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

December 2, 2002




NMA has heard concerns from its members about the impact on product quality that FSIS changes to interpretation of results of E. coli O157:H7 testing are likely to have. The changes become effective December 7, 2002 and FSIS has asked to receive comments by this date. This clearly suggests that FSIS does not intend to modify its stated interpretation based on comments it receives, and this is quite frankly discouraging, since it reflects a return to traditional “command and control” attitudes by USDA. 


NMA has discussed with FSIS officials the way in which much non-intact beef product is traded in commerce. In summary, non-intact beef, often trimmings, or cuts of lean meat, of known lean/fat ratio, are traded in 2000-pound combo bins or in boxes. A sample is taken from each of 5 combos, composited, or a designated lot of boxes, and tested at a third-party laboratory while the product is on the road. In the past, the receiving establishment has accepted the lot if the test is reported negative, or worked out disposition (cooking, rendering) with the seller if the test is reported positive.


Because of the changes in interpretation by FSIS, the responsibility for testing and disposition is pushed back to the seller. As a result, the companies producing the combo bins or boxes may have decided to implement a “test and hold” system. This would delay shipping the product until it had received a negative sample result. Most negative results are reported in 48 hours, but this is two days of freshness on the product waiting to be shipped, even under the best conditions.


FSIS has clarified for NMA that FSIS Notice 37-01, dated September 5, 2001, provides that “product may move to another location pending completion of preshipment review as long as the review of appropriate documents (e.g. the results of the sample) and compliance with CFR 417.5© occurs before the product leaves the control of the producing establishment.” It is conceivable that, in order to unload combos or boxes that are part of a lot that reported negative, one or more combos or boxes that are part of a lot that tested positive will have to be moved temporarily to the dock at the receiving establishment in order to get them out. The documentation to show that this is occurring and that both the products from a lot testing negative have completed preshipment review and are released to the buyer and the product from a lot testing positive are returned to the trailer will be critical. Again, product that tests positive will be under the jurisdiction of the shipping establishment to determine its disposition. These transactions do not call for involvement of USDA inspectors at the receiving establishment.


This is a practical solution that will help assure product quality/freshness while also confirming a test for product safety. It is absolutely essential that appropriate documentation be maintained by the shipping establishment to show that it has control of the product and has released it only when it has a negative test. Also, a trailer load of product will likely include several lots, and documentation to separate any lot that tests positive and arrange proper disposition will be equally essential.




Cattle Buyers Weekly has put out its annual ranking of the Top 30 Beef Packers. To get your copy, contact Steve Kay at P.O. Box 2533, Petaluma, CA 94953; (707) 765-1725; fax (707) 765-6069; e-mail [email protected].


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According to the Arizona Daily Wildcat, beef, and milk can mitigate the risk of cancer. Research being conducted at the University of Arizona shows that milk and beef might help in the prevention of breast, stomach and skin cancers. With the help of animal science, it was discovered that the fat in milk and beef contains cancer-preventing components.

Although CLA has only been tested on lab animals, the evidence that it could prevent cancer in humans is pretty convincing, said Lance Baumgard, assistant professor of animal science at the University of Arizona. Reportedly, the most potent anticarcinogen, found in trace amounts in milk and beef, is a group of fatty acids called conjugated linoleic acids or CLA. Because of its cancer-preventing power, CLA has been the subject of extensive research and has been found to prevent the uncontrolled cell growth that causes cancer.

CLA is naturally produced by "ruminant" animals, which have a digestive system that can break down certain plants. Ruminant animals include cattle, sheep, goats and deer. These animals can change the composition of plant materials, resulting in CLA being formed. Animal science graduate students Hank Hafliger and Octavio Mendivil are feeding cows different amounts of vitamin E to increase CLA concentrations. Hafliger examines CLA levels in cow milk and Mendivil studies it in beef.

If their research can prove that it is possible to increase CLA levels in milk and beef, and studies continue to show the healthful benefits of CLA, public demand for CLA-enhanced dairy and meat products will increase, Mendivil said. Meanwhile, CLA can be purchased in health food stores as a dietary supplement, according to Baumgard.
CLA can be an immune system stimulant for people with HIV and others with weakened immune systems. It might also help in the prevention of heart disease and diabetes, decrease body fat and alleviate symptoms of lupus.


The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and OSHA announced that they will work in concert to inform small businesses of new ergonomics guidelines. According to a press release, earlier this year, OSHA announced a comprehensive approach to ergonomics designed to reduce ergonomic injuries through a combination of guidelines, enforcement, outreach, assistance, and research. As part of the outreach and assistance efforts, Advocacy, OSHA, and the SBA’s National Ombudsman have formed a partnership outlined in an agreement November 21, which formalizes Advocacy’s role in helping to inform small business owners of the new guidelines. The agreement also makes clear OSHA and the Ombudsman’s role in listening and responding to the concerns of small business owners.

