Youth Beef Industry Day

This past weekend I had the opportunity to mingle and learn with youth and parents of the beef industry about responsible beef practices in and out of the show ring. For the past 16 years, Ohio has brought together youth and families allowing them the opportunity to exhibit their 4-H and FFA projects in a winter show program called the BEST circuit, which stands for beef exhibitor show total. The opportunities, showmanship skills, and leadership lessons learned throughout this program expand beyond the barn and the show ring, helping teach kids of all ages the responsibility, care, sportsmanship, and educational promotions that are all intertwined within the beef community.

Members of the program partook in a Youth Beef Industry Day, where they were able to listen to guest speaker Kirk Stierwalt in a Livestock Evaluation and Showmanship Session, as well as a social media as a communication session, learning different cuts of meat, and prominent issues in the beef industry-answering the question, what is our role?

OCW raising hands

BEST youth participants engaged and asking questions throughout the days worth of advocacy presentations.

If you are in the BEST Program in Ohio, chances are you love showing, making friends and memories and most importantly, you love spending back-to-back weekends standing in Ohio’s cold weather. The first two sessions were geared towards the showman side of the beef industry. It is important as we look at showing our steers and heifers, that we first know the proper showmanship techniques in the ring, as well as the proper showman techniques out of the ring. Everyone loves to win, but it is obvious there is only one winner, and showing cattle teaches kids to win and loose with dignity and grace as well as being a good sport and congratulating others. It is also important that we teach our youth how to evaluate their animals. Not only is this important from the show side of the industry, but it is also important that at a young age, we learn how to evaluate our cattle for sicknesses so we can make the proper assessments to get them healthy again.

OCW steer

Kirk Stierwalt talking about the proper evaluations to make on your show project.

Outside of the show ring, communication about the beef industry is important. Whether you are at your school lunch table, county fair, or on a social media site, portraying the beef industry in a positive light is necessary for all ages. It is important to teach these youth that all of us are advocates for the beef industry. While at the county fair, you have the power to engage in conversations with someone from a non-agricultural background, or you have the opportunity to tell your beef story about your daily work regnum before show ring time on your social media page.  Understanding the current topics in the beef industry and the best way to answer them is important for the youth and their parents. The power of communication is strong and promoting social media savviness and communication is a key to success.

OCW meat lady

Dr. Garcia of The Ohio State University engages in conversation with youth in steak school…beyond the fluff.

Opportunities like this are vitally important as we prepare our next generation of leaders. It is important and necessary that they understand showing cattle is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can help you make new friends and memories, but showing cattle and being a part of a winter circuit allows you to learn so much more about leadership skills, hard work and responsibility, as well as the importance of promotions outside of the show ring. The beef industry is more than the end of a show halter and a shiny show stick, and teaching these youth of the beef industry that we all have a part to be advocates and promote our livelihood is extremely important.

It’s all about that BEEF!

It’s a Family Thing

Agriculture has always been a big part of my life. Growing up on a farm is a very unique experience, and I would not have changed it for the world. There are many aspects of agriculture that makes it so different than other businesses. One element that is different is the prevalence of family. In fact, 97 percent of beef farms or ranches are family-owned. 54 percent of these farms and ranches have been in the same family for three generations or more!

My brother, Garrett, is also very passionate about agriculte.

My brother, Garrett, shares the passion for agriculture as well.

I am pleased to say that my brother has returned to be the next generation on our operation. The dedication he shows to continuing the legacy is astonishing to me. In addition, one of our extended cousins and his family recently moved from Las Vegas to Wyoming to be a part of the farm. You can read about their adventures here. It can be tough to work together as a family sometimes, and here are the biggest things I personally have learned from working with my family:

    • Everyone is good at something: My brother can rally people together to work towards a common goal like you wouldn’t believe! My mom is great at keeping things in perspective. My dad is a master problem solver. Everyone brings something to the table, and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.
    • Keep your cool: It is very easy to want to snap at one another when working together (especially with the family dynamic). In order to keep your relationships in good standing (both family and work), it is important to be patient with one another.
    • Stay humble: We are all working together. It is important to stay humble (especially if you have been placed in charge of a project!). It is much easier to work with one another if everyone is courteous to each other. Never refuse to do a job because it is “below you.”

      Master planner

      Never be “too good” for any job (even opening the gate!).

