During symposium we brought our beef industry attendees together for a discussion dinner, paired with the delicious Lyons Farm Fillet of Beef Wellington. The topic of discussion was sustainability in the global beef industry. Through the participation of attendees from North America, Europe and Latin America we were able to benefit from a variety of different viewpoints on the sustainability of using antibiotics, hormones and other growth promoters in beef production as we look to the future in 2020.
Always a popular topic in the beef industry today, our discussion centered on how this part of the food chain will adapt their production system according to demand of production, efficiency, cost and retail price, welfare and consumer behavior.
The conversation started from the North American perspective with comments focusing on the fact that the USA, number one in terms of beef production (tons of meat) have been using growth promoters in the beef production system with no problems, while Irish delegates counterpointed the fact that they were banned over 20 years ago in the European Union and the Irish beef industry has a strong export market. Did you know that Ireland exports more than 90 percent of its net beef output, making it the largest beef exporter in the European Union?
The Brazilian attendees said they have never used antibiotics, hormones and other growth promoters in their beef system and are very proud of this, due to the fact that after India they are the world’s largest beef exporter. A consensus was reached that regardless of viewpoint, it will be the consumer that drives the market, while not forgetting the huge role that’s played by legislation and the popular opinion at the time, often led by the media.
The question posed to the group to finish the night ‘Would you pick a cheaper meat that was raised with antibiotics, hormones and other growth promoters or a natural, antibiotic free meat that was more expensive?’ Reminding us that the consumers will purchase whatever they can afford to feed their family.