“We’re pleased to be partners with OSHA and the SBA’s Ombudsman in their efforts to reach small business as OSHA develops new industry-specific ergonomic guidelines,” said Thomas M. Sullivan, Chief Counsel for Advocacy. “With the new guidelines and this agreement, OSHA can take a big step in listening to the concerns of small business. The old adversarial model will be replaced with outreach and education. This new step towards cooperation is great news for small business owners and their employees alike," he said. "OSHA welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the SBA to help millions of small businesses across the country reduce ergonomic hazards in their workplaces," said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. "This partnership enables us to better educate the small business community about the assistance that is available to them and learn from their input and feedback on our efforts." National Ombudsman Michael Barrera and his office work closely with OSHA on enforcement of workplace safety regulations. "The goal of our office is to shift the regulatory enforcement environment upon small businesses from a 'gotcha' mentality to a 'help you' attitude. This agreement does that by focusing on education over enforcement and compliance over confrontation," said Barrera. Mr. Barrera was a participant at NMA’s 2002 Convention and remains open to hearing ideas about how to enhance government and industry relations.


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The National Post reported that Canadian and U.S. food guidelines designed to encourage people to eat healthily are flawed, based on a new study from researchers at Harvard School of Public Health. If the U.S. Food Pyramid, which closely resembles Health Canada's Food Guide chart, were revised it would significantly reduce the number of people dying from heart attacks, strokes and other chronic diseases, according to scientists at the university. "The Food Pyramid is tremendously flawed," said Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. "[The old food pyramid] says all fats are bad; all complex carbohydrates are good; all protein sources offer the same nutrition; and dairy should be eaten in high amounts. None of this is accurate," said Willett.


So, Willett has designed a new health pyramid after assessing the diets of more than 100,000 men and women in the United States. Men and women whose diet most closely followed the new guidelines lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by 39% and 28% respectively, he said. The researchers found that men whose diet followed the guidelines lowered their overall risk of major chronic disease by 20% and women lowered their overall risk by 11%. Using the old U.S. pyramid, the researchers found the overall risk reduction was 11% for men and 3% for women.


"The current [U.S.] guidelines, as displayed in the government food guide pyramid, [emphasize] large amounts of carbohydrates, [don't] make a distinction between types of fat or protein and [lump] red meat, chicken, nuts and legumes together," Willett said. Willett's new guidelines differ from the old pyramid and the Canadian chart in the way they treat grains, meats and oils. His pyramid also maintains that alcohol in moderation can be healthy.


Additionally, Willett's pyramid differentiates between whole grain foods (which he recommends eating at most meals) and white rice, white bread, potatoes, pasta and sweets, which he says should be eaten sparingly. The Willett pyramid also makes a distinction between fish, poultry and red meat. "In our study we gave people credits for consuming fish and poultry,” said Marjorie McCullough, a nutritional epidemiologist who worked with Willett on the study.


One of the most common mistakes people make when trying to eat healthily is getting rid of fat in their diet, Willett said. "Not all fats are bad and, in fact, some should be required in any diet. Mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in foods such as nuts, avocados, fish, olives and most oils help lower 'bad' cholesterol levels without affecting 'good' cholesterol levels," he said in an interview with a Harvard magazine. The U.S. pyramid puts fats and oils at the top and advises to consume them sparingly. "The Willett's pyramid considers sources of fat as good," said McCullough.




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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Bill Kaney was a man larger than life! He loved his family, he worked hard in his business, he supported the industry organizations, and by supporting, we mean he really got involved! He was a leader among leaders. Times were good for Bill Kaney, and sometimes they were tough, but he never lost his optimism, and he was forever aspiring to better things. He was proud of his family, and lived near them and their business, Cattaneo Bros. in San Luis Obispo, with his loving wife, Betty, to the end of his rich and long life. We have no doubt that Bill Kaney will be organizing better things in what awaits us after mortal death on earth. To his family, we extend our deepest sympathy in the loss of their beloved patriarch last Thursday morning. The world has lost a wise and caring man.


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.


Sunday, MARCH 2 - Wednesday, March 5






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

December 2, 2002



The Associated Press (AP) reported today that a Carnival cruise ship returned from a three-day voyage Monday carrying nearly 200 people sickened by a gastrointestinal virus, with symptoms similar to those plaguing other cruise liners. 190 passengers and four crew members on the Fascination reported vomiting and diarrhea, but experts have not yet confirmed whether they had a Norwalk-like virus, said Tim Gallagher, a Carnival Corp. spokesman. Norwalk-like viruses have beset more than 1,000 people on other cruise ships in the past few months, including Holland America Line's Amsterdam and Disney Cruise Line's Magic. Both of these companies cancelled voyages to disinfect their ships, a process that includes spraying or wiping down surfaces with solutions of bleach or other chemicals and steam cleaning or throwing away items like pillows and books that cannot be disinfected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is overseeing the cleaning of the Fascination.