    • Keep the end goal in mind: It can be difficult to work with each other sometimes. Situations can get tense, but it is crucial to always remember that everyone is working toward a common goal.
    • Be true to your word: If you say you are going to do something, then do it! We all rely on one another, and trust is critical.

      Hungry animals depend

      This is especially crucial when hungry animals depend on you doing your job.

    • Always try your best: Murphy’s Law (everything that can go wrong will go wrong) always seems to catch up with us! Just because you are having an off day does not mean that you are a failure! It just means that you should dust yourself off and try even harder.
    • Be flexible: It is important not to get too upset when things do not go your way. So much of agriculture is outside of our control (cows can get out, machinery can break down, or hail could demolish a crop) that it is better to just go with the flow. For example, it never fails that machinery breaks down in the middle of harvest. Typically, we need the problem fixed as soon as possible. However, sometimes things are out of our control and we can’t even get the parts in for a few days. It is important to be flexible, because sometimes the situation is simply out of your hands.

      Sometimes bad things happen

      Sometimes bad days just happen.

    • It is okay to take a moment for yourself: I am always taken aback by how beautiful the land is. I am especially reminded of it when I am alone doing work in a pasture. It is okay to take a few moments and just take it all in every now and again.

  • Stick together: We have each other to lean on. Sometimes when it feels like everything is going wrong, family is always there to make things better.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that we are all family. I wouldn’t trade the experiences I have had working with family for anything.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

My Run-In With The Reverse Pan Sear


I have found that snow days are not as fun while at college as they are while at home. At home, I get to help feed cows and check babies. While at school, I am land locked with nothing fun to do. So, I decided to experiment with a new recipe. I have heard about reverse pan searing for steak and thought that this was a great opportunity to try it out.

What is reverse pan searing anyway?

Restaurants often sear steak to achieve an attractive browning effect and then place the steak in a low-temperature oven to make sure the inside is cooked. With the reverse pan sear, the steak starts in the oven and then finishes in a hot skillet. The result: a more evenly cooked steak. It is sometimes frustrating when you want a medium doneness but end up with well-done on the outside, then medium-well, and then medium in the center. With reverse pan searing, the entire piece of meat is the desired doneness, all the way through.

Campus provides a little bit different view than home: no cows.

*Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

I used T-bone steaks for my experiment. You can use any cut. I just happened to have some home-grown T-bones on hand.


I started with a basic salt and pepper rub. Nothing too fancy , just a nice seasoning base to encourage the natural deliciousness of the beef. I used two parts salt to every part pepper.

After cutting off the excess fat, I covered the steak with the salt and pepper mixture.

Since I didn’t have a rack on hand, I just placed the steak directly into a foil-covered cake pan. Then, I placed the steak in the oven. Since the steaks were pretty thick and still cold, I kept them in the oven for about 20 minutes. The thicker the piece of meat, the longer it is recommended to stay in the oven. The goal is for the meat to be about 125 degrees internally. The main idea is to start the cooking from the inside out without triggering a browning reaction. That is reserved for the skillet.

While the steak was in the oven, I decided to get more creative. I love butter. The REAL kind. The butter that is just made up of cream and salt. At restaurants, I always love when the steaks come with a special yummy dollop of butter. So I decided to make a garlic butter to fry the steaks in.

I mixed together half of a stick of softened butter (4 tablespoons), 2 diced garlic cloves and one teaspoon of garlic powder.


After mixed, I placed a dollop of the butter in a skillet to sear the steaks after the oven.

After twenty minutes in the oven, I placed the steaks into a hot skillet with the garlic butter. I fried the steak about three minutes on both sides. I would recommend using a meat thermometer to make sure you reach the desired doneness.

I served the T-bones with a dollop of garlic butter, sauteed Asian yellow squash, buttered broccoli and cheese and fresh avocado slices. Who said a person couldn’t enjoy beef and eat healthy on a college-kid budget?


My steak ended up being medium-well (150-155 degrees internal temperature). But the results were very uniform. The entire steak was medium-well, not just the very center.


One great thing about my snow day is that I had two very willing guinea pigs. My two close friends never turn down steak!

The verdict: I was very impressed by how evenly cooked the steak was. And the preparation was very easy. Even though I only had the bare necessities, I was able to create a tasty, flavorful, tender steak. The few extra minutes it took to make were worth the added flavor and consistency. When asked on a scale of one to ten of how likely the girls would choose to eat the reverse pan seared steak, the girls gave it a ten. Try it and let me know what you think! 


