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Events

Beef seminar to provide food writers with new insights

September 27, 2012

A taste test of grilled beef will be center-of-the-plate during a lunch for invited chefs, dietitians and food editors at a first-time event called "Beef + Transparency = Trust" organized by Colorado State University meat scientists on Oct. 3.

Beef + Transparency = Trust, hosted by the CSU Department of Animal Sciences, will provide information about modern beef production to food writers, chefs and dietitians.The daylong seminar at the Renaissance Hotel Denver will address questions regarding beef production, sustainability concerns and humane-handling standards – especially as the issues relate to beef quality and consumer expectations.

Comparing beef pairings

An event highlight will be lunchtime beef pairings that encourage attendees to compare the experience of eating grilled American-style Kobe beef alongside USDA prime steak; wet-aged compared to dry-aged Certified Angus Beef; and New York strip steak graded USDA choice alongside steak from certified organic, grass-fed beef.

During the lunch, Dale Woerner, an assistant professor with CSU’s Center for Meat Safety and Quality, will answer questions and provide insights about connections between contemporary beef-production practices and dining experiences.

“We want any and all questions,” said Woerner, who is well-versed in meats and consumer research. “Then we hope people will pick out those ‘a-ha’ moments and share them with their readers, listeners, customers and clients.”

Addressing consumer concern

Beef + Transparency = Trust is a first-time event hosted by CSU’s Department of Animal Sciences and sponsored by the Colorado Beef Council, with support from the Colorado Dietetic Association and Colorado Chefs Association.

At its core, the seminar will address a rise in consumer concern about the sources of their food. The event is designed to promote dynamic discussion and new, ground-level understandings about U.S. beef production among chefs, dietitians and food writers who influence consumer choices.

Temple Grandin, a world-renowned CSU expert in animal behavior and humane handling, will discuss welfare issues in animal agriculture. <em>Photo by Rosalie Winard.</em>Among the guest speakers will be:

  • Temple Grandin, professor in the CSU Department of Animal Sciences and a world-renowned expert in livestock behavior, humane-handling practices and animal-welfare auditing systems. She has helped revolutionize livestock care in animal agriculture.
  • Dr. Douglas L. Weed, a physician epidemiologist who worked for 25 years in epidemiological research and training at the National Cancer Institute. His expertise in scientific research methods helps assess the validity of claims about disease causation.
  • Anne Burkholder, a former city dweller and Dartmouth College graduate who now runs a farm and cattle feedyard with her family in Nebraska. She writes the blog “Feedyard Foodie,” which aims to tell “the real story of beef, written by someone who actually gets their hands dirty.”

These and other speakers will offer new insights about beef production in a proactive effort to reach beef consumers, said Travis Hoffman, an event organizer and a faculty member in the CSU Department of Animal Sciences.

Industry transparency critical

Transparency in the beef industry – from farm to fork – is critical to achieving improved consumer understanding and trust, he said.

“When consumers consider a steak or a hamburger, most don’t understand what goes into the previous 18 months because the consuming public is becoming further removed from agriculture,” Hoffman said. “This seminar will help define modern beef production, and how farmers and ranchers really produce beef.”

Much of the discussion will focus on animal care and well-being, and humane handling practices that are standard in the beef industry.

“Animal well-being is of critical importance because it’s a pillar of the code of ethics of the American rancher,” Hoffman explained. “People are in agriculture because they care for animals and are stewards of the land.”