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

October 14, 2002




NMA held a teleconference today regarding the USDA/FSIS Notice published in the Federal Register on October 7th concerning E. coli O157:H7 to discuss how slaughterers should respond to the directive. FSIS’s feelings about the prevalence of the pathogen are similar to Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character in the film, “Jerry Maguire,” when he said to his agent, “Show me the money!” FSIS is directing the industry to show it the validation.


USDA and FSIS want to see HACCP plans and know that they are being followed. Declaring E. coli O157:H7 a “hazard reasonably likely to occur” ensures a reassessment of HACCP plans, critical control points (CCPs) and the validation process. The industry must continue to articulate to government agencies and consumers that it is and will continue to do all it can to keep meat safe.




Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, dba Wampler Foods, Inc., of Franconia, PA has expanded its recall to 27.4 million pounds of fresh and ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products due to the possibility of Listeria monocytogenes contamination. This is an expansion from the 295,000 pounds recalled last Wednesday.  The establishment has voluntarily ceased operations.


The products, produced between May 1 and October 11, were distributed to retail stores, restaurants and institutions nationwide. The expansion is a result of FSIS’s investigation into illnesses, deaths and miscarriages in the Northeast from Listeria monocytogenes. The New York Times reported last week that tests showed no link between this recall and the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in the Northeast. The strain found in the product doesn’t match that of the illness victims, but in searching for the strain causing illnesses in the Northeast, inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes in the plant.


Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation Chief Financial Officer Richard Cogdill said that this is a voluntary recall, as they “are trying to clear the market as a safety precaution and a concern that the products might contain Listeria.” Cogdill added that they “haven’t been notified of any customers becoming ill as a result of [their] product, but [their] primary concern is that any product [they] have in the distribution channel is solid and wholesome.”


Listeria monocytogenes can cause a rare disease in humans called Listeriosis. While healthy people hardly ever contract the disease, it can be fatal. Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness and nausea. It may cause miscarriages and stillbirths. For those with weakened immune systems, infants, the elderly and persons with chronic disease, HIV, or on chemotherapy treatment, Listeriosis can cause severe and possibly life-threatening infections.


For information on Listeria precautions, contact the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 800-535-4555 or


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The Associated Press recently reported that the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic of the 1990s infected roughly a million more cattle than previously estimated. Scientists at Imperial College in London stated new figures, indicating that nearly two million cattle, rather than 1.05 million, had been infected with BSE. BSE infected cattle in the late 1980s and early 1990s after they were fed recycled meat and bone meal from infected cows. Earlier estimates were based on the number and age distribution of clinical cases of BSE, while the new figures are a result of back-calculation from the latest screening data. Many of the additional cases of BSE may not have been reported or may have been missed because infected older cattle were slaughtered before they showed signs of BSE, according to the report.


Scientists also said it’s improbable that this revised figure means more people were at risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), which is thought to be spread by eating BSE-infected meat. Official figures released last week report 128 “definite and probable” vCJD cases in the United Kingdom. 117 of these individuals are deceased, of which 93 are confirmed as vCJD-related deaths.




Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco are working to develop a genetically engineered strain of cattle resistant to mad cow disease or BSE.  Last month Associated Press reported that Dr. Jiri G. Safar and his colleagues had successfully genetically altered a strain of mice that then produced a mutated form of the prion protein. The mutated prion prevented the animals from illness when injected with the form of the prion protein that usually causes BSE. Safar said, “[they] found that the (genetically engineered) mouse became completely resistant to the disease.” According to Texas A&M veterinary scientist and BSE researcher Patrick W. Dunne, “this means that prion diseases in livestock could at least be inhibited, if not eliminated.”




USDA has appropriated funds to assess new rapid tests for BSE. One such test, the “lateral flow strip test,” or PDL strip test, takes less than 20 minutes and can be used onsite. Developed by Prion Developmental Laboratories, Inc., the PDL strip test will be pilot tested upon an acceptable review by USDA.


