. coli outbreak in the country has involved animals raised in large Confined Animal Feeding Operations and processed in one of the twelve (that's right-only twelve in the whole country) processing facilities in the USA. So, not only is Rancher's Best Beef source-identified, but the chances that a trace will ever be required are very minimal.

Recent news stories have alerted the public to the fact that almost 400,000 pounds of beef have been recalled because of e. coli contamination. To me, the really scary thing about these recalls is that you might not know where the meat you bought originated, and you might not even hear about the recall until your family has eaten the meat. Considering the very small premium on the price of "Rancher's Best", it seems hard to justify feeding your family the riskier meat.
That's not all, though. The taste of "Rancher's Best" is so much better than conventional ground beef that you won't believe your taste buds. It tastes like beef used to taste.

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