Creating safe, healthy food from the ground up is something that we take very seriously at Nebraska Star Beef. Many people believe that food safety starts at the packer or butcher shop, but in reality, food safety starts the moment the livestock is born.
Livestock has been one of the most common sources of food since man evolved from a hunter/gatherer society to an agrarian society. Since then, animals have been kept in closer proximity to one another than they were prior to their domestication. This made it easier for man to keep them safe from predators, etc. Over time, the situation continued to evolve and more and more animals were kept in closer and closer proximity to one another. By the early 1900’s there was a meat shortage in America that resulted in protests and boycotts. The public reaction resulted in the government beginning to research how to improve the stability of food sources and increase production. When too many animals were in one place at one time and disease occurred, it spread quickly among the animals. Around 1950 the practice of adding antibiotic to animal feed to help improve animal health. This helped to stabilize the food supply began to be widely implemented by many livestock producers. Producers also found that it significantly increased the rate of gain. It is also interesting to note that global agricultural production had to feed a world population of only 1 billion in 1800 versus having to feed 6.5 billion people by the early 2000’s. Efficiency of production remains at the top of the priority list so that people don’t starve to death as population booms.
The FDA’s “Veterinary Feed Directive” became the law on January 1, 2017. It states that medically important antimicrobials (antibiotics) may not be used for growth promotion or to increase feed efficiency and may only be used with direction and oversight of a veterinarian. Antibiotics can be a very effective treatment for a variety of illnesses, but are better implemented strategically or their overall efficacy can be reduced as microbes become more resistant to the antibiotics.
At Nebraska Star Beef, we’ve raised our “Natural” cattle without the use of any antibiotics or growth hormones or promotants for nearly 20 years. To improve our herd health, the first thing we did was give our animals more area to move in the pens, this helps them stay healthier naturally and makes it much easier for us to identify ill animals. Additionally, we make sure they have the highest quality feed. We employ highly trained cowboys who work directly with veterinarians to identify, isolate and properly treat any animals that show signs of illness before they have the opportunity to infect the rest of the herd.
We work closely with Diamond V Mills, Inc to implement their all natural products that help to maximize our herd health. Among Diamond V products, they produce a yeast based product called NaturSafe which we use in conjunction with our locally grown all vegetarian feed. A simple analogy would be adding Brewer’s Yeast to ones diet to help with digestion and immune system support and promote overall health. We have also found that raising beef this way increases the quality of our beef on average of one USDA grade and a significant number of the cattle we harvest grade USDA Prime.
Nebraska Star Beef’s very committed, progressive approach to animal health and well-being are among the many things that sets Nebraska Star Beef apart from the rest of the beef producers in America. We are very passionate about raising the best cattle in the business and that can only be achieved by being the best at every step of the process. Animal health and genetics are the foundation of beef quality.
Once the animals have been harvested the carcasses are treated with a lactic acid dilution, per USDA Standard, to help eliminate any surface bacteria that may have been present after slaughter. The carcasses are then graded by the USDA and aged in a temperature and humidity controlled environment for up to two weeks. They are then broke per USDA standard in a USDA inspected facility and the primals are wet aged in a temperature & humidity controlled for another 35 days. After the aging process the primals are cut into steaks, packed into special heavy cryo-vac packaging then flash frozen in a blast freezer.
Steaks remain frozen until they are delivered to the end consumer. Freezing our products ONCE and freezing them FAST is a critical step to maintaining quality. We subscribe to the Clarence Birdseye philosophy on frozen foods as the absolute best way to maintain the highest level of safety, quality and consistency from steak to steak.
On internet retail orders, we keep the steaks in a deep frozen state by using a liberal amount of dry ice packed with the steaks inside a special “Thermolast” bag, which is then packed and shipped in a heavy styrofoam cooler. This keeps the steaks frozen until they arrive at the doorstep. We deliver our frozen products to our restaurant customers in a frozen delivery van.