CCA carcass audit to begin with meat shoppers

OTTAWA — Cattle that are bumped and bruised or receive a misdirected injection could produce poor quality beef.


The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association is starting a national beef carcass audit this year to examine meat products from the packing plants to the retail case looking for blemishes. 


“The first thing we want to do is an injection site audit with steaks. It requires that you look inside the meat,” said Mark Klassen of the CCA. 


The audit includes consumer interviews to assess their satisfaction with beef.


Another study starts in 2015, in which auditors will enter packing plants and look at a variety of quality factors in cattle and carcasses. This will take several years to complete. 


Visible lesions, abscesses and bruises are trimmed from carcasses at the processing plant and discarded. However, these blemishes can affect meat quality because un-trimmed beef around an injection site lesion can be tough.


CCA auditors have also started the beef offal enhancement initiative, which will work with a packer to score livers. The information, including the number of abscesses and other problems that appear, will be shared with interested feedlots.


The first batch of data has already been collected. 


Forty feedlots with about 800,000 head capacity have said they are interested in the information, which could help them make management changes to prevent condemned livers. 


“It isn’t about giving people sermons. It is not about having zero liver abscesses. It is just about giving you information,” Klassen said at the CCA’s annual meeting, which was held in Ottawa March 4-7.


The first carcass quality audit was conducted in 1995 and led to considerable change within the industry. Producers were taught better cattle handling to prevent bruises and were encouraged to give injections under the skin in the neck rather in than the hind quarter muscles.