July 2003 Edition
The Brief on Beef


It's not easy being a Butcher's Block Boxed Beef or Ground Beef supplier partner. Not only must these market leaders comply with the most painstaking quality monitoring in the foodservice industry, but they must do so under the watchful eye of the Sysco Quality Assurance (QA) Department. Not only is Butcher's Block Boxed Beef a Canadian Beef Grading Agency Certified Program, it also receives approval through annual Sysco-approved quality assurance audits.

Think these sound like difficult standards to meet? Not when you consider the importance of food safety when it concerns a Canadian menu icon like beef. That's why Butcher's Block demands the highest quality assurance principles from all its beef partners, including these additional criteria required of ground beef suppliers:

  • Microbiological testing on raw materials used in the production of Butcher's Block Ground Beef Patties. All raw beef materials must test negative for E.coli 0157:H7 prior to use.
  • On line metal detectors set at prescribed sensitivities. Metal detectors are calibrated at a minimum frequency of every two hours.

Finally, Butcher's Block Boxed Beef and Ground Beef suppliers have Sysco-appointed QA field specialists located n their facilities during production runs of Butcher's Block products. These professionals monitor production on a daily basis, overseeing the quality and consistency of Butcher's Block Reserve and Angus Beef products as well as Butcher's Block Fresh and Frozen Ground Beef. ¨

Q&A on Q.A.

Q. Why does ground beef remain pink even when properly cooked to temperatures above 160°F?

A. There are several reasons why some ground beef products will remain pink. If the beef exhibits a high pH level (6.0 or higher), for example, the elevated pH protects the myoglobin in the meat from denaturation, causing a bright red pigment (oxymyoglobin) to remain present. In addition, nitroso pigments, similar to those in cured products, can also cause a pink pigment in meat. Cooking with nitrate-rich ingredients such as celery, onions, green peppers and carrots may also contribute to the colour, while nitrate contamination from poorly functioning gas ovens, utensils, countertops, water and/or spices is also a likely culprit.