God bless folks!

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe





The How To Guide on Buying Beef


When you go to the grocery store, do you know how to select the best cut of meat? I was taught from a young age about marbling, but I didn’t know about all the other factors that go into selecting the best cut for your purposes. Here are a few ways to find the best cut for the best price!


Marbling is one of the biggest factors when it comes to flavor and tenderness. Marbling refers to the intramuscular flecks of fat within the meat. There are several different quality grades, which are generally posted on the outside of the meat package. The top four are, Prime, Choice, Select and Standard. The higher the quality grade, generally the higher the price per pound goes. No one quality grade is the best, it just depends on your personal taste. I prefer a high choice cut of beef, while some may enjoy the leanness of standard or the full flavor of prime.

L to R: Prime, Choice, Select, Standard


Color of Lean is another factor to check out in meat. You are looking for a bright cherry red, or even a little darker purplish-red color. If the meat is a purplish-red color, nothing is wrong, it just hasn’t had as much exposure to oxygen and is very fresh! Sometimes, you may find that when you open a package of cubed steaks, or hamburger, there may be brown pieces. This meat is perfectly okay to eat, again it has to do with the amount of oxygen that has reached the myoglobin in the muscle!


Great Flow Chart to understand why meat changes colors!

Meat color triangle

Purple-ish Red, Cherry Red and Brown are normal colors for meat! Green and yellow are NOT!








Tenderness is perhaps the hardest to judge from looking at the meat counter without any meat science knowledge. There are different types of muscles within the animals, and are generally categorized into two types: Hanging/Support Muscles or Locomotion Muscles. Hanging muscles are muscles that don’t do too much work, like the loin, ribs and brisket. As a rule of thumb, they tend to be more tender, but as you know with the brisket, it can also depend on the type of muscle fibers present in that cut! Locomotion muscles are used to move the animals, like the round or chuck and generally are tougher. There are also claims that are certified by the USDA that will help with tenderness, such as, Dry or Wet Aging, and Electrical Stimulation.

Dry versus Wet Aged Beef. Both are tasty options!


A very powerful electrical volt passes through the carcass before it is chilled







Shopping for meat should be an easy and hassle free experience, and with this quick guide you can find the best cut for you!


From the Heart of Beef,

Alicia Smith

I Heart Lean Beef Horizontal Color with Powerful Protein Tagline

Antibiotic Use in Cattle

There is a growing concern about the safety of the American food supply and this includes antibiotics use in meat animals. Why do beef producers use antibiotics? Are these antibiotics safe? Do these antibiotics make it to the plate and impact human health? Here’s a quick overview of antibiotic use in cattle.

We've all been sick...but cattle can get sick too and antibiotics help them recover.

We’ve all been sick…but cattle can get sick too and antibiotics help them recover.

Cattle Get Sick!

Sometimes we get sick, and often antibiotics can help us get well quicker. Cattle are no different! I’m currently in a Livestock Disease’s class and something I’ve learned so far is there are a lot of ways an animal can get sick…a lot. Treating illness in cattle is part of cattlemen’s commitment to welfare and care for their animals. What’s more, many of the diseases contracted by cattle are often transmissible to humans. So it is pertinent to treat sick cattle not only for the care and well being of the animal, but also to protect human health.

Antibiotics are SAFE

Just like drugs for human use, antibiotics used on cattle go through stringent testing for safety by the Food and Drug Administration. These drugs are evaluated not only for their safety for the animal, but also safety for humans and the environment too. It takes many years for a drug to make it from the lab, through rigorous testing, and onto shelves at farm stores.

Rigorous testing and monitoring helps ensure that antibiotic use in beef is safe.

Rigorous testing and monitoring helps ensure that antibiotic use in beef is safe.

Residues are Constantly Monitored

Some people are concerned about residues, or leftover antibiotics, making it to the table and impacting human health. However these residues are constantly monitored and tested through the U.S. National Residue Program to ensure no violations are made. The latest testing cycle in 2013-2014 found 99.96% compliance in beef. Part of drug testing is to determine withdrawal times, the time it takes for the drug to clear the animal, and producers work closely with their veterinarians to ensure these times are followed. In fact new legislative changes will require more veterinary oversight for the use of antibiotics to further ensure proper use.

