We get many questions regarding chemical contaminants in beef. In fact, more people are freaked out about manmade contaminants in their food than nutrition. We find that strange because there's only a handful of reported deaths in our country from manmade contaminants in food. Yet on the other hand literally millions of Americans are suffering every day of their lives and/or are dying prematurely because of chronic diseases brought on by grain-based nutritional deficiencies (and other natural "organic" causes). So, regarding this subject, to be scientifically correct, truthful, and legally in the right, this is what we can say.
Focusing On Science
Extensive and expensive studies on the contaminants in beef have been made utilizing beef from various segments of the beef industry. The best and most extensive study was one conducted some years ago by the U.S. beef industry to enlighten European beef importers. It used one of the best chemical labs in the country to detect chemical residues (pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc.) in beef samples (muscle, adipose, liver, and kidney). It's an amazing study that was very expensive.
The study clearly shows that chemical residues in "organic," "natural," "conventional," "chronically ill," and "old cow" beef samples are virtually all the same. Statistically, there is no difference. To our great relief, all detectable "contaminants" in the study were well within acceptable limits for the most stringent food safety guidelines. In other words, beef from "organic" or "natural" cattle is no more or less "safe" than beef from "conventional" or even "chronically ill" cattle. And, most importantly from the standpoint of contaminants, ALL beef products are safe for human consumption.
The study was supervised by Dr. Gary Smith, one of the most famous and most respected meat scientists in the nation if not the world. He used to be with TAMU now he's with Colorado State. You can get in touch with him at Colorado State and request from him your own private copy of the report. He'll send it for free.
Differences Do Exist!
The only absolute, unquestionable differences found in beef are dependent on whether or not they are grain-fed or grass-fed. In that department there are HUGE differences. Many scientific studies have proven it; plus visual, feel, smell, and taste comparisons confirm the chemical analysis. Science also confirms that all grass-fed livestock products are perfectly balanced nutritionally for optimal human health and the food products from grain-fed livestock are actually detrimental to health.
Hopefully this answers your questions regarding food safety, because it is the only truthful, scientifically proven, and legal answer. Anyone who states differently is either providing hearsay blather, or they are deliberately lying to gain your business. Our bottom line is that we are honest. We raise good healthy livestock in a healthy environment. We don't use false science, various religious doctrines, and scare tactics to make a sale. Our nutritional information is based on peer-reviewed and established fundamental science. If we are to rely on science for nutritional information, then I guess we can't very well rely on hearsay for answers to other questions regarding our product.
Having said all this, one must keep in mind that not all producers and processors are honest. Dishonest, unprofessional, and naive folks do ship cattle to slaughter that should not be shipped. Those cattle would test positive to contaminants, if they were tested, and should not be eaten. Unfortunately, since the vast majority of carcasses are not tested, a sprinkling of contaminated cattle may be sold to unsuspecting consumers. That does happen infrequently in the cull-cow hamburger market. Alarmingly, most of the cull-cow hamburger ends up in the school lunch programs all across the country.
This is why it is important to know who raises the food you eat. Our cattle are not implanted with hormones nor are they fed antibiotics. They are raised on grass without grain supplementation of any kind. That makes for real, highly nutritious, genuine beef.
Some of our livestock producers are Certified Organic. Some are not because they do not want to go through the hassle required for certification. Just the same, certified or not, all of our producers are mindful of the risks of contaminated meats and they go to great lengths to make sure their meats will pass every critical analysis by even the most fastidious consumer and/or governmental regulatory watchdog.
Another aspect of this is that many consumers do not realize the term "organic" does not apply to nutrition. It's supposed to mean "chemical free." Naturally everything on Earth is made of chemicals. There are 92 natural elements and the compounds of those elements that make up the Earth and all things in outer space too. And for all of time animals and plants have had to deal with organic toxins -- and some of the deadliest toxins known to man are 100% organic. All fungi are organic. Bacteria are organic. The skewed fatty acid profiles in organic grain are not only organic but just as destructive to the health of animals that consume organic grain as that of conventionally raised grain.
Our most important defense against toxins (manmade and organic) and bacteria is a strong immune system. That's the purpose of our immune systems. The eating of grain compromises the immune system and opens the door to body failure and infectious disease.
Here are some notable links.
USDA Pesticide Data Program: Pesticide Residues on Fresh and Processed Fruit and Vegetables, Grains, Meats, Milk, and Drinking Water
Hormones in Cattle Production: Their Use and Safety
The EXTOXNET InfoBase provides a variety of information about pesticides. Access the Pesticide Information Profiles (PIPs) for specific information on pesticides. Toxicology Information Briefs (TIBs) contain a discussion of certain concepts in toxicology and environmental chemistry. Other topic areas include: Toxicology Issues of Concern (TICs), Factsheets, News about Toxicology Issues, Newsletters, Resources for Toxicology Information, and Technical Information. Information in these topic areas primarily has been developed by toxicologists and chemists within the Extension Service of the land-grant universities listed below. A major goal has been to develop unbiased information in a form understandable by the non-expert, and to make that information fully searchable and selectively retrievable.