July 11, 2016

(Dr. Dan) Hi there, folks. Welcome to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. I’m glad that you joined us today. We’re gonna have a special guest, Dr. Dee Griffin and DocTalk is on the road and Dr. Griffin is from the University of Nebraska and we’re gonna be talking about beef quality assurance. Stay tuned. Thanks for joining us.

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(Dr. Dan) Welcome to the show. (Male) Good to be here. (Dr. Dan) Well, folks, this is Dr. Dee Griffin and Dr. Griffin is a professor at the University of Nebraska. He’s a veterinarian and has been one of the people that has taught many, many veterinary students, practitioners and has spent a lot of time in veterinary practice in feedlots as well. (Male) Uh-huh. (Dr. Dan) And we’re gonna talk about beef quality assurance, which Dr. Griffin knows more than most anybody knows about beef quality assurance. (Male) Yeah, they once thought I was crazy. (Dr. Dan) Yeah, but now it’s the staple. It’s the cornerstone of beef production. It’s the cornerstone
of some of the things that we do in veterinary, most of the things that we do in veterinary practice, so let’s talk a little bit about the history of beef quality assurance. (Male) It takes us back about twenty-two or three years. Kind of got its start when the government decided that we had too many residues and when it showed up in the beef country, we thought they were picking on us, turns out they were picking on not us, but they wanted everybody. In 1980, the antibiotic residue in cattle was one point eight percent. In swine, it was over four and a half percent and over thirty percent of all the canned fruits and vegetables in the United States had
violative pesticide residues in 1980. I happened to be, at the time, working with Hitch Enterprises and when I first came to work for Mr. Ladd Hitch, they fed about three hundred thousand head of cattle a year and owned a couple of packing houses, pretty good size farmers as well. He had a couple of letters from the FDA over violative residues. He calls me in and he says, Thinman, which back in those days, I was. He says, We haven’t spent a hundred years building this operation as a family business to have our name blackened by two five hundred dollar calves. He says, I don’t know how this happened, but I don’t want it to ever happen again. (Dr. Dan) And that was over drug residue. (Male) Drug residue, penicillin and terramycin. It turns out, there was actually a third one that showed up about the same time with erythromycin, but I said I’d figure out what was going on and we were following, they had a phenomenal record system and all the residue, I mean, all the withdrawal times and labels were being followed to the letter of the law, had records in triplicate. It was and when I finally chased it down, we had animals that they’d been turned lose. They’d been treated. We followed the residue withdrawal times. They still had bodily residues. (Dr. Dan) So then we had to figure out a way to get them stopped and that started BQA. Let me take us to break. When we come back, let’s pick back up on this. (Male) Okay. It’s a great story. (Dr. Dan) Thanks for joining us. You’re watching DocTalk.

(Dr. Dan) Folks, welcome back to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Dee Griffin from the University of Nebraska. He’s a professor and he’s a feedlot veterinarian who helped invent what we call today the Beef Quality Assurance program and as we left, we were following everything to the letter. (Male) Well we were talking about having some animals that rang up a positive residue and we had followed what we thought were all the requirements. What we weren’t doing is all of us went into school because years ago, you know, if you wanted to use penicillin for instance, to get a proper dose, it required about five times the dose that was on the bottle. We adjusted that dose, but we didn’t adjust the withdrawal times and it wasn’t until that point that we figured out that when we use drugs in a manner other than their label, you change the withdrawal times and that was sort of the light come on and actually it wasn’t just an ah-ha moment. We actually did the work to figure out what the issues were. So we started trying to figure out how to hold animals longer or test and then we adopted a test that the USDA was using in packing houses for Europe, starting checking Europe and when the Feds showed up and said, We’ve got to do something, Mr. Hitch called me in and he says, I’m gonna volunteer, our organization because the Texas guys kind of wanted to kill somebody or they wondered, you know, what’s going on here? They were really suspicious and he said, I’ve just got to know, are we gonna be clean? And I said, If we change the way we handle the withdrawal times on animals that we use medications on other than they’re labeled, yeah we’re clean. And when do you sign a forty page memorandum of understanding and for two years, they went through all of our books, tore everything apart, everything was good and the Texans, Richard McDonald in particular took that forty page document, summarized it on a card you could put in your pocket with six bullet points and those six bullet points became the first guideline for Beef Quality Assurance. At the time, we called it Safety Assurance and everybody kind of thought about that and it sort of like maybe at least not safe and, so, quality kind of fell out on the table and that’s where it got its start and those six guidelines are still the six guidelines today. We’ve added a couple to that. We were focusing on residues from antibiotics, pesticides, that sort of stuff and somewhere in the middle of it, the light again came on and said, You know if you handle these animals as the precious creatures from God that they are, they won’t get sick. If they don’t get sick, they don’t have an injection site, they don’t have residue, so put animal care, animal husbandry first and a lot of this other stuff and that’s kind of what we did. (Dr. Dan) It’s a great story. It’s a great service to our industry and to our profession. Let’s take a break. We’ll come back, we’ll talk about how simple it is. (Male) Sure. (Dr. Dan)Thanks for watching DocTalk.

