The term "age verified" has a precise and important meaning in the beef cattle industry. The term means that the age of the cattle has been tracked and verified.
This permits cattle purchasers to know the exact age of the cattle and beef purchasers to know the exact age when the cattle was processed.
IMPORTANCE OF AGE VERIFICATION
The term "age verified" became important in recent years, primarily because of the 1990's outbreak of "mad cow disease" (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE). BSE is a cattle disease that affects only older cattle and is a major health risk for humans who eat infected meat.
To eliminate the human risk of BSE, several countries adopted regulations to prohibit trade in cattle older than 20 months and to require that all cattle be age verified.
There are several similar terms that are used in the industry that have similar but very different meanings. These include the following:
- Source Verified
- Provenance Verified or Proven
Some of these terms, like Source Verified, Traceable and Trackback, mean only that the beef can be traced back to each farm and processor where the cattle was raised and the beef processed.
Other terms, like Vintance and Provenance Verified, mean that the beef is sold with information about the ranch/farm(s) where the cattle was born and raised (including the ranch's terrain and weather), the cattle breed, sex (e.g. steer or heifer), diet, health and care (including medications, vaccines and antibiotics), the processing plant, the beef's USDA Grade, its marbling score, etc.
It is important to remember that age verification concerns only one factor: the age of the animal. Similarly, source verification concerns only one factor: where the animal and meat were raised and processed.
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