- Angus is a breed of black polled (hornless) beef cattle, originated in Scotland and introduced in 1873 to the United States, where they have become well established. Often called Black Angus or Aberdeen Angus cattle, they have low, compact bodies and are noted for the fine quality of their flesh. As a breed, they lack the size of Shorthorn and Hereford cattle. In recent years, the Red Angus breed of cattle has been derived from red cattle born in registered black herds.
The term "aging" simply means the length of time beef is stored under controlled conditions of temperature and humidity before being processed into retail cuts. Cleaver’s beef is aged 14 – 21 days prior to order preparations.
Aging allows naturally occurring enzymes within the meat to slowly break down some of the connective tissues that contribute to toughness.
Aging beef is proven to significantly increase tenderness. Aging times vary from 3 - 21 days from the date of production, depending on the product's specifications. After 28 days the natural enzyme action is completed.
Greater moisture losses occur with dry aging resulting in higher yield losses (shrink). Both methods are proven to have the same effect on tenderness.
The Food Safety Enhancement Program (FSEP) is the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) approach to encourage and support the development, implementation and maintenance of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems in all federally registered establishments of the meat, dairy, honey, maple syrup, processed fruit and vegetable, shell egg, processed egg and poultry hatchery sectors.
The core of FSEP is the internationally recognized HACCP system, a straightforward yet powerful set of principles for controlling food safety. Under HACCP, processors implement process controls throughout production.
ORGANIC vs. CONVENTIONAL FARMING
Cleaver wants to become your own personal butcher providing you with the highest quality and freshest naturally raised meat and poultry available. I feel that an integral part of doing so is by being informative. Since there is no such thing as an “organic cow” or “organic chicken”, there is no point for me to market “organic” as a way of inflating the price of my naturally raised meat & poultry. As outlined in Inspections & Grading, I offer you the equivalent grading of naturally raised Canadian & U.S. Beef for 2 (two) simple reasons. The fields in which the cattle grazes are not subjected to applications of chemical fertilizers or crop protection products however, cattle does not graze 12 months of the year in Canada because we have winters, so to provide you with the highest quality of naturally raised beef, I turn to Canadian beef in the summer and Nebraska & Texas in the winter. It is the only way that I can ensure the quality I have to offer. Now that’s “organic” and without the price. Taste the difference!
Beef producers use a variety of production approaches to provide consumers
with the beef they prefer. One of these approaches is organic agriculture.
• Canadian beef is safe and nutritious, whether it is produced organically or
• Protection of the environment is a key focus for all beef production systems.
To meet consumer preferences, Canadian beef is produced both organically and conventionally. While there are several differences in the way organic beef is produced, the beef produced by both organic and conventional producers is high quality, nutritious and safe. Organic beef production must meet requirements set out in the National Standard for Organic Agriculture.
Conventional and organic beef productions have strong similarities. Regardless of the production method, (conventional or organic method) beef processing is federally regulated
As well as inspected by federal, provincial or municipal governments.
Both conventional and organic methods of farming provide consumers with high quality
beef. Laboratory testing has not found any substantial nutritional difference between
organically and conventionally produced food products.
While organic food is marketed as pure and healthy, conventionally produced foods are equally safe and nutritious because all beef is subject to the same rules of inspection, regulations and guidelines.
The Organic Approach
Overall, organic beef production is very similar to conventional beef production. There
are differences, however? Organic certification requires complete segregation from
conventionally managed farms to uphold the integrity of organic production
Both conventional and organic production methods are required to take into account the
physiological and behavioral welfare of livestock. On both kinds of farms, cattle are
allowed free movement as well as exposure to fresh air and natural daylight. They also
have regular access to fresh water and high quality feedstuffs. Appropriate bedding and
resting areas must also be provided.
Both methods of production require that the diet being fed to cattle be nutritionally
balanced and of high quality to meet the nutritional requirements of the animal. However,
organic livestock operations are designed to receive 100 per cent of their feedstuffs from
Conventional producers are permitted to feed genetically modified crops that have been
approved by the federal government for feeding to livestock. Organic production does not
permit this type of feed.
In organic production, vitamins, trace elements and pure amino acids may be used at
the discretion of the certification body.