The Norwalk virus causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and sometimes fever and headache. A November 28, 2002 New York Times article relayed that despite recent outbreaks of gastrointestinal illness on cruise ships, federal health officials were cited as pronouncing the ships safe and said they would not advise people to delay or avoid taking cruises. The officials were further cited as saying that passengers could avoid illness by washing their hands frequently and keeping their hands out of their mouths.

Infected people who do not wash their hands after using the toilet can contaminate surfaces they touch, such as handrails and door handles, which in turn may infect other people who touch the same surfaces and put their hands in their mouths or eat without first washing their hands. The virus may be able to survive on surfaces for weeks, said Dr. Marc Widdowson, a scientist at the CDC.

Part of the problem on ships, David Forney, an expert on vessel sanitation said, may be that people who have booked cruises and then feel ill at departure time may not want to cancel, and so they board anyway. “Well, you may have just introduced Norwalk virus onto the ship,” he said. He added that it was important for passengers to tell medical departments on the ship if they became sick, but said that they might be reluctant to do so for fear of being confined to their cabins after having paid large sums of money for the trip.


Another ship, the Amsterdam, owned by the Holland America line, was kept in port recently for disinfection, as it had more than 500 passengers and crew members fall ill with the Norwalk virus on its last four cruises. It was held at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale for 10 days to be disinfected, and departed on a 10-day Caribbean cruise Sunday with 1,261 passengers. “We are very confident that we have broken the cycle,” said Rose Abello, a Holland America spokeswoman. “Can we guarantee that nobody will ever get sick? Absolutely not.” Passengers on other Holland America ships, the Ryndam and Statendam, have also contracted the Norwalk-like virus on recent cruises.


Outbreaks of the Norwalk virus are common in places where many people live in close quarters for extended periods, like nursing homes, hospitals, army bases and camps. According to the AP report, the illness is seasonal, peaking in the colder months, and is not uncommon, said Dr. Steven Wiersma, Florida state epidemiologist. “We've already seen some (cases) in Florida -- this is not just a cruise ship issue,” he said. The number of gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships has declined since 1990, according to CDC estimates.


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On November 26, 2002, FSIS issued two notices. The first, Notice 50-02, ISP Procedure Code for Humane Slaughter, provides the appropriate Inspection System Procedure (ISP) code for humane slaughter for use by inspection program personnel in cattle, sheep, swine and equine establishments. The notice is available at:

The second, Notice 51-02, Third Party Equipment and Utensil Inspection and Certification Programs for the Meat and Poultry Processing Industry, provides additional information that FSIS inspection program personnel may find helpful in their day-to-day assessment of equipment used in Federally-inspected establishments. The notice is available at:

Additionally, comments on the E. coli O157:H7 Contamination of Beef Products Notice are due December 6, 2002. The notice, which was published in the Federal Register October 7, 2002, informs manufacturers of beef products of the Agency's views about the application of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system regulations to contamination with E. coli O157:H7. The notice is available at:

The lists of plants eligible to export fresh meat to the European Union (EU) and eligible to export meat and poultry products to Mexico have been updated in the Export Library on the FSIS web site. Access the eligible plant list for fresh meat to the EU at: Access the eligible plant list for Mexico at:




The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Contaminants and Natural Toxicants Subcommittee of the Food Advisory Committee will be holding a meeting on December 4th and 5th to discuss acrylamide in food.  At the meeting, FDA will present its draft action plan for acrylamide, revised to reflect comment from the September 30, 2002, public meeting, and will also present preliminary data on acrylamide levels in foods.  FDA will seek input on the draft action plan, on research and analysis needs, and on exposure and toxicology issues. A summary from Olsson, Frank & Weeda will be made available shortly after the meeting. Contact Kiran Kernellu at (510) 763-1533 or [email protected] for a copy of the Federal Register notice on this topic.




The sale of Burger King fell through just a few weeks before  the buy. The fast-food chain’s owner, Diageo PLC, announced that it was reopening negotiations with potential buyers late last month. According to a report in, Burger Kings’s recent sales slump may have stymied the buy. It was reported that the consortium Texas Pacific Group sought to reduce its winning bid. The acquisition will not be completed on the terms agreed to this summer.




The International HACCP Alliance has a new page called “Educational Materials” on its website (, which lists links to member sites offering educational products, such as manuals, videos, and software. Contact Misty Skaggs by e-mail at [email protected]  for more information.