NATIONAL MEAT ASSOCIATION h 1970 Broadway, Suite 825, Oakland, CA 94612

(510) 763-1533 Fax (510) 763-6186 h Email Address: [email protected] h

Edited by Kiran Kernellu

January 27, 2003




The principals of Nebraska Beef prepared for a hearing on a Preliminary Injunction scheduled for Thursday in Omaha last week, but also worked hard on negotiations for a settlement with USDA. The company had sought and obtained a Temporary Restraining Order to assure the continuation of operations following USDA’s action to suspend inspection the previous week. When progress was being made towards a settlement, the parties asked federal district court Judge Bataillon for a one day extension of time, which was granted. The parties reached a settlement early Friday morning and so informed the Court. Details of the settlement are not available at this time. U.S. Attorney for Nebraska Michael Heavican, in a statement released on Friday in Omaha, said: “USDA believes that the terms of the agreement are sufficient to meet the requirements of the Federal Meat Inspection Act related to food safety and public health. The public health mission of the agency is preserved through this agreement.”




Lean Trimmings and Herd on the Hill are offered electronically. If you’d like to receive the newsletter via e-mail, please contact Kiran Kernellu at [email protected] or 510-763-1533. Receive the latest news every Monday afternoon in your Inbox instead of waiting for it in the mail!


In a article today, Texas A&M scientists said they “believe they have made a major advance in the battle against a bug of major concern to food processors.” A new product called acidified calcium sulphate is promising as a way of killing Listeria monocytogenes in products like luncheon meats and certain cheeses. “Our goal was ... to ensure that listeria was killed and had very little opportunity to grow after that,” said Dr. Jimmy Keeton, professor with the department of animal science at Texas A&M.


“There’s a real concern about [safety] from the time ready-to-eat products are cooked until the time they are packaged that they not become contaminated with pathogens, specifically Listeria monocytogenes,” Keeton also said. “Assuming the product is cooked adequately, the risk of contamination comes from the surface,” he said. Adding substances like lactic acid and sodium lactate proffered microbiological barriers to organisms such as Listeria, but, according to the article, these were not considered entirely effective against the re-growth of the organism. Acidified calcium sulphate, on the other hand, showed potential not only to kill the Listeria on the surface of products, but also to keep it from coming back.


Learn more about the study at:

Sunday, MARCH 2 - Wednesday, March 5, 2003





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NMA developed the Round Table concept for its convention program 10 years ago. The Round Table Seminar is back again this year by popular request! Attendees have the opportunity to ask questions during these interactive discussions.


How it works: Four Round Table Seminars are held concurrently each day – Monday, March 3, 2003 from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m.; Tuesday, March 4, 2003 from 2:45 to 4:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, March 5, 2003 from 1:45 to 3:00 p.m. This year’s seminar themes are Science & Technology, Regulatory & Legislative, Business & Industry, and Trade & Marketing.


Each seminar has a designated Moderator knowledgeable in the subject matter. Participants in each seminar include 5 to 7 subject matter experts. Moderators open the discussions, introduce participants, and manage the discussions. Participants make opening remarks of about 5 minutes. The goal of the seminar is interpretation and clarification of the subject matter through interactive discussion and questions from attendees.


NMA does not finalize the sessions until close to the convention, recognizing that we have opportunities to include people with knowledge and insight right up to the last week. A preliminary schedule of participants has already been released.


There will also be dedicated specialty meetings devoted to a single subject to provide good take-home information for attendees. We expect to have topics for these ready by next week. Look for more information in future editions of Lean Trimmings and Herd on the Hill.















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Last Wednesday a federal judge in Manhattan threw out a lawsuit two teenagers brought against McDonald's Corporation, according to a report in The New York Times. The obese plaintiffs charged the fast-food corporation with engaging in deceptive practices and not providing adequate access to its products’ nutritional information. Judge Robert W. Sweet dismissed the lawsuit, as he said the plaintiffs failed to prove their charges.

