As the Obama Administration takes a more holistic approach to meat inspection it is rethinking channels for older animals such as dairy cows used for ground beef. Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza, speaking in Indian Wells, Calif., said meat processors need to assess whether the risks associated with buying and slaughtering older, less expensive animals is worth the cost savings.
One option would be to treat older beef animals like the poultry industry treats spent hens by diverting them for use in cooked or canned end products. As it is, it is believed processors could be posing a greater risk to public health and their brand.
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has outlined an overhaul to its ground beef purchasing program, which relies heavily on product processed from older animals.