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Beef Quality

Taste is key when defining beef quality

We know taste is key – especially when it comes to beef. In fact, among consumers who say they are eating more beef, the chief reason is taste, according to the Consumer Beef Index. That's why we try to do everything possible to protect and improve the quality of beef for your family and ours. It's part of our "Responsible Beef" commitment to cattle farmers.

Consumer tested, consumer approved

Research shows Zilmax helps cattle improve their natural ability to convert feed into more lean beef1,4,5 that is flavorful, tender and juicy.2,3 That's what the science says, but what do consumers think? We asked Texas Tech University to conduct the largest grilled steak taste-test study ever. In this study, thousands of consumers across the country tasted and evaluated the tenderness, juiciness and flavor of beef from cattle fed Zilmax and beef from cattle not fed Zilmax. The samples were not identified so there wasn't any bias in the consumers' observations. The results showed that consumers rated beef from cattle fed Zilmax as flavorful, tender and juicy2,3 – the same consumer acceptability as beef from cattle that were not fed the supplement. Several other consumer taste tests consistently reinforce that finding.3,21

USDA objective parameters: Consistently desirable

University meat scientists also evaluated the beef from cattle fed Zilmax against USDA objective parameters for beef quality, including color, marbling and texture. The results showed that the beef from cattle fed Zilmax is consistently within the desirable range for quality beef.6

Tenderness continues to improve

Some have wondered about tenderness. Three points to consider:
  • Taste tests confirmed consumers do not detect a difference in tenderness between beef from cattle fed Zilmax and beef from cattle not fed the supplement.2
  • Mechanical measurements, specifically Warner-Bratzler shear force, conclude beef from cattle fed Zilmax has a slightly higher shear resistance, but is still well within the "tender zone" for consumer acceptability.6
  • According to the National Beef Tenderness Survey, cattle farmers continue to make progress in tenderness.22-26 Feed supplements such as Zilmax have had no effect on tenderness acceptability of steaks.21 In addition, the USDA reports the total amount of available high-quality beef has risen to an all-time high in the past 20 years, with approximately two-thirds of U.S. beef today meeting the USDA standards for "Prime" and "Choice."27

Quality beef begins with quality care

Cattle farmers know there is an art and science to raising quality beef. It requires the right balance of many different factors, including the type of cattle, nutrition, clean water and proper animal care. At Merck Animal Health, we work in close partnership with cattle farmers, as well as their veterinarians and nutritionists, to provide the most current research, science, training and ongoing education that helps them make well-informed decisions about the care of their cattle and use of products such as Zilmax. It's what we do. It's part of our commitment to helping farmers provide the great-tasting steaks we all enjoy.

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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

Zilmax has a withdrawal period 3 days prior to slaughter. Not for use in animals intended for breeding. Do not allow horses or other equines access to feed containing zilpaterol. Do not use in veal calves. Not to be fed to cattle in excess of 90 mg zilpaterol/head/day in complete feed. If pen consumption of complete feed exceeds 26.5 lb/head/day (90% dry matter basis), zilpaterol should not be fed in complete feed.

For complete safety information, please refer to the product label.