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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)?

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a program developed to ensure that beef and dairy cattle are produced and managed in a manner that will result in a safe and wholesome beef product for the consumer. This is the definition and the goal of BQA. Specifically, BQA is designed to enhance carcass quality by preventing residues, pathogen contamination and carcass defects such as injection site blemishes and bruises. The Mid-Atlantic BQA Certification Program is based on recommended national guidelines and scientific research. This program enables beef and dairy producers to enhance their product, maximize marketability, and strengthen consumer confidence.

Is BQA Necessary?

Concern over food wholesomeness and safety is an important consumer issue. It is of utmost importance that the public knows beef is a safe product. BQA is a good business practice, which can identify potential problem areas to avoid potential product defects. A BQA program will help secure consumer confidence for expanding domestic and export markets. All sectors of the industry from seedstock, cow-calf and dairy producers, to stocker operators, backgrounders and cattle feeders must take responsibility for the production of a safe food product through proper animal care, handling, and management practices. The level of consumer confidence in beef significantly affects consumer eating habits and impacts the future of our industry. Consumer confidence is essential if we are to steak our claim in the meat case. Beyond safety, the economic importance of BQA can be seen when analyzing the top quality challenges within the beef industry. These quality challenges include: injection site blemishes, rib brands, excessive external fat, excessive seam fat, inadequate muscling, dark cutters, inconsistent size of meat cuts, and non-uniform cattle. All meat industries face similar concerns. By following BQA guidelines and management practices, beef producers increase the value of their product in the eyes of consumers, while enhancing their stewardship of natural and financial resources. Members of each industry sector should assume responsibility for the role they play in delivering a quality beef product to their respective markets. Will Rogers once said, The world is run by those who show up.  It is time for all of us to show up. By working together toward continued improvement of our product and our responsiveness to consumers -- we all benefit.

What is the purpose of BQA?

  1. Set production standards in your operation that can be met or exceeded.
  2. Establish systems for data retention and record keeping, which will allow validation of management activities and fulfill program goals.
  3. Provide hands-on training and education for participants to meet or exceed the guidelines of the BQA program and to realize the benefits of such programs.
  4. Provide technical assistance through: state cattlemen's associations, BQA certified veterinarians, and BQA certified university extension staff. These individuals will be available for on-site assistance if desired.