Antibiotics used for Growth

Certain antibiotics can be given to cattle to improve their growth. This is accomplished through reduction of harmful bacteria and increasing the efficiency of the gut. While legislative changes are evaluating this use, it is important to realize that common antibiotics used for growth promotion are not critical to human health. Ionophores are widely used to control the levels of certain bacteria in the cow’s rumen and have never been shown to have use in human health.

The bottom line is that antibiotic use in cattle is necessary for welfare, responsibly used by producers, safe and closely monitored.

Will Pohlman

Five Fast Facts about Veal

Funded in part by the beef check-off, Veal is a nutritious beef product that consumers have the option to include as a part of their heart healthy diet. While at the Pennsylvania Farm show, I had the opportunity to not only taste Veal, but also be a part of a Veal training session. As consumers demand Veal as a choice of protein in their diets, the states of Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio respectively are the top Veal producing states. Although being an Ohio native, I never realized the supply and demand of Veal as a beef product as well as the facts about Veal calves. With this newly gained knowledge, below is a list of the top five fast facts I learned about Veal and Veal production.

  1. Veal is meat produced from calves up to 9 months of age, before they have reached puberty. Veal is mainly bull calves (never being castrated). Some may be heifer calves. Around the age of nine months, bulls begin to have higher levels of testosterone which begins to cause a tougher, less tender meat. For this reason, slaughtering veal prior to this bodily change and age results in a very tender product.
  2. Veal calves are mainly Holstein dairy calves. Beef cattle are selling at a higher price than dairy calves, which makes raising dairy calves for Veal more profitable for the producer. Dairy producers also work for their cow and milking production numbers and profitability, therefore bull calves are of little to no value to the producer. Veal however is a part of the beef industry and beef check-off program.
  3. 80% of Veal calves receive colostrum before a Veal farmer gets them. For both beef and dairy calves alike, it is important and crucial that baby calves receive colostrum from their mother in the first 24 hours of life. Colostrum is naturally produced in the mother’s milk and has needed antibodies and vitamins that the calf needs to maintain a healthy functioning life. A misperception about the veal industry is that consumers think veal calves are pulled away from their mothers as soon as they are born. Receiving the natural antibodies provided through the milk is important in fighting off illnesses later in life.
  4. Veal calves are on a milk replacer diet in which provides them with all of the 40 minerals and vitamins they require their whole life. Being on a milk replacer diet gives the veal meat a grayish-pink color and is very tender and takes on the flavor of what you cook it in.

    veal drinking

    Some Veal barns have individual head slots where each calf is able to drink milk replacer from a single bucket.

  5. With today’s technology, Veal calves are housed in environmentally controlled barns which provide health and safety to the calves. The barns are artificially and naturally lighted and have a constant source of circulating fresh air. In 2007, the American Veal Association adopted group housing as a practice of raising Veal calves. Whether being raised in individual pens or via group housing, producers ensure the calves have ample room to move, laydown and turn around. Veal calves are also continuously observed and monitored individually by the producer. This is important to be sure that all calves and healthy, active, and growing.

Veal calves housed in a group housing setting have ample room to move and lay down as well as eat. Fecal matter falls through the grated floors keeping the walking/laying area clean.

Veal producers follow safe management practices to ensure they are raising a healthy, profitable source of meat. Supply and demand is the basis of the beef industry, and because there is a demand for Veal as a product from our consumers, producers work hard to ensure their choices are met. Veal is just another healthy, nutrient-rich beef protein that you can choose to add into your diet and with these fast five facts, you can feel more confident than ever about the Veal you choose to eat!


Veal is another great beef protein to add into your healthy diet!

Have a great week!


Surviving the Cafeteria

I live in the dorms, and consequently eat a lot of cafeteria food. If you aren’t careful, it can be challenging at times to incorporate beef into your diet when someone else is determining the menu. Here are my tips for beefing up your cafeteria experience:

  1. Suggestion cards are there for a reason. If you do not like your current options, ask for them to be changed! There is a better chance of change occurring if you speak up about what needs changed.

    Make your voice heard!

    Make your voice heard!

  2. Mix and match. One of my favorite dishes is a steak salad. This is rarely an option from the choices they have. What I do is make a salad at the salad bar, and then grab a steak from one of the stations in the cafeteria and mix them myself. By mixing and matching portions of the menu they have, you can really add variety to your diet.

    Steak and salad are a great combination!

    Steak and salad are a great combination!

