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

November 11, 2002




NMA is hosting a Lithuanian businesswoman who is the CEO of a meat processing business visiting the United States as a guest of the State Department to attend an International Women’s Conference this week. The young woman, accompanied by her husband who is also her business partner and translator, arrived in Oakland Saturday evening after nearly 20 hours of flying. Over dinner, before an early night, they expressed a desire to attend mass at a Catholic Church on Sunday morning, something that NMA Executive Director had not built into the busy Sunday tour for them!


Rosemary accompanied them to a 9:30 mass in Berkeley, California. The young couple, who have five children at home in Lithuania, explained to Rosemary that their country had endured 50 years of Soviet occupation during which time all of the places of worship were closed. Newman Hall in Berkeley, California welcomed them as visitors, and the priest noted they had probably come the farthest of all the congregation’s members! The family mass with children participating in all the activities reminded the young couple of their five children back home. For Rosemary, it was a sharp reminder of the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans, and the price that they have cost us.


The Lithuanians’ visit evokes a timely appreciation of the many blessed freedoms Americans have. NMA gives its heartfelt thanks to all of our nation’s veterans for their tenacity and courage in protecting our freedoms and our way of life. Their devotion to freedom and appreciation of its worth are a lesson to us all. We honor their spirit on this day, especially.




The Beyond Basics: HACCP Plan Improvement Workshop for Raw, Not Ground, and Raw Ground Operations will take place December 3-4, 2002 in College Station, TX. Co-sponsors NMA, Southwest Meat Association (SMA), and the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University have organized this workshop to cover flow chart review and evaluation, review of and scientific support of a hazard analysis, defending the selection of CCPs, support and selection of monitoring and verification frequencies, HACCP plan validation schemes, composing decision-making documentation, and compiling supporting documentation.


Participants must bring their company’s slaughter HACCP plans to work with organizers to improve their plans. Space is limited to accommodate hands-on interaction. 


Contact NMA for registration information at (510) 763-1533 or [email protected]. The cost is $600 for SMA and NMA members and $750 for non-members. SMA has secured a block of rooms at the Hampton Inn in College Station at a rate of $69 plus tax. Contact the hotel directly at (979) 846-0184 to make a reservation. Ask for the Southwest Meat Association block of rooms.


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The first meeting of the U.S. sheep industry's Lamb Promotion, Research and Information Board was held at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., Nov. 6-7. ASI Weekly reported that the meeting included an overview of research and promotion programs, USDA's oversight role, each board member's responsibilities, USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service's (AMS) investment policy, and a working session that the board members used to develop a board structure, determine priorities, and identify its next steps.


Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman was on hand to welcome the new board of directors. The board met with Undersecretary of Marketing and Regulatory Services Bill Hawks and Deputy Director Jim Butler, as well.  Tom Kourlis of Colorado was elected president; Bill Brennan of South Dakota vice president; David Winters of Texas treasurer; And Oregon producer Margaret Magruder was elected secretary.




A major promotional campaign for Fresh Australian Premium Lamb (FAPL) is about to begin in the United States, reported ASI Weekly. The campaign will run from November through June 2003, and will include a series of full-page magazine advertisements and newly developed point-of-sale material for retail outlets. The Meat & Livestock Australia advertisements have secured space in five publications over 15 issues, equaling a total circulation of four million. The campaign will be composed of 14 national full-page advertisements, four advertorials and one special section tear-out recipe card.




According to a release from Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), recent research helps explain the physiological basis of mate choice. Research conducted at OHSU, in collaboration with scientists at Oregon State University and the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, ID, demonstrated structural brain differences associated with naturally occurring variations in sexual partner preferences. These are the first findings to show such a correlation in research animals. The researchers’ results confirm and expand upon human studies that compared morphological brain differences between heterosexual men, homosexual men and women. Results were presented on Nov. 4 during the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Orlando, FL.


Domestic rams, used as an animal model for this research because they display distinct, natural variations in sexual attraction, were selected for this study after their sexual partner preference and mating habits were studied for two years. When researchers compared brains among the sheep groups, they recorded discernible differences.


A group of neurons called the sexually dimorphic nucleus in the preoptic hypothalamus of the heterosexual sheep were a different size than the neurons of the homosexual sheep. The preoptic hypothalamus is a region of the brain acknowledged to be involved in sexual behaviors and partner preferences. "Interestingly, this bundle of neurons is smaller in ewes and in rams with same-sex preferences than it is in rams that prefer ewes," said Kay Larkin, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in physiology and pharmacology in the OHSU School of Medicine, and lead author of the paper. "We also determined that the volume of the sexually dimorphic area is approximately the same in rams that prefer rams as it is in ewes."


"While we realize that sexuality is more complex in humans than reproductive behaviors in sheep, this model will help illuminate the basic principles that apply to all mammals, and may be helpful in understanding the biology of human behaviors as well," said Charles Roselli, Ph.D., professor of physiology and pharmacology in the OHSU School of Medicine and senior author of the paper.


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FSIS issued a notice to provide inspection program
personnel with instructions for performing verification of E. coli O157:H7 reassessment on November 4. This follows on the October 7, 2002 Federal Register notice, “E. coli O157:H7 Contamination of Beef Products.”  The Notice can be viewed at the following location:



The National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program is a coffer of $5 million authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill to help with the costs of organic certification. This aid is available to producers and handlers in the US as well as its territories, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Funds will be apportioned in proportion with the number of producers and handlers in the state. States reimburse up to 75% of the certification cost, up to $500.


