Friday, December 23, 2011

Terminology:  "Source-Verified"


The term "source verified" has a precise and important meaning in the beef cattle industry. The term means that the farm(s) and/or ranch(es) where the cattle were raised have been tracked and verified by an independent organization.

This permits cattle purchasers to know the exact places where the cattle have been.


The term "source 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 that cannot be traced back to the farm(s) and ranch(es) where they were raised.


There are several similar terms that are used in the industry that have similar but very different meanings. These include the following:
  • Age Verified
  • Traceable
  • Trackback
  • Brand
  • Vintage
  • 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 Vintage 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 age at slaughter, the processing plant, the beef's USDA Grade, its marbling score, etc.

It is important to remember that source verification concerns only one factor: the farm(s) and ranch(es) where the cattle were raised. Similarly, age verification concerns only one factor: the age of the cattle at slaughter.

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