It would seem that the whole business of certified Angus is a marketing strategy, to put a brand identification on what otherwise would be just another piece of meat. And it escalates — today in the supermarket I saw "Certified Hereford Beef." This is what one industry source says about Angus — it sounds like a focus on the bottom line:
"Angus beef hardly needs an introduction; it is renowned for its fine marbling texture and superlative eating qualities. The Angus given a minimal amount of days on feed will manage to repeatedly turn out Prime and Choice grade meats. The Certified Angus Beef program was the first of its class. It provides Angus beef producers an increase in the marketability of their stock directly leading to higher premiums. For the consumer, it provides a consistent eating experience and the assurance of knowing what one is purchasing. In order to qualify under the phenotype requirements of the CAB programs, the cattle must exhibit at least 51% black coloration as well as the absence of non-angus traits (Brahman humps, dairy cattle conformation). The surge in the CAB program has led to a wide-reaching escalation of breeding black into cattle stock, most often using Angus bulls."
And getting certified as Angus beef does not mean a single breed (there are several as well as crossbreeds) or even that close to purebred:
"Cattle eligible for Angus influence beef programs based on genotype must have positive identification (ear tags, tattoos, brands, etc.) and be traceable back to provable (e.g.; registration papers) Angus parentage. Qualifying cattle must be traceable to one registered parent or two registered grandparents. Programs which claim a specified percentage of Angus heritage must use this method.
Cattle eligible for certification in Angus influence beef programs based on phenotype (appearance) must be predominately (51 percent) solid black. Blue roan, gray, etc., are not considered to be black or a percentage of black. Such variations can qualify only when it occupies 49 percent, or less, of the body area with the remaining 51 percent, or greater, being solid black. Angus influence cattle may be either horned or polled. Carcasses of certified live animals which display certain non-Angus characteristics (e.g.; dairy conformation, Brahman humps) shall be excluded as specified in the carcass specifications for approved programs."
This is not the whole story. Black Angus now come in designer sizes. "LowLine" (tm?) Black Angus are some of our smallest cattle, and some of the modern extreme types are closing in on the size of Holsteins.
The American Angus Assn (of which I am an inactive life member) is, perhaps, the best run pure breed association ever. Starting with a great product, and with better marketing, they have taken the Black Angus from an "also ran" to the most important beef breed in the USA.
The Hereford and Shorthorn associations represent good cattle, but for whatever reason the Angus guys have left them in the dust. The CAB program is just one of the innovations that have made Angus more profitable for farmers.
Is CAB worth the extra money? Yes. Because it is better? I don’t know. It is worth more because shoppers are willing to pay more.
Just my opinion.
Additionally, all the beef must be personally certified by Col. Angus himself.
A co-worker and his father raise beef and I buy a quarter from him every year. I asked him once and he said it’s a Red Angus/Hereford cross; while I’m no beef connoisseur I do know it tastes good to me…
Angus are moderate-sized, muscular animals, renowned as a carcass breed. They are used widely in crossbreeding to improve carcase quality and milking ability. Angus have a propensity to marble, and to have white fat and bright-red lean meat. A poll breed, they are also used as a genetic dehorner. They are solid black in color but a small amount of white is permitted on the underline, behind the navel scar.
From the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries/Agriculture:
MH you are so right. I went back and re read my source and it says exhibits angus like characteristics and 51% black coloration. Yet in the very next paragraph it speaks of Prime beef being all angus. It must have been only that line that stuck in my brain. Sorry for the confusion.
So what the heck is anugs like characteristics?
I still say it’s a gimmick. And they ain’t giving everyone the meat they are expecting.
Sound like one of those $25 Mexican Rolex watches.
QUOTE: "-No neck hump exceeding 2 inches.", etc.
Sounds like a bunch of bull hockey to me. Give me a break!
Marketing gone mad! [:(!]
Being that "Certified Angus Beef" is a brand name and a registered trademark (and we have been told about these), I would think that standard for Certified Angus Beef� are set by the CAB people and not the USDA. A quick look at their website explains the standards:
What is Certified Angus Beef � (CAB) product?
The Certified Angus Beef � brand is reserved for Angus beef that, after meeting the live specification of being at least 51% black-hided or AngusSource� enrolled, is verified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as meeting the ten CAB carcass specifications:
-Modest or higher marbling
-Medium or fine marbling texture
-"A" maturity for each, lean and skeletal characteristics
-10 to 16 square inch ribeye area
-Less than 1,000 pound hot carcass weight
-Less than 1 inch fat thickness
-Superior muscling (eliminates dairy influence)
-Practically free of capillary rupture
-No dark cutters
-No neck hump exceeding 2 inches
Sorry BhamBabe, but it doesn’t have to be from angus cattle to be Certified Angus Beef. According to the department of agriculture to be eligible for so-called angus influence programs qualifiying cattle must be traceable to one registered angus parent or two registered grandparents. But, Certified Angus Beef is nothing more than an industry designation that involves standards for marbling, tenderness, age and color. For beef to qualify for Certified Angust Beef labeling there is absolutely no requirement that the beef actually come from the Angus breed. All that is required is for the cattle to have a black face and for the coat of the cattle to be at least 51 percent black, regardless of the breed.
Angus cattle are said to have the perfect amount of marbling, the most tender, the cream of the crop. BUT, the only beef that is allowed to be called CERTIFIED angus beef is that which the USDA says is certified.
There are different levels of cuts.
Prime, highest in fat
Select, the leanest
So while they are playing a gimmick and making everything think they are getting this high priced, tender, best of the best beef, it’s just that, a gimmick. They are prolly giving everyone a commercial grade cut, ground. Which makes it no better than meat from my old Hereford. To put it in perspective, only 3% of angus beef is USDA Certified Prime.
This is what I think Mickey D’s is doing…not other places. I know I’ve had a Certified aged Angus beef steak and it was by and large very good. And very pricey!
*Edited to remove the wrong information. Read the following posts.
What’s with all this Angus beef? I thought it used to be some sort of prime beef – now I see it at Burger King, in my local deli for chopped meat, etc. Has it changed? Is it as "special" as it used to be? What is it anyway????
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