Samuel Hirsch, lawyer for the plaintiffs Jazlyn Bradley and Ashley Pelman, stated his intent to file an amended complaint in the Times article. He reportedly contended that he still has a “credible and viable lawsuit.” McDonald’s statement as reported in Thursday's Wall Street Journal dissented. “We said from the beginning that this was a frivolous lawsuit. [Wednesday's] ruling confirms that fact.”

The matter is not likely to end anytime soon. In the Journal report a statement from Samuel Hirsch & Associates relayed that “The plaintiffs are very pleased with the decision and have every intention of amending their complaint and refiling it in the federal court within the next thirty days.” The Journal further reported “Judge Sweet even suggested a way to [amend the complaint], noting that few McDonald's customers are aware that Chicken McNuggets contain twice the fat of a hamburger...” However, he also said in the report that the law doesn’t protect consumers from their own excesses if the consequences are well known. “McDonald's argues that because the public is aware that hamburgers, fries and other fast-food fare have [high levels of cholesterol, fat, salt and sugar], McDonald’s cannot be held liable,” said Judge Sweet in the Journal. He also reportedly dismissed plaintiffs’ claims that fast food is addictive.

Still, the plaintiff side is undeterred. According to the Journal, John F. Banzaff III, a professor of public-interest law at George Washington University Law School who is advising Bradley and Pelman, said that “Short of letting us go ahead, it’s the best decision which we could have gotten. Judge Sweet has provided a road map on how to file this.” This information will likely aid plaintiffs in the other lawsuits filed against McDonald’s that haven't yet made it as far into the court system.




Jan. 30 and 31- 2-Day Listeria Seminars Associated with FSIS Directive 10,240.3

Embassy Suites Hotel, 9801 Airport Blvd., Los Angeles, CA; (310) 215-1000

*This two-day seminar will review FSIS Directive 10,240.3, more in-depth coverage of proper environmental sampling and testing procedures, laboratory testing considerations, tracking and trend analysis of data, SSOP re-evaluations, and HACCP plan reassessment. 


Feb 11- Environmental Monitoring with Silliker Lab

Marriot Hotel, Newport Beach, CA

*This seminar will review designing a comprehensive environmental monitoring program, environmental monitoring for investigational purposes, data management and maintenance of an environmental program.


Beyond Basics:
HACCP Plan Improvement Workshop for Cooked Products Operations

College Station, Texas
February 4 - 5, 2003

This course is
co-sponsored by SMA and NMA in conjunction with Texas A&M University.  To participate in this program, you must bring your company's cooked product HACCP Plan(s) to the workshop and we will work together to improve your HACCP Plan(s)! Space is limited to allow optimal hands-on interaction, so register today!


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Charles McVay passed away January 18, 2003 at the age of 78. He joined California Poultry in 1948, recently became sole owner of California Poultry Sales, and is a well-known figure in the poultry industry.


We extend our condolences to his wife Beverly, their three children Maureen, Michael, and Charles, and their six grandchildren, Jennifer, Michael, Christine, Mark, Ryan, and Kyle. A celebration of Charles McVay’s life will be held in the Starting Line Room of the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, CA on his 79th birthday, Thursday, January 30, 2003, 3pm-6pm. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations be made in Charlie's name to the Sequoia Hospital Foundation, c/o Cancer Fund Oncology Dept., 170 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City, CA 94062.


NMA reports news items that are of special interest to our readers, and provides information that they may want to be able to access.  Below are links to the Federal Register, AMS, APHIS, and FSIS, respectively.



NMA - East: 1400 - 16th St. N.W., Suite 400, Washington D.C. 20036 Ph. (202) 667-2108

NMA - West: 1970 Broadway, Suite 825, Oakland, CA 94612 Ph. (510) 763-1533 Fax (510) 763-6186

Edited by Kiran Kernellu

January 27, 2003


Today APHIS published a notice in the Federal Register entitled “Blood and Tissue Collection at Slaughtering Establishments” which is a proposed rule to extend the comment period regarding the collection of blood and tissue samples at slaughtering establishments. In a previous document, APHIS proposed, among other things, to establish requirements for the collection of blood and tissue samples from livestock (horses, cattle, bison, captive cervids, sheep and goats, swine, and other farm animals) and poultry at slaughtering establishments when it is necessary for disease surveillance. The comment period has been extended to March 28, 2003.
Access the notice at:
NMA was instrumental in achieving this extension. This topic will be discussed in detail at NMA’S 57th Annual Convention and MEATXPO ’03.


