Being the true Beefitarians we are, we can’t stop daydreaming about that picturesque steak when we hear the word “beef.” And don’t forget about those burgers, and those roasts, and kabobs! Yum! But what about the rest of the animal? Does it just get thrown away? Nope! We call those pieces of the cattle that are not meant for the butcher case “by-products.”
Almost nothing goes to waste
Time to do some math! For a beef animal weighing 1,000 lbs, 620 of those lbs will be used for meat products. (Excuse me, can I get at least half of that in the form of steaks?) 370 lbs are used exclusively as by-products, which means there is only 10 lbs, or 1% of the animal that is not used. That means 99% of the animal is used! Far more efficient than you initially thought, huh?
For as long as humans have roamed the earth, animal by-products have been incredibly important. Think back to the days when some Native American tribes hunted bison. They used every piece of the animal, both as a sign of respect and a means of necessity. That same mentality is used today when we talk about beef by-products.
Many different industries utilize beef by-products, some for luxury products such as leather, but some are incredibly critical, like medical supplies.
What are by-products used for?
Dairy cattle provide us with some of the most delicious by-products. (Milk by-products!) From butter to ice cream and all that cheese, we could go on and on about our favorite by-product.
Did you know … there are more than 200 varieties of cheese produced in the U.S. and over 1,400 varieties in the world!? Nom!
Made from cow hide, leather is a common beef by-product used for clothing, sports, equipment, and more! For those of you that are sports fans, with one hide you can get:
- 12 basketballs or …
- 144 baseballs or …
- 20 footballs or …
- 18 volleyballs or …
- 18 soccer balls or …
- 12 baseball gloves
You can thank a cow for feeling so fresh and so fly. Many of our daily grooming products contain beef by-products such as gelatin, stearic acid, and animal enzymes. They are used to enhance and create the following products in our bathroom:
- Nail polish remover
- Soaps and lotions
- Makeup and lipstick
- Shaving cream
- Contact cleaner
Paging Dr. Moo! Though it may be frowned upon to bring a cow into the operating room, in a way, we already do. Many essential medical items such as ointments for burns, first aid creams, and bandage adhesives may contain animal by-products. Even more critical, anti-rejection drugs for organ transplants, ligaments for transplant surgeries, and even insulin for diabetes can come from livestock.
Even more uses for beef by-products
Looking around your house for beef products? You may want to check more than just your refrigerator:
- Laundry detergent
- Dish soaps
- Instrument strings
- Piano keys
- Chewing gum
- Paint brushes
- Tires and ball bearings
- Car polishes and waxes
- Pup chew toys
- Dog food
And the list goes on and on. The next time you reach for that juicy steak in the meat case, don’t forget to thank the livestock that delight your taste buds as well as play a large role in making your life entertaining, clean, and healthy. We don’t want to get all preachy, but beef is pretty much the coolest thing. Change our minds!
Download the PDF by clicking here.
beef2live.com (Apr 26, 2020)
Dairymax.org (Lesson 1, Activity 4: Dairy By-Products)