  3. Plan your meals ahead of time. At my university, the menus are posted online a week in advance. This makes it very simple to plan what you will eat each day of the week. It also makes it easy to incorporate all of the food groups into your diet because you are more aware of what you are eating.
  4. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Sometimes you might not know what an item on the menu is. Try it! If you find out you do not like it, then you know not to get it again.

    There are usually several options

    Trying new things will help you determine what you like or don’t like!

  5. Snack smart! Sometimes college schedules do not allow room between classes to grab lunch. On those days, one of my favorite snacks to power through my day is beef jerky and baby carrots.

    Beef jerky is great way to get the benefits of beef on the go!

    Beef jerky is great way to get the benefits of beef on the go!

Taking control of your diet can be challenging initially, but it really is worth it.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Why Beef Sustainability is So Hard

Sustainability is a big deal. Ranchers depend on natural resources to make a living, because in the end, that is what ranchers are: grass-salesmen. In addition to the environmental side of sustainability, there is another much more personal aspect.

The idea of sustainability is centered around the goal of making things better for the next generation; conserving natural resources, creating new, better management practices, preserving a culture, et cetera. As a fifth generation agriculture producer, it is sometimes assumed that I was born knowing the ropes- like I just hopped out of the womb knowing exactly how to manage cash inflows and outflows, when to plant certain feed crops and what to do when mama cows are having a hard time giving birth.

Even though I wasn’t born automatically knowing how to do everything that goes into running a ranch, I have had the opportunity to learn from the very best: my dad.


My dad is responsible for every thing I know about cattle, and more. I am very blessed to have him as a role model.


Here are a few things that I have found to make beef sustainability challenging:

1. Times change.

Things have a way of changing. Diet fads change, celebrity relationship statuses change, and fashion trends change (thank goodness!). Agriculture is no different. In 1960, one farmer fed 25 people. Today, one farmer feeds more than 150 people world-wide. Food production has had to change over the years to accommodate for an exponentially expanding population.

2. Demand changes.

In 1998, the most requested Christmas gift was the Furby,  a creepy little owl-like furry robot. In contrast, the most requested Christmas items of 2014 were personal technology gadgets, such as tablets, smart phones and laptops. It is safe to say that demand changes over time.

Over the years, demand for beef has changed also. Early twentieth century consumers preferred a higher-fat content beef. Today, consumers prefer a leaner beef. Each new generation seems to bring with it new ideas and things they find important. Beef producers have to follow the demands of consumers in order to survive. Demand causes supply.

3. Technology changes.

The horse-driven plow used by my great, great grandfather has been replaced by progressive, precise production technologies. Staying on top of changing technologies is imperative to insure that ranchers and farmers are capable of meeting the ever-changing needs of societies.


Learning what to do and not do can sometimes be a lengthy process, but it is worth every ounce of hard work in the end. Here’s Dad and I after working a set of cows at 2am, in 20 degree temperatures.


4.  Weather patterns change.

Drought stricken summers, blizzard blasted winters, soupy, soggy springs and blustery falls. Every season, every year, every decade brings with it weather challenges that producers have to over come. If producers do not find ways to get through the hard times, producers are sometimes forced to sell out of the business.

5. Motivation changes.

As with every profession, everything is not always roses and butterflies in beef production. There are hard times. Often, more hard times than great times. Producers are incredibly sensitive to externalities, unlike other businesses. Input prices can be high (and there are a lot of inputs!), markets can crash, weather can wipe out harvest and marketing plans, in addition to the tax exhausting hours can have in the home.

Despite passion, sometimes people get tired. Sometimes, people have a hard time getting back up after being knocked down countless times. Sometimes, people can no longer afford to do what they love to do. Ranchers are real people who face real, everyday challenges.


Learning is a never-ending process. Sometimes we have to learn from failures. I am thankful to have such a wonderful mentor who allows me to fail sometimes in order to learn from my mistakes.


Moral of the story: Agriculture producers are forced to adapt to ever-changing conditions. Dealing with the every day challenges in a successful way will help ensure the sustainability of beef production for future generations. AKA, learn from those who have traveled the path before us!


God bless, folks!


Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe



The Tasty World of Veal!

I don’t know about y’all, but veal is something I’ve always been afraid of. Up until the beginning of January, I hadn’t even tried it!   To my surprise, it was actually pretty good! So how would one go about selecting and cooking veal?