AMS has published a notice in the Federal Register entitled “Beef Promotion and Research: Certification and Nomination for the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board,” to notify interested parties that the agency is “accepting applications from State cattle producer organizations, as well as cattle or beef importer organizations, who desire to be certified to nominate producers or importers for appointment to vacant positions on the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board.” Access the notice at:




Export Newsline reported today that the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) executive committee has approved $20,000 to bring two Cuban government veterinarians to the U.S. in the first quarter of this year to tour packing plants. The aim is to obtain a system-wide endorsement that will eventually allow for the exportation of food and agricultural products to Cuba.


Read more about this topic in the December 23, 2002 Lean Trimmings.




Information about NMA’S 57th Annual Convention and MEATXPO ’03 is available online at: A schedule, roundtable schedule, and preliminary exhibitor list are accessible in PDF format, as well as a listing of social events and a registration form. The Sausagefest entry form is also available on the events page. Contact NMA at 510-763-1533 or [email protected] for additional information.


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Last week Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced the Bush administration is seeking $797 million in fiscal 2004 for food safety programs. This is an increase of $42 million over the amount requested last year. The administration's budget proposal also included $70 million for strengthening U.S. agriculture biosecurity. The full budget proposal will be released February 3 and is slated to be put before Congress the same month.


“The President cares deeply about ensuring a strong food safety system and the protection of agriculture against potential threats. This additional funding continues to build upon a strong record of achievement in further strengthening our protection systems to ensure the integrity of our food systems,” said Veneman in a USDA news release. The funding request will support 7,680 food safety inspectors, provide specialized training for the inspection work force, increase microbiological testing and sampling, strengthen foreign surveillance programs and increase public education efforts. In the area of biosecurity, the increased funding will translate into increased laboratory security measures, animal disease and vaccine research, as well as additional animal and plant pests and disease monitoring programs. “This budget proposal provides critical resources to strengthen food safety systems and USDA’s homeland security efforts,” Veneman further stated.


The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is no longer supporting the ban on packer ownership of livestock. Cattle Buyers Weekly reported that delegates to the AFBF voted to cease support of the ban, reversing its historic endorsement of the ban.

Another development bodes ill for the ban on packer ownership of livestock. Cattle Buyers Weekly relayed that a federal judge in Iowa has overturned a state law banning packer ownership of livestock, calling the law unconstitutional. Plaintiff Smithfields Foods claimed in the suit that the state’s ban is an infringement on interstate commerce. Judge Robert Pratt's decision stated, “The ban unconstitutionally discriminates against out-of-state interests in favor of local ones.” In all probability the decision will be appealed. Read more about this topic in last week's Herd on the Hill.


The beef check-off funds have provided yet another boon for beef industry professionals. The R&D Ranch® team at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has compiled the Beef Value Cuts Guide, an in-depth resource containing an instruction manual, brochure, VHS training video, CD-ROM, and multi-tab three ring binder, geared toward processors, manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators. Beef Value Cuts are single-muscle cuts that offer consumers easy preparation, greater consistency and more lean beef product options.

”The purpose of the Beef Value Cuts training and education materials is to show all industry professionals that Beef Value Cuts can be created with minimal additional work, and can prove to be more profitable than traditional uses for the chuck and round,” said Betty Hogan, director of new product marketing for NCBA. Beef Value Cuts were developed in response to an increase in demand for steak, using information from the beef industry’s Muscle Profiling Study.

Contact Kiran Kernellu at 510-763-1533 for more information. Read more about Beef Value Cuts in the October 21, 2002 Lean Trimmings.