Asda to raise beef cattle age limit

Asda has announced that it will raise the age limit of cattle for use in its standard beef range from 30 to 36 months.

The first supermarket to act on the Food Standard Agency's decision to raise the BSE testing age of cattle to 48 months, Asda says that the decision was made in collaboration with its long-standing beef supply chain partner, Anglo Beef Processors (ABP), and the change will come into effect immediately.

Pearce Hughes, agricultural development manager from Asda, said: "We are proud to be the first supermarket to raise the age limit for beef cattle to 36 months. The decision sees our cut-off point for beef in our standard range back at pre-1996 levels.

"This industry-leading move will provide Asda BeefLink farmers with the option to revert back to the much-missed 36-month production system and should make the rearing of dairy bull calves into large steers a viable and attractive option once again - reducing the number of dairy calves being disposed of at birth."

Asda and ABP say that the 36-month age limit is a temporary move, and that it hopes to take the upper threshold to 48 months in the coming months, following trials to assess the quality of beef from cattle aged between 36 and 48 months, to ensure it reaches the supermarket's standards for prime beef cuts.

"We hope to confirm that we can raise the age limit even further in the not-too-distant future," added Hughes.

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