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  What have you done for QA today??
By Nancy Noecker - Beef Specialist, Perth

QA and HACCP, are a bunch of letters that 10 years ago didn't mean much to any of us in beef business. Today however they have become an integral part of beef production from cow/calf set-ups through to serving the final product at the dinner table. At the farm level we may still see HACCP(Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) as more of a packing plant and processing program, but there is no doubt that QA (Quality Assurance) is part of the producers balliwick.

For a long time we have produced a product---(not necessarily one we would stand behind or guarantee-but a product) and sold it. Now however as a result of the Meat Quality Audits of the early 90's and the adoption of QA by the CCA, we are being challenged to produce a desirable beef product and stand behind it.

There is a long list of things to help create that "desirable beef product" --smaller carcasses, more marbling, consistent tender carcasses, less tag, no brands, horns off early,

early proper castration, preventative treatments and handling, more vaccinations,

less drugs, less needles, and needles only in the neck.

This is not a complete list but a good start for most of us. These range from things you could implement tomorrow--like neck needling, low stress handling, and vaccinations, to more long term research and industry driven things like carcass and cow size, as well as tender and well marbling bloodlines within all breeds.

So will I get paid to implement a QA program? The answer to that is a big I don't know . However if we all sit back and wait for someone else or the industry to Do It- we can guarantee that the "beef industry" will continue to lose market share and market $$'s ( Remember Nero fiddled while Rome burned). So pick a program or parts of a program that you can do and make a difference. Then DO IT, and advertise the heck out of the fact that you have done it. I think the consuming public will demand this in the coming years and as in all "new " things the early adopters may see some premiums, but those who lag behind will only see discounts for the products that don't measure up.

SoÉ what have you done for QA today ???



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