JBS's Cameron Bruett Says Defining Sustainability is Critical to Beef IndustryWed, 25 May 2016 23:26:16 CDT
Sustainability in the beef industry continues to be a hot topic among today’s consumers. Cameron Bruett, head of corporate affairs for JBS, says the problem lies in not having a clear and consistent definition of sustainability as it relates to beef production.
Bruett is the immediate past president of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, an initiative to make all aspects of the beef value chain are environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable. He says the group has been working on defining the term “sustainability” and then sharing it with the marketplace “whether that be in the form of verified sustainable beef or be that in the form of just marketing materials through NCBA and companies like mine, so we have this common understanding of what sustainability truly means.”
Bruett says the answer doesn’t lie in a certain production system or hormone-free/antibiotic-free labels.
“This is shorthand that marketers are using to attract primarily millennial consumers,” he says. “It doesn’t necessarily relate to sustainability.
“But in the absence of a well-understood, consumer-driven message around sustainability, it serves as the de facto or the shorthand.”
When it comes to talking about antibiotic use in cattle, Bruett says the industry has unfortunately shifted from talking about responsible and judicious use to just “free or not free.”
“My reticence is that the debate has shifted into an area that I don’t think is conducive to animal health and public health,” he says. “It’s conducive to marketing; it’s conducive to sales; it’s not conducive to the overall benefit of the industry from a human or animal health perspective.”
Listen to more of Bruett’s comments on sustainability in the beef industry during the latest Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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