Everything But the Moo

Jan 24, 2017

You may not realize how many beef byproducts you are using in your everyday life. When cattle are slaughtered, most all of the animal is used in one way or another. Many people are surprised to find that many of the products they use every day actually come from cattle. The hide and hair from the animal can be used for baseball gloves, leather coats, shoes, luggage and wallets. These are called byproducts, or a second product that is produced while making the main product.  If you drive a car, you are using a byproduct as they are used in the making of asphalt. One common byproduct that shocks people is marshmallows, which contain gelatin made from bone. Other byproducts include cosmetics, soap and even plastic. Byproducts also have an important part in the medical community. These products can be used to make capsules and can even be used for a form of insulin. Beef by-products contribute largely to the medical community by providing more than 100 individual drugs for doctors and patients in the U.S.  When an animal is slaughtered mostly everything is used for another purpose, making sure there is no waste to the animal.

Byproducts for export are also very important as they account for more than 35 percent of the United States beef exports. These exports are made up of variety products such as liver, tripe, sweetbreads, and even tongue. These products are processed under separate conditions to ensure a high quality product. Many of these products are able to be processed for a lower price than that in a domestic market.

So how much by-product can one beef animal produce? When thinking about your average 1150 lb. beef animal approximately 500 lbs. of that will become the primary product of edible beef. Most of what is left will be made into a variety of byproducts. While a very small percentage of that weight will go to waste the rest of the 600 lbs. can be turned and processed into something that is valuable and useful in our everyday life.

Whether you like your beef as a juicy steak on your plate, or as the football you throw every Sunday with your family, beef products make a huge impact in your life. You may not always think about it or see it but that animal creates a variety of products that are useful in a consumers’ everyday life.


"Cattle By-products – Facts About Beef." Facts About Beef. Beef Council, 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2017.

"Beef and Pork Byproducts: Enhancing the U.S. Meat Industry's Bottom Line." USDA ERS - Beef and Pork Byproducts. United States Department of Agriculture, 1 Sept. 2011. Web. 13 Jan. 2017.

642, No. "Where's the Beef?" “Where’s the Beef?” (n.d.): n. pag. Oklahoma State Extension Services. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Web.

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