When buying veal, look for meat that is creamy pink in color, with a fine texture. There should be very little outer fat and marbling. Different cuts require different cooking methods, so choose a cut that you are comfortable cooking!


Cooking veal is similar to beef, including that it should be cooked to 160 degrees! You can dry rub it, marinate, bread, glaze or even stuff it with cheese! Garlic, lemon, fresh herbs and Italian seasoning make excellent spices to use on veal if you are just starting out and not to sure what to make. Veal is also great when paired with fresh fruit salsas or dried fruit sauces. Traditional sides, such as potatoes, asparagus or even eggplant fit great, as well! To find out more information on specific cooking methods, visit

Here’s a fun recipe I found to try veal:

Veal Picatta


  • 1 pound veal leg cutlets, cut 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon saltVeal-Picata-Less-Pasta
  • 1/8 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Sauce:
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter; at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • Salt


Pound veal cutlets to 1/8-inch thickness, if necessary. Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, paprika and white pepper in shallow dish. Lightly coat cutlets with seasoned flour.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until melted. Place 2 or 3 cutlets in skillet; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until veal is cooked through, turning once. Remove cutlets; keep warm. Repeat with 1/2 tablespoon butter and remaining cutlets.

Add wine and lemon juice to skillet; increase heat to medium-high. Cook and stir until browned bits attached to skillet are dissolved and liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon room temperature butter and capers. Season with salt, as desired. Spoon sauce over cutlets. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 240 calories; 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat); 103 mg cholesterol; 394 mg sodium; 7 g carbohydrate; 0.3 g fiber; 25 g protein; 9.1 mg niacin; 0.3 mg vitamin B6; 1.0 mcg vitamin B12; 1.3 mg iron; 12.9 mcg selenium; 2.7 mg zinc. This recipe is an excellent source of protein and niacin; and a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc.

Found here:

Safety First: A Quick Guide for Proper Handling and Preparation

No one enjoys being sick, but what’s worse than getting sick from a delicious family meal? Despite progress in safety for all food production industries, incidences of food borne illness and even product recalls are still a fact consumers must face when purchasing groceries or preparing dinner. While progress is being made on the production side of the plate to decrease the incidences of food borne illness, there are many things that can be done when handling and preparing beef to guarantee a safe eating experience.

Remember the Danger Zone: 40-140°F

Bacteria grow best in the temperature range of 40-140°F

Bacteria grow best in the temperature range of 40-140°F

Long story short: bacteria grow best at these temperatures so keep your beef and other meats cool or hot. This is why the meat case should be your last stop at the grocery store and why meat needs to be refrigerated or frozen. Remember that ground beef placed in the refrigerator should be used within 1-2 days and steaks and roasts within 3-5 to guarantee freshness and safety.

Wash your hands and utensils…and watch them too.

Before carving up a steak or forming hamburger patties make sure that you’ve washed your hands with warm soapy water. Also make sure any utensils and cutting boards as well as the counters are cleaned as well. It doesn’t do any good to buy a safe product and then contaminate it at home! Make sure that you assign certain cutting boards and utensils specifically for beef and other meats to prevent cross contamination to other foods you might also be preparing.

Follow proper cooking temperature guidelines to destroy any potential pathogens.

Follow proper cooking temperature guidelines to destroy any potential pathogens.

Give ‘em the heat

The single most important step that can be taken to ensure a safe beef eating experience is to cook your meat thoroughly. The process of cooking destroys any bacteria that may be present and proper cooking guidelines should be closely followed to guarantee that safe temperatures have been reached. Remember that while steaks and roasts need only be cooked to 145°F internal temperature, ground beef should always be cooked to a minimum of 160°F.

Store leftovers properly and use them quickly

Maybe you overestimated how many burgers to make or just couldn’t finish that steak. No worries! Store any leftovers in shallow containers in the refrigerator to help them cool off quickly and use them within 3 days. Just remember to reheat to correct temperatures and if you’re in doubt about whether some leftovers are safe or not, throw it out! It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Although outbreaks of food borne illness are still a fact of life, it’s important to note the progress that has been made to reduce incidences. The beef industry invests $400 million each year in testing and research to further improve beef safety and E.coli rates have plummeted significantly over the past decade. And just as beef producers are working hard to provide a safe product, there are many steps that you can take to guarantee the beef dinner your family enjoys is as safe as it is nutritious.

Will Pohlman