Over the last 100 years, beef farming has experienced gradual changes. Beef production has largely shifted its reliance on grass as the primary source of cattle feed to corn. This has had mixed results: fatter cows, faster maturity, poor nutritional value, and the associated health risks. Additionally, the taste of food has been compromised by the large amount of corn fed to animals.
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Feedlots rely on corn as the primary fodder for beef cattle, and this has resulted in decreased intake of vitamins, proteins and essential fats by beef consumers, diminished animal health thus diminishing the overall taste, quality, and integrity of beef.
As an alternative, other than matching the quantity of corn fed to the animals with the amount of grass and other normal feed by beef farmers, the FDA need to regulate the use of corn feed in order to reduce the abuse of animals.
Like any other industry, the beef industry has experienced dramatic changes over the past 100 years. These changes have been necessitated by an increase in demand for beef for human consumption and as a raw material for other products meant for human consumption.
As a result, beef farmers have had to evolve their methods of beef production to boost yields and meet the increasing market demand for beef. Before 1950, beef farmer reared beef cows on pasture alone. This implies that grass was the main source of cattle feed. To boost cows’ nutritional requirement, beef farmers added grain, but only as a supplement.
However, the increasing demand for beef meant that farmer had to rely on other methods of beef production. Consequently, farmers turned to corn as the primary feed for beef cattle (King Corn, 2008). Even though the introduction of corn as cattle feed has been gradual, overtime, it has turned out to be the primary fodder. This has had numerous consequences.
While corn enable farmers to increase beef yields, animal nutritionists assert that corn fed cows produce low quality beef. Cows fed corn have high level of animal fats, thus reducing the amounts of consumable proteins (American grassfed, n.d.).
Beef from grass fed cows has more nutritional value; it is less rich in animal fat but added volumes of nutritionally good fats such as omega-3, oxidation agents, and vitamins A and E (American grassfed, n.d.; Cross, 2011). This implies that feeding beef cows on corn reduces the amount of good fats. In additional, grass-less cattle diet constitutes a mixture of corn, soy, and other grains (Pollan, 2006).
Corn based diet is also supplemented with hormones and antibiotics (King Corn, 2008). This makes corn raised beef to be less healthy, compared with grass raised beef. Additionally, majority of the modern consumer is concerned with three vital qualities of beef.
These are the price of beef, the taste and the nutritional value. Despite the fact that grass raised beef costlier than corn raised beef (Aubrey, 2010), grass raised beef has richer taste and added nutritional benefits to consumers. Thus, raising beef cows on corn based diet reduces the nutritional value thus destroying the taste as well as the integrity of the beef.
The quality of food supplied to consumers is vital. As such, there is need to regulate rearing of beef cows. Raising cattle on corn produces fatter and heavier animals at a faster rate than raising cows on grass alone. However, as indicated earlier, raising cattle on grass produces learner animals, which takes a longer time to mature. Additionally, it is more expensive to feed cows on grass that on corn.
Grass fed cows is also healthier than corn fed cows (American grassfed, n.d.; King Corn, 2008). To maximize on gains of both corn and grass feeding, it is imperative to equalize the amount of corn and grass fed to cattle through out their growth period. This will ensure that both the farmer and the consumer gains added benefits.
A study conducted by the FDA concluded that corn has significant levels of mycotoxins such as fumonisin (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). In this regard, Americans dietary habits are put into sharp focus since more than a quarter of their diet item contain corn (Pollan, 2006). Additionally, corn denies cows the opportunity to acquire vital fats such as omega 3 found in grass.
This is possibly the reason why Cross (2011) argues that feeding cows on corn in inhumane. As a result, it is vital for the FDA to regulate such abuse. This will be attained through FDA’s legal framework.
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Additionally, the FDA aims at attending as many international conventions organized by accredited bodies such as World Health Organization, and the UN, among others, to sensitize them on the health risk posed by fumonisins. Additionally, the FDA will seek corporation from these bodies in regulating the use of corn as a method of raising beef cows (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001).
It is imperative to note the benefits of raising cattle on corn; faster growth, affordability, more weight and thus more profits. However, the use of corn as cattle feed needs to be strictly regulated due to associated consumer health risks.
As more people consume beef from corn bred cattle, the overall food quality is compromised. Additionally, if the use of corn is not regulated, people will largely remain uneducated on healthy consumption habits.
American grassfed. (n. d.). Frequently Asked Questions. Web.
Aubrey , A. (2008). The Truth About Grass-Fed Beef. Npr. Web.
Cross, K. (2011). The grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef debate. Web.
King corn. (2008). Corn-fed: cows and corn. Web.
Pollan, M. (2006). The omnivore’s dilemma: a natural history of four meals. New Jersey: Penguin Press U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001). US food and drug Administration. Web.