(Dr. Dan) Folks, welcome back to DocTalk. I’m here with Dr. Dee Griffin and Dr. Griffin is a professor at the University of Nebraska and a feedlot veterinarian and one of the things that you told me about the BQA is that it’s simpler than you think. (Male) One of the things that made me frustrate people is they think it ought to be hard and we should have a manual that’s very complete with all sorts of standard operating procedures and examples of forms they can use to keep track of stuff, but everything you really need to do, you can put a three by five card, put it in your pocket. It’s a little bit like the Bible, you know, it’s a big, old, thick book and you take out what you really need to do, put it in your pocket, live a pretty good life, Jesus would be proud of. But when you put that all together, we have a serious set of guidelines and the guidelines address care and husbandry, so if you take care of them as the precocious creatures they are and do all the management things and you’d have the vaccinations and the proper care for them, like it was yours. The chances of them getting sick are greatly reduced. They don’t get sick, you don’t have any injection sites issues. You don’t have any residue issues. There’s not a chance for a broken needle in the meat, really, I mean, so you start with
something that’s really, really simple and that eliminates the majority of the problem. When you start to think about the other problems, there are chemical, physical and microbiologic. Those are the targets in food safety around the world, chemical, would get with residues, antibiotics. If we use something to control parasites or flies and lice, you know, we don’t want anything in that product. We want it to be really simple, a matter of following the guidelines that EPA, you know, sets out for the use of that or FDA sets out for the use of the young guy, the USDA sets out for use of vaccines, really straight forward and you don’t have a chemical issue and they give us plenty of latitude to make adjustments for the best needs of the calf. Health and wellbeing can never be jeopardized based on some kind of government regulations, but neither should the safety of the food and then we know how to do that. Then comes physical, so things like a broken needle, you know, nobody really wants that, you might think an eighteen gauge needle would be like a toothpick in your roast would be a value added thing, but most people don’t see it that way, but if you buy good needles, if you ever bend or damage a needle, you change and understanding how that kind of stuff happens. One of the things we say in quality assurance is there are no most valuable players, so everybody’s in on this deal and one of the things that we learned early on is that if you get really good restraint, they don’t wiggle, they won’t bend a needle and the last one is microbiologic. We do the best we can. You feed with clean feeds. You don’t cross contaminate. You make sure the nutritionist doesn’t step in the bunk as he’s touring on into the pen, so having come here in my cow’s pen, you know, you’ve got to keep the nutritionist kind of in line. (Dr. Dan) Let’s take a break and let’s come back and let’s talk more about BQA, keeping it simple.

(Dr. Dan) Folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Dee Griffin. He is from the University of Nebraska. He’s a veterinarian and professor and we’re talking about the Beef Quality Assurance program. We’ve talked about the history. We’ve talked about its simplicity, keep it simple and move it forward. (Male) Yeah, just to review about the simple issue, our guidelines talk about proper animal husbandry, feed them good feed, you know, check your feed, make sure it’s not toxic feed. God didn’t make corn pink, blue or green, you know, it ought to be yellow corn, that kind of stuff, pretty straight forward. If you use products, use them as the government asks you to use them. I mean they’ve been tested, researched, the labels, regardless of what most of us think, they’re there for a reason. We need to read them. (Dr. Dan) Right. (Male) Write down what you do and then check what you wrote down before you sell it. Its just that simple. You know caring for them as precious creatures, feed them good stuff, use the products according to their labels, write it down and check what you wrote. I mean that fits on a simple card. (Dr. Dan) Yep. (Male) The neat thing about where we’re headed when I think about where we’ve come from and where we’re headed is because this has been one of those no most valuable player issues where everybody gets involved, I mean, everybody, not just the vets, but it’s the nutritionist and the veterinarians and the suppliers and the family members of the operation, everybody contributes and when you think about putting all this together, you think about where it’s going, we’re now getting consumers involved, which is really cool because consumers are looking at, we want to know how our food is raised and we’re kind of going, So what do you think? And you’re kind of thinking as an outside eye, well can you do this a little better and over time we listen to anybody, frequently we come up with things that we just have forgotten to look at or we didn’t see what they saw, so this is the last step in which we have consumer input into what we’re doing, we’ll likely not only improve the life of our cattle, improve the quality of our product, but I have a saying in my office, if you abuse a cow in any fashion, I don’t care how, physically, mentally, physiologically, nutritionally, environmentally, I don’t care how you do it, she takes it out of our pocketbook and as the evil capitalist that many people think we are, it is in our own best interests to do everything as best we possibly can. (Dr. Dan) Thank you. Thanks for spending time with us today. Folks, thanks for watching DocTalk. If you want to know more about the show or see archived episodes, you can see us on the web at www.doctalktv.com. Remember to always work with your local practitioner. We appreciate you watching today. Appreciate Dr. Griffin joining us today. Hoped you learned a lot about Beef Quality Assurance. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson from Kansas State University and I’ll see you down the road.

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