According to a report from the French Press Agency, a team from the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, Germany has devised a test than can screen for vCJD in less than 15 minutes. The technology has been tested on hamsters with scrapie, a sister-disease of vCJD and BSE. The technique will next be tested for accuracy with vCJD and BSE.


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FDA will consider alternative labeling for irradiated foods through the standard citizen petition process stipulated in FDA regulations. The agency has issued a guide stating that irradiation labeling petitions will be handled like other labeling petitions, pending the final rule. The 2002 Farm Bill does permit alternatives to current labels, but only if the petitioner can demonstrate that the label is accurate and meaningful to consumers. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that FDA will allow petitions to avoid using the word irradiation, and companies may gain approval to use such language as “cold pasteurization.”


“Qualitative or quantitative consumer research that shows consumer understanding of the purpose and intent of the proposed label” should be in the petition. A petition is considered denied if FDA doesn’t act on it within 180 days of receipt, unless the parties agree on an extension. Normally, FDA issues a tentative response within 180 days of receipt. FDA will implement immediately since the Farm Bill is in effect, but will also accept comments on the guidelines.




Last week the Oakland Tribune reported two people in Pleasanton, CA having tested positive for E. coli O157:H7. A San Diego man visiting relatives in Pleasanton and a Pleasanton boy have acquired bacterial illnesses. Additionally, a Livermore, CA resident and a Dublin, CA girl are undergoing tests for E. coli O157:H7. Alameda County Department of Public Health Public Information Officer Sherri Willis said “there are no commonalities between the four cases that we’re able to discern.” According to Department of Environmental Health Director Mee Ling Tung, a rash of unrelated E. coli O157:H7 illnesses isn’t uncommon in the county. Willis told NMA that the illnesses has not been linked to any product.




George Gillett has purchased organic beef producers Coleman Natural Products and B3R Country Meats, which market certified organic beef. Cattle Buyers Weekly reported “Gillett appears to be putting together a group of organic/natural meat companies in the same way he put together Corporate Brand Foods America.” Congratulations to Mr. Gillett on his timely acquisition! As reported in the September 23 Lean Trimmings, the full implementation of the USDA national organic standards begins October 21, 2002.


Sunday, MARCH 2- Wednesday, March 5, 2003




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NMA makes every effort to report news of current interest to its members in its weekly publications. Details on many topics of interest are readily accessible on government websites. We suggest the following sites for supplementary information:


Product recalls:

Federal Register:

USDA COOL notice:

USDA Mandatory Price Reporting:




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

October 14, 2002




On Tuesday, October 8, USDA issued guidelines to implement the country-of-origin labeling provisions of the 2002 Farm Bill, which require the Secretary to promulgate a regulation for mandatory country-of-origin labeling by September 30, 2004. According to NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow, “for better or worse, the new “voluntary” guidelines show the major flaws in the legislation which will make mandatory regulations unworkable. One of the key problems with the new guidelines is its prescripts for labeling products which have more then one country-of-origin, suggesting that statements with multiple country sources will be highly confusing to consumers and will generate more litigation than information.”


Explicit is the mandatory requirement for commodity identification and record keeping. The legislation states that “any person engaged in the business of supplying a covered commodity to a retailer must make available information to the retailer indicating the country-of-origin . . . such persons, which include, but are not limited to, producers, growers, handlers, packers, processors and importers must maintain auditable records documenting the origin of covered commodities.” These producers, growers, handlers, packers, processors and importers will likely have to begin the record keeping right away in order to be in compliance by the 2004 deadline. “When mandatory regulations are issued, the identification and audit trail requirements will have to take effect months or years before retailers will be able to obtain meaningful information to support their country of origin labels,” said NMA attorney Phil Olsson.


The provision means that livestock producers will have to create and maintain auditable records identifying the origin of every animal they own, and these records will have to be maintained for a minimum of two years being that the birth date of most dairy and beef bovines in milking and breeding stocks, and even feed lot bovines, will precede the effective date of the law. The bottom line is that the new Farm Bill provisions will cause the application of livestock ID well before label information can be supported at the retail counter for consumers!


