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

February 18, 2003




“This great industry has a wonderful story to tell about the many things it is doing to make meat as safe as is humanly possible for consumers to eat,” said NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow. All too often, our industry chooses not to speak to reporters because of the previous biased stories that they have told, and the industry’s position goes untold. As a consequence, the story runs only with the voice of our critics, and the public is left to speculate why we have no comment. We need to be prepared and trained to communicate our story and, like it or not, journalists are a good medium through which we can communicate with the public. 


Journalists ask tough questions. That’s their business! At our Convention in Las Vegas, we have asked an expert communicator, Fred LaCosse, to lead a special “Media Training with Fred La Cosse” session.  He has conducted more than 1,800 news media training seminars since 1981, and will show audience members how to handle those difficult, intimidating questions that reporters often use when they interview spokespersons.


There is no extra charge for this truly educational event, but participants are asked to register in advance.  Some of our members participated in such a session in Monterey a few years ago, and found it not only fun but a huge learning experience.  The training session will occur on Tuesday, March 4, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. 


Come and learn about the techniques of getting your story told through the media in this special session.  Just send your name and company to [email protected] or fax her at 510-763-6186.  After listening to Fred, he will interview many of the participants on video, and you’ll all learn from the feedback! 




At its 57th Annual Convention and MEATXPO ’03, NMA will hold a roundtable seminar, one of 12 during the four-day event, entitled “Telling the Meat Industry Story.” Moderated by Fred LaCosse, veteran news anchor, reporter, and talk show host, the seminar is designed to not only encourage members of the industry to reach out to