How We Ensure Safety

Harris Ranch Beef Company maintains the highest standards for food safety and quality assurance. The core of our food safety program is our functionally integrated production system.

Cattle are:

  • Procured through long-standing cow-calf producer relationships
  • Fed and finished on a high-quality, grain-based ration
  • Harvested in a single, company-owned facility

Our hands-on method assures we maintain consistent quality control standards and address a number of consumer concerns.

Antibiotic Use

Harris Ranch believes protecting human health is an absolute priority.

We also have an obligation to keep the animals that provide meat for us healthy and treat them when they become sick.

Antibiotics serve an important role in veterinary medicine, and must be used carefully to ensure continued effectiveness.

Several years ago, Harris Ranch discontinued feeding Tylan—a product in the same class of antibiotics used in human medicine. Today, antibiotics are used in a therapeutic manner under veterinarian oversight to treat cattle that require medical attention.

We believe it is 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.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved all antibiotics prescribed by our veterinarian for use in beef cattle. Decades of research have shown these products to be safe to use in food animal production.

Whenever antibiotics are administered, Harris Ranch strictly follows withdrawal periods—or the time it takes for a drug to be naturally eliminated from the animal’s system—to ensure no measurable amount of antibiotics that could harm human health are present in the animal at the time of harvest.

We conduct random in-house tests to make sure no antibiotic residues are present in finished meat products. The frequency of our testing exceeds that which is conducted by the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service.

To learn more about this important animal welfare policy, please watch our antibiotics video.

Download our commitment to responsible antibiotic use.

Hormone Use

Naturally occurring hormones, such as estrogen, and other growth promotants are commonly given in small doses to cattle to promote growth of muscle and reduce fat deposits.

Proven safe by scientists all over the world, including the World Health Organization/ Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO), these hormones have been in use in conventional livestock production for more than 50 years.

Harris Ranch does not always know whether a growth promotant was administered at the ranch where the cattle were raised. Therefore, we do not make a “no hormone” claim. However, at the point of consumption there is virtually no difference in the hormonal content of beef from implanted versus non-implanted cattle.

Millions of women routinely take birth control pills with no verified increase in cancer risk. Those same women would have to eat 18,431 servings of 3 oz. of beef from implanted cattle to ingest the same amount of estrogen from one pill.

Estrogen Statistics

The human body naturally produces estrogen at levels that far exceed levels found in many foods we consume daily, including beef.

Nanograms of estrogen produced daily by humans:

Adult Male – 136,000.0 ng

Non-pregnant Female – 480,000.0 ng

Pregnant Female – 20,000,000.0 ng

Many foods we eat regularly contain much more estrogen than beef.

Nanograms of estrogen present in food products:

Non-implanted Steer – 1.3 ng

Implanted Steer – 1.9 ng

Milk – 11.0 ng

Potatoes – 225.0 ng

Peas – 340.0 ng

Ice Cream – 520.0 ng

Cabbage – 2,000.0 ng

Wheat Germ – 3,400.0 ng

Soybean Oil – 1,680,000.0 ng

Nanogram (ng) = one billionth of a gram
Sources: Food and Drug Administration; Ho­man and Evers; Scanga et al.; FSIS-USDA; Dr. Harlan Ritchie, Michigan State University; NCBA

Closely monitored and regulated, hormone use in beef production is part of a broader commitment to sustainable agricultural practices.

With hormone use, more beef can be produced from fewer cattle, which reduces the land required to produce a pound of beef by 67%.

Relax and enjoy your favorite cut of Harris Ranch beef without concern of ingesting excessive amounts of hormones. Our beef is a nutrient-dense food that’s as pure and great tasting as nature intended.

Ground Beef Safety

Harris Ranch takes an aggressive approach to ensure ground beef safety and maximum freshness.

Safety measures include:

  • Sourcing ground beef raw materials directly from our fabrication room each day
  • Testing single bin sub lots consisting of up to 2,500 lbs. of raw material
  • Keeping raw material on hold prior to grinding until negative lab results are received

Contaminate Control Measures

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems

The Harris Ranch HACCP intervention program employs the use of multiple-hurdles technologies at our production and processing levels to control contaminants and pathogenic microorganisms.

Cattle Wash

Upon arrival at the processing facility, cattle are washed to remove dust, manure and other material from their hides prior to entry into the processing area.

Commodity Transport

Using our own freight company allows Harris Ranch full control of all commodities (feedstuffs and live cattle) that move to and from our 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.

Intervention Strategies

Our processing facility utilizes the most advanced food safety technologies to employ various intervention strategies.

Strategies ensuring safe and wholesome beef products include:

  • Thermal pasteurization cabinet
  • Carcass rinses with organic lactic acid
  • Cold Chain Management

Cold Chain Management

Harris Ranch uses a spray chill system and refrigerated air to quickly reduce carcass temperature. This core intervention strategy helps prevent microbial growth.

Temperature control and monitoring continues throughout the production system, including fabrication, storage, and shipping.

From live animal production to final beef processing, Harris Ranch utilizes cutting-edge technologies and proven strategies to assure the safety and wholesomeness of our beef products.

Quality Assurance

Since introducing our branded beef program in 1982, Harris Ranch has worked hard to establish name-recognition for the finest beef available. Our name is so important to us we back it up with a satisfaction guarantee.

Our simple, cowboy philosophy of working for the “brand” has made the name Harris Ranch synonymous with traditional values, such as quality, integrity, commitment, and exceptional customer service.

Harris Ranch is always improving our processing facility.

Best practices include:

  • Adhering to strict sanitation and food safety practices
  • Employing highly trained Quality Assurance (QA) staff
  • Monitoring by QA staff of all aspects of beef processing
  • Undergoing consistent, systematic USDA inspections
  • Utilizing the most advanced food safety technology

Audits & Recognition

Harris Ranch maintains an impressive food safety track record and continually receives exceptional marks by third-party auditors.

Recent acknowledgements include:

  • Brand Recognition Compliance (one of the most stringent third-party auditors in the world): awarded A rating, the highest possible
  • Quick Service Restaurants: recognized as industry leader for low microbial counts
  • USDA testing program: regular confirmation of low microbial counts

Proud of our food safety record, Harris Ranch Beef Company continually strives to identify and implement best management practices and technologies that keep us at the forefront of food safety.

Safe & Secure Facility

Harris Ranch maintains a written Food Defense Program to address bioterrorism and other risks of product adulteration.

Our facility employs a 24-hour security service and maintains an alarmed, fenced and patrolled perimeter.

All employees and approved vendors are issued ID badges that must be used to gain access to the facility.