Applications may be obtained from Robert Pooler, National Organic Program, USDA Stop 0268, Room 4008-S, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington D.C. 20250-0268, (202) 720-3252, (202) 205-7808 (fax), [email protected]. Learn more about the Program at




Rest assured that the federal government has the threat of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in mind. FDA has commissioned two studies to assess the human health risk of the disease. According to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, the agency is “aggressively pursuing innovative methods to expand research and direct assistance to states to fight the spread of CWD.”


HHS will likely spend over $29.2 million in the next fiscal year for expanded research on prion diseases. What’s more, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) allotted about $24.3 million for TSE research in this fiscal year, and $26.4 million for the next fiscal year. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an arm of NIH, awarded a seven-year contract for $8.4 million to Colorado State University to establish a disease research center dedicated to CWD. A Wall Street Journal report last week imparted that FDA will fund a $500,000 risk-assessment study to determine what the threat of CWD means for humans.


In an attempt to better understand the CWD threat, USDA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are reviewing medical records from Northeastern Colorado, as reported recently by Meat Processing. CWD has been present in that state for 35 years or more, and the government is trying to determine if there has been an increase in dementia or brain disease as a possible result of CWD contact.


While there is no evidence that CWD can affect people, the body of knowledge about the disease and its risks is diminutive. Dr. George Gray, acting director of the Center for Risk Analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health, said, “the problem is that our state of knowledge is incomplete.” See the July 29, August 12, and September 9 Lean Trimmings for more on CWD.


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NMA reports news items that are of special interest to our readers, and provide 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

November 11, 2002



Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced several personnel appointments at USDA last Thursday. The announcements include naming Mike Neruda as Senior Advisor to the Secretary for Homeland Security, Strategic Initiatives, and Dr. James G. Butler as Deputy Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. Additionally, Dr. Charles Lambert was named Deputy Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Services (MRS).

Dr. Charles "Chuck" Lambert will join USDA on December 2. He has served for over 15 years in various positions at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). His current position is chief economist for NCBA. According to a USDA new release, Lambert has broad experience in legislative and regulatory issues, as well as a solid background in economics, trade and marketing. At NCBA he co-staffs the policy division of the NCBA International Markets Committee and staffs the NCBA Live Cattle Marketing Council. He also has staffed the NCBA live cattle marketing committee and has extensive familiarity and issue management experience in industry structure and market conduct/performance issues including futures, packer concentration, "captive supplies," country-of-origin labeling and price reporting.


Lambert grew up on a dryland wheat, sorghum and cow-calf operation in West-Central Kansas. He later returned to the family operation and stayed on until 1979. Lambert earned a B.S. in Animal Science and an M.S. in Animal Science with a minor in Agricultural Economics from Kansas State University. His Ph.D. in Economics with specialty areas in agricultural policy and international trade was also earned at Kansas State University. In his new position, Dr. Lambert will be part of the USDA team that oversees and manages various plant and animal management issues, in addition to other farm and food issues, under the jurisdiction of the marketing and regulatory agency.


"We have a top notch team at USDA and these individuals have proven experience and extensive management skills that will help to further enhance already strong programs related to trade, animal and plant regulations, homeland security and strategic initiatives," Veneman said. "We appreciate the dedication and commitment of each of these individuals.” NMA congratulates the newest members of the USDA team, and anticipates long and fruitful working relationships with them.

Sunday, MARCH 2 - Wednesday, March 5, 2003





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from Shawna Thomas, NMA Government Affairs Liaison, Washington D.C.


It is less than a week post-midterm election and I know what you are all thinking, “How do these obviously controversial election results, affect me and my business?”


The Republicans now have control of the House, Senate and White House. For the meat industry, this is not necessarily a heavenly trinity, but it does give the industry and the NMA more of a chance of helping to facilitate change that is science-based and thoughtful, instead of just being dismissed as the bad guy.


The first thing to notice is that most of the National Meat Association’s Political Action Committee contributions went to candidates that won their seats. These are candidates who made themselves available to hear our side of contentious issues. Several of these NMA-supported candidates were in new districts or hotly contested areas, and we heartily congratulate them.


There is already speculation about how the White House will use this sudden shift of power to the Republicans to strengthen and extend some of its policies. The most pressing issue to the White House, according to the Washington Post and other media outlets, seems to be the economy, and with good reason. The economy could be Bush’s make or break issue come 2004. With Republicans in control, the meat industry’s economic concerns have a better chance of being considered.


Republican control is a positive step for our industry, but the industry cannot use it as an excuse to slack off on policing itself. The moment the media or consumer groups perceive the meat industry as breathing a sigh of relief over the Republican stronghold is the moment we are faced with even more controversy than ever. It gives groups like CSPI and its leaders even more ammunition for their arsenal. Everything that happens now will be in the climate of a Republican controlled federal government that will be wide open for blame when anything goes wrong.



An animal rights activists’ measure to turn animal “cruelty” into a felony in Arkansas was soundly defeated. The measure, which offered an equivocated definition of animal cruelty, had a sundry lot of opponents ranging from members of the medical community to hunters. The defeat of the measure is largely attributed to the investment of time and money by a coalition of farming and animal industry groups called “Arkansans For Responsible Animal Laws.”



The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) that concerns potential changes to its current regulation prohibiting the use of certain proteins in ruminant animal feed in the Federal Register last week. Comments must be sent within ninety calendar days from the posting, by February 46, 2003. 


FDA is soliciting information and comments concerning any of the following five aspects of the BSE feed regulation: excluding brain and spinal cord from rendered animal products, use of poultry litter in cattle feed, use of pet food in ruminant feed, preventing cross-contamination, and elimination of the plate waste exemption. Electronic comments may be sent to Written comments may be mailed to the Dockets Management Branch (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. For a copy of the Federal Register notice and the Olsson, Frank and Weeda memo on this topic, contact Kiran Kernellu at [email protected] or (510) 763-1533.