PRODUCTION & FOOD SAFETY
Harris Ranch is committed to food safety. As a branded beef company, we build quality and safety into our beef products. The core of our food safety program is our unique, fully integrated production system. We control every aspect of beef production, from cattle procurement to feeding, processing to distribution. All cattle are fed at one facility. All cattle are processed in one facility. The net result… exceptional quality and safety built into Harris Ranch beef products, from start to finish!
Cattle Procurement – through our Partnership for Quality and other cattle procurement programs, we are able to source-verify an increasing number of cattle every year. These cattle are raised by western ranch families who use specific genetics and follow prescribed best management and animal health practices.
Feeding Practices – cattle (typically 16 – 24 mo. of age at processing) are fed a diet consisting primarily of Midwestern corn and other locally grown feeds. Our cattle rations have never contained animal proteins, and they never will. Finally, we regularly test incoming feedstuffs for unwanted pesticide residues.
No animal proteins and no antibiotics are ever fed to our cattle. Antibiotics are used only in a therapeutic manner to treat cattle that require medical attention. We believe it’s inhumane to not treat an animal that becomes ill. Just like caregivers with children who become sick and need medicine, we administer antibiotics to sick cattle to make them well again. If antibiotics are administered, withdrawal periods are strictly followed to make sure no antibiotic residues are present in the animal at the time of harvest.
Animal Health – cattle are evaluated every day for health status. Those requiring treatment are moved to hospital pens, individually identified, then managed with strict adherence to health product withdrawal periods.
Commodity Transport – using our own freight company allows us complete control of all commodities (feedstuffs and live cattle) that move to and from the feeding facility. As such, there is no chance for cross-contamination of prohibited feedstuffs to occur.
Truck Sanitation – all trucks and trailers are cleaned in a state-of-the-art truck washing facility before each load of cattle is transported to the processing facility. This helps avoid any possibility of cross contamination.
Cattle Washed – upon arrival at the processing facility cattle are washed to remove physical material (dust/manure) from the hide prior to entry into the processing area.
Intervention Strategies – are employed in our processing facility, utilizing the most advanced food safety technologies. During the harvesting phase of production, the use of steam vacuums, a thermal pasteurization cabinet, and carcass rinses with organic (lactic) acid provide an additive role in assuring safe and wholesome beef products. We even take the extra step to randomly test beef carcasses to make sure no antibiotic residues are present.
Ground Beef Sampling and Testing – Harris Ranch takes an aggressive approach when it comes to ground beef sampling and testing. We test all raw materials prior to grinding for pathogens and all raw materials are kept on hold under our control until negative lab results are received. Finished ground beef products are similarly tested and no product is ever shipped to customers until a second round of negative lab results are received.
Cold Chain Management is a core intervention in the prevention of microbial growth. The use of a spray chill system and refrigerated air quickly reduces carcass temperature. Temperature control and monitoring continues throughout the production system, including fabrication, storage, and shipping.
Quality Assurance – is provided by our highly trained Quality Assurance staff that oversees all aspects of beef processing. They provide Harris Ranch with a food safety track record second to none.
Third-Party Auditors – have repeatedly given Harris Ranch exceptional marks for food safety. We have been recognized by major Quick Service Restaurants as an industry leader for low microbial counts of raw materials. The USDA’s testing program regularly confirms these low microbial counts. Our strict food safety standards recently earned Harris Ranch an AA rating by the internationally recognized British Retail Consortium (BRC), one of the most stringent third party audits in the world.
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Harris Ranch Beef Company is confident that the intervention strategies we employ – from live animal production to final beef processing – are cutting edge technologies and strategies necessary to assure the safety and wholesomeness of our beef products. As an industry leader, we are proud of our food safety record, but are constantly striving to identify and implement best management practices and technologies that will allow us to remain a leader in the food safety arena.
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