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Beef Quality Corner - B Maturity and Antibiotic Label Change

Livestock Update, August 1997

Bill McKinnon, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Virginia Tech

The USDA revised its beef quality grade standards back on January 31, 1997 in regard to "B" maturity carcasses. Carcasses identified as "B" maturity as indicated by the combined lean and skeletal scores and with "Slight" and "Small" marbling scores can no longer qualify for the Select and Choice quality grades. ("A" maturity or more youthful appearing carcasses with "Slight" and "Small" marbling scores qualify to be graded Select and Choice, respectively.) The grade change was initiated in an effort to improve the quality and consistency of Select and Choice beef.

Recently released data by USDA indicated that "B" maturity carcasses impacted (essentially down-graded) by the grade change amounted to 0.85% during the February through May period. The percentages of carcasses impacted by the grade change by month were as follows: Feb.- 1.15%; Mar.- 0.92%; Apr.- 0.76%; and May - 0.59%. The decline in the percentages for February through May can largely be explained by the seasonal increase in calf-feds being marketed. In the fall of 1996, the USDA had conducted a survey to anticipate the impact of the grade change. The results of that survey suggested that 1.58% of all fed cattle carcasses might be affect by the change. As we go into the fall and market more yearling fed cattle the number of carcass kept out of the Select and Choice grades due to the change should rise to back over 1% level.

LA 200 Label Change

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Liquamycin LA-200 for subcutaneous injection. The formulation of the product is to remain the same, but the Pfizer company sought the label change to better meet the industry's beef quality assurance guidelines. Last fall, a new long acting oxytetracycline product (Bio-Mycin 200) was originally released by the Boehringer Ingelheim company as a subcutaneous product. The industry will continue to see additional products released or reformulated in a form other those requiring intramuscular injection. The data is in. In addition visible injection site lesions, intramuscular injections increase beef toughness in the area of the injection.

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