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Beef 101 - Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Tips and FAQ

 

What are Canada's top beef grades?

Canada's top beef grades are Canada Prime, Canada AAA, Canada AA and Canada A. The difference between the four grades is the degree of marbling with the Canada Prime grade having the most marbling. The three A grades account for over 75% of beef produced in Canada. Canada Prime is mostly sold to restaurants or exported. Look for these grades in your retail flyer and at the beef counter or ask your meat department manager or local butcher.

Is colour an indication of beef’s freshness?

The majority of people select beef based on its bright red colour. However, variations in colour can be due to many factors, including the type of packaging and are not necessarily an indicator of freshness. The best indicator of freshness is the "packaged on" date or the "best before" date.

What is the difference between organic and regular beef?

While there are differences in the way organic beef is produced and in the retail price, both organic and conventional beef are of high quality, nutritious and safe. Lab tests have not found substantial nutritional differences and blind taste tests found consumers generally cannot tell the difference between organic and conventionally produced foods.

How can I get the most value for my dollar when buying meat?

Compare meats based on cost per serving not total price to determine value.
At twice the price per kg, the beef roast is still a better buy.
Leftover roast beef and steak can be added to stir-frys, salads, pizzas, pasta dishes and casseroles, extending the cost per serving. Make your own stir-fry strips by partially freezing steak then slice thinly.

There are so many varieties of ground beef types and packages in stores, what is the difference?

Plastic Tray Packs: Some of these packaging types allow for longer storage times and are labeled with a "best before date" rather than the typical "packaged on date". Use the "best before date" as your guide to storage time. However, once the package is opened, handle the meat like fresh ground beef and use or freeze within one day.
Tube/Chub Pack: These packs are used for fresh or frozen ground beef. Use or freeze fresh meat chubs within a day OR, if there is a "best before date" on pack, use that as your guideline - once opened, freeze or use the meat within one day.
Source Grinds are quality ground beef made from flavourful single cuts of beef and are not blended with other beef. Now available:

  • Lean or Extra Lean Ground Round
  • Lean or Extra Lean Ground Sirloin
  • Lean Ground Chuck

Try Ground Chuck in your next batch of burgers - it's the food writers' choice for the best burgers.
Precooked Frozen Ground Beef is ground beef that has been cooked, drained and frozen. It's easy to add to your favourite sauces, casseroles and soups and makes for super simple short-cut meals. Also look for Fully Cooked Frozen Beef Burgers.

How can I tell if the beef at my grocery store is Canadian?

Be sure to ask if it’s Canadian every time! Support your local Canadian Cattle producers by choosing Canadian beef.

Do retailers repackage meat to make it look better?

Retailers may often re-cut a cut of beef in order to meet consumer demand. For instance they may re-cut a roast into steaks. However, the date on the package of the re-cut beef must be the same as the original date on the original cut of beef.

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