The University of Arizona
What is Beef Quality Assurance

Across the country, beef producers face the challenge of making a living from the land while producing safe, healthy beef. This beef must give a great eating experience each and every time for consumers in America and around the world. To meet that challenge, the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program was created in 1987 to help beef producers raise, feed, and harvest high-quality beef.

Using science, research, and education, the BQA program has identified practices producers can use each day. The major goal of these BQA practices is to improve consumer trust. The BQA program is a holistic way to produce beef. The practices a producer uses can impact the bottom line in all areas, including better profits and returns, lower animal health costs, and improved records that allow for better tracking of production practices.

In today's marketplace, consumer concerns about contaminants in the food chain are increasing. We know that compounds used in cattle production are safe and strictly regulated. However, consumers and public officials will continue to question the beef industry about its use of antibiotics, growth stimulants and other compounds. Pressure will be put on regulatory officials to more closely monitor the beef supply.

How should these issues be managed? Experience dictates that the best approach is to directly address consumer concern. The Beef Quality Assurance program does this by taking the offensive in developing the scientific data and training necessary to avoid residues. This will create a positive program that demonstrates how the industry can best continue with high standards to avoid residues. The industry wants a program that verifies that beef is produced "safe at the source." This is consistent with the USDA drive to safe-source production. Participation in the BQA program is one way to show our customers, whether they are cattle buyers or beef consumers, that producers take every possible step to raise beef responsibly. Furthermore, each aspect of a BQA program is part of good business management.

Other segments of the industry, from feedyards to foodservice, have already adopted similar management principles. These companies are looking to do business with cow-calf producers and stocker operators who utilize similar management philosophies to further help to ensure the safety of products leaving their operations, whether fed cattle or case-ready meat products. Adoption of BQA principles as a method of doing business helps position an operation to take advantage of these opportunities. The BQA program focuses on good business management practices and includes current FDA, EPA, and USDA regulations.

BQA can also help a producer become more competitive. Active participation in this program is beneficial as the world's image of beef originating from the United States is enhanced.
When you take part in the Arizona Beef Quality Assurance (AZBQA) program and use BQA production practices, you are creating opportunities for your business. Making a commitment to BQA isn't just the right thing to do for the consumer; it also can open doors to new marketing opportunities for participating producers.