Cattle destined for beef production in an organic operation must be born and raised in an
organic production unit. Breeding livestock may be obtained from a non-organic operation
but cannot exceed 10% of the total number of breeding livestock. In addition, any breeding
livestock coming from non-organic sources cannot be labeled or marketed as organic and
cannot be sold as organic breeding stock unless held for more than 12 months.
In both organic and conventional methods of producing beef, the use of biological,
cultural and physical treatments may be used for treating diseases and health problems. In
an organic production facility, vaccination and the therapeutic use of veterinary drugs is
restricted. Vaccines are permitted where the targeted diseases are communicable to
livestock and cannot be treated by other means. Organic producers may use antibiotics to
treat ill animals. If an animal is treated with antibiotics for an illness, beef from this animal
may still be considered “organic beef”. However, no products from the livestock will be
labelled or marketed as certified organic, until at least double the permitted federal
withdrawal period allowed for the treatment has been exceeded for the animal.
Conventional beef production permits the use of growth hormones and veterinary
products that have been approved for that use by Health Canada, the same agency that
approves medicines for humans. In organic production, the use of growth hormones is not
In both organic and conventional beef operations, it is recommended that breeds be
selected for their suitability to their environment. The use of traditional mating is standard in
both types of operations, although artificial insemination is permitted. Embryo transfer
techniques, techniques involving genetically modified organisms (GMO) and reproductive
hormones to trigger or synchronize estrus are not permitted in organic production.
However, these methods are not commonly practiced in conventional beef production
either. There are no genetically modified cattle in the Canadian beef herd.
THE BEEF PRODUCTION CYCLE
The cow-calf farm
Whatever the production method, beef production is a cycle that starts with the cow-calf
In a certified organic operation, calves must be certified as originating from organically
raised stock. Aside from this requirement, however, the cow-calf phase is virtually identical
in both organic and conventional production. In the cow-calf phase, cows are selected for
their mothering ability, beef quality traits and other desirable traits.
Most calving takes place outdoors and the cows then graze on open pasture and the
calves nurse until they reach a weight of approximately 500 to 600 pounds. At this stage,
calves are weaned from their mothers.
In the organic operation, the pasture must be certified organic, that is, the fields must
not be subjected to applications of chemical fertilizers or crop protection products.
However, fertilizers and crop protection products are rarely used on pasture or forages
even in conventional production.
The Backgrounding Phase
After weaning, calves are over-wintered on hay-based diets until their weight increases
to about 900 pounds. This process is known as backgrounding and is common to both
conventional and organic production. During this phase, beef producers take care to
provide feeding and bedding areas that are sheltered from harsh weather and that keep
cattle comfortable and protected.
In a conventional operation, calves are vaccinated against disease and may be
provided mineral supplements to maintain health. Organic beef may or may not be not
vaccinated and all feed rations must be organically grown.
The Feedlot Operation
The only intensive part of beef production takes place during the 120 days prior to
slaughter. Most conventionally produced cattle are transferred to a feedlot where they are
fed grain-based diets. These grain rations help produce consistent, high-quality beef.
In an organic system, cattle may also be fed grain rations (although the grains must be
certified organic). Most often, cattle in the organic system will remain on the same farm
during this stage.
Organic Labelling and Certification
In 1999, the Standards Council of Canada ratified the National Standard for Organic
Agriculture. This standard sets out minimum conditions for the production, processing,
packaging, and distribution of organic food products, including beef. The standard sets out
criteria for the complete food cycle, from the seeding of crops to the final sale to the
In order for beef to be labelled as organic, it must meet all terms of the National
Standard, as set out in Canada’s Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising, enforced by
the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
To provide additional assurance that organic beef is produced and marketed according
to the standard, producers may have their farm operations certified by an accredited
certifying body. Canada has approximately 46 such bodies. To become accredited, the
certifying body must meet the ISO guidelines set out by the Standard Council of Canada.
For example, they must inspect the farm and related facilities to ensure the National
Standard is being met.
Under federal labeling regulations, beef that is produced under the supervision of an
accredited certifying body will be labeled with the name or number of the independent
certifying body that carried out the inspections.