Mucklow said: “The adverse consequences that will now burden producers to maintain birth records on every animal is one additional marginal cost that will increase the price gap between red meat and poultry on a livestock industry that is woefully unprepared. While this output may never have been considered by the proponents that pressed for the legislation in Washington, often the most certain rule about government programs is the rule of unintended consequences.” Mucklow added: “It’s just one more train wreck that the red meat industry is doing to itself.”




The voluntary guidelines were published in the Federal Register on Friday October 11, 2002 and are accessible at: The voluntary guidelines and questions and answers on the voluntary guidelines can be found at: NMA members contact Kiran Kernellu at (510) 763-1533 or [email protected] for a copy of the guidelines.




Congratulations to Dr. Bob and Dr. Lynn Delmore on the recent arrival of a beautiful and healthy baby girl, Ainsley Rose!


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Dr. John Blackwell, a former principal in the HACCP Consulting Group, died on October 9 in Columbia, MD. He was 68. NMA remembers him especially because of his involvement in HACCP training sponsored by the association. Also, he was the key consultant on microbiology in the development of RTE Guidelines co-sponsored by NMA, SMA, AAMP, NAMP and SEMA which are available on NMA's website.


John earned degrees from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science and from Cornell. He is survived by his wife Maria, his sons, Dennis and Custin, his daughter Donna, and three grandchildren. We extend the deepest sympathies to his family for their loss.




Organic standards will be implemented next Monday – October 21st. National standards for products bearing the word organic on labels will guarantee that the contents are pesticide, hormone, and antibiotic free. Additionally, products labeled organic must not be irradiated or bio-engineered. Organic farmers will also be required to conserve soil and water and practice humane treatment of animals. These standards apply to imported as well as domestically grown food, and state agencies and accredited private companies will inspect and certify companies for compliance. Those who continue to use the organic label without adhering to the new regulations could be fined up to $10,000 per violation.


In a Washington Post report last week, Chairman of Green Circle Organics David Cole said the new standards are “a great leap forward for the consumer,” and the industry. Green Circle Organics will introduce its latest product, heat-and-serve meals, this month. According to the Post report, industry analysts anticipate sales of organic foods and beverages to reach $20 billion by 2005, based on the industry’s 20% annual growth in the past decade.


Informacion de FSIS en Espanol – FSIS INFORMATION IN SPANISH


La secretaria de seguridad e inpeccion de alimentos que contienen carne conosida comummente como FSIS de los Estados Unidos, ha establasido una linea telefonica gratuita.  Esta dara servicio de informacion de como prevenir la contaminacion de alimentos que contienen carnes. El usuario del servicio podra comunicarse con una persona en espanol que trabaja para esta agencia. El personal esta capacitado para responder preguntas relacionadas con las siguentes temas:


Principios basicos para preparar alimentos correctamente

Como prevenor la intoxicacion  alimentaria

La preparacion y los cuidados a tenera en el servicio de los alimentos en una reunion familiar.

Como prevenor la contaminacion de los alimentos de bacterias malignas

Requesitos para eiquetado de alimentos

Informacion tecnica y  requisitos a seguir para las fabricas que elaboran alimentos con carnes.


El  telefono para comunicarse con el  centro de informacion en espanol es 1-800-535-4555. Al escuchar la grabacion oprima el numero 2. El horario para comunicar con un especialista es de lunes a viernes de las ocho de la manana a cuatro de latarde.  Adicionalmente este servicio tambien ofrece la oportunidad de escuchar mensajes grabados  de las preguntas mas frequesntes relacionadas al cuidado de los alimentos.


Buenos abitos personales.

Lavarse las manos despues de utilizar el bano o canbiar diapers o despues de jugar con la mascota.

Recuerdese de lavar las verduras y las frutas antes de comerselas.

Cosine siemple las carnes a la temperatura interior de 160 F. Utilise un indicador de temperatura de cosina para asegurarse.