No Drugs or …? Food Safety — Meeting Customer Needs and Government Regulations on TK Ranch

Meeting the food safety needs of our customers as well as those set out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are very important to us. After speaking to thousands of people about their food safety concerns we created our stringent protocols. These include:

  • No antibiotics, not even therapeutic, are allowed in any animals destined for our meat program. Any animals that get sick and require treatment are diverted out of the program into the conventional market;
  • No artificial growth hormones or promotants are allowed;
  • The feeding of animal by-products is not allowed;
  • The use of ionophores (for treating acidosis in the rumen) is not allowed;
  • The use of chemical parasiticides and/or insecticides is not allowed;
  • Only unsprayed and or certified organic feed is allowed. Animals must also graze on unsprayed and certified organic pastures;
  • The feeding of genetically modified organisms is not allowed;
  • All animals must be slaughtered and processed in small government inspected facilities, and;
  • All processed meats must be made without the use of MSG, gluten, milk products, nitrites, nitrates or other artificial ingredients or fillers.

All animals are tracked from birth to slaughter with ear tags, freeze brands and RFID tags for traceability. TK Ranch uses a small, family owned and provincially inspected processing facility in Duchess, Alberta called Alberta Prairie Meats (seen at right). We have been using this processor since 1999 and have developed a good working relationship with the owners and staff. This plant only processes 40 head of beef per week and allows us to handle our own animals right to the kill — we believe that a low stress kill not only respects the animal but produces a quality end product. When you compare this model to large factory facilities that process between 1000 and 4500 beef every day you can see how much of a difference this makes to the animal and the end product.