Consumer Reports study questions ground beef safety By Julie Tomascik Associate Editor A recent study released by Con-sumer Reports questions the safety of ground beef. And boasts the accolades of “sustainable” beef grown without antibiotics, hormones and raised on pasture. “The report misleads consumers, giving the impression that certain types of beef production methods will raise safer beef,” Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Associate Director of Commod-ity and Regulatory Activities Tracy Tomascik said. “That’s not the case, and it will lead to further confusion at the meat counter.” After recalls and reports of high amounts of bacteria, Consumer Re-ports decided to put beef to the test. They purchased 300 packages—458 pounds of ground beef—from 26 cities across the country. They claimed beef “raised sustain-ably” was signiﬁcantly less likely to have harmful bacteria than conven-tionally raised beef. “All beef production models can be sustainable,” Tomascik said. “Sustain-ability is a buzzword, but it’s a goal of every rancher. Because it means rais-ing more beef with fewer inputs, while balancing environmental responsibil-ity and economic opportunities to meet the demand for beef products.” Each production method has its place in the market. The beef industry is diverse and broad, but food safety and animal care are primary concerns for all ranchers—no matter the grow-ing method, Tomascik added. But the report still recommended choosing ground beef labeled as “no antibiotics,” “grass-fed” or “organic.” Citing fewer bacteria and “superbugs” in beef with those labels. Guidelines, however, for antibiot-ics are set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and followed by ranchers. And steps have been taken to improve and reduce the use of antibiotics. The report didn’t mention whether any of the beef samples were from livestock who received antibiotics and failed to inform consumers that grass-fed cattle can also be given antibiotics. Federal agencies also monitor and inspect packers, working to minimize the risk to consumers. The report, he noted, did get one thing right—cooking beef to 160 de-grees Fahrenheit will kill harmful bacteria. “Raw food of any kind—beef, pork, poultry, produce—may have patho-genic bacteria in it,” Tomascik said. “Handling food improperly during preparation is a problem, but it’s not a food safety issue that was generated on the farm. It’s a problem issue in the kitchen.” Coyote population on the rise Long awaited and des-perately needed spring rains came. And they brought an abundance of prey species. That’s led to an in-crease in predators—es-pecially a bumper crop of coyotes—across the Lone Star State. “This has been a good year for coyotes. A lot of coyote pups were born. A lot of coyote pups survived,” Mike Bodenchuk, Texas Wildlife Services state director, told the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network. “And we’re seeing rab-bits for the ﬁrst time in maybe a decade, and that’s going to increase the number of coyotes that are out there.” The booming population could lead to problems with Texas agri-culture, particularly for sheep, goat and cattle ranchers. “There’s going to be a ready reservoir of nuisance wildlife available, and that requires constant management,” Bodenchuk said. TPWD © Bill Reaves ALVARADO COSPER TRACTOR 817-783-5757 cospertractor.com S EPTEMBER 18 , 2015 DURABILITY REDEFINED. ALICE EDGARS FARM EQUIP. & SERVICE 361-664-5022 361-227-0916 STAR MOORE'S SERVICE CENTER 325-948-3595 WAXAHACHIE WAXAHACHIE EQUIPMENT CO., INC. 972-937-5870 waxahachieequipment.com NX Series ® featur e, it has it . Name a cho re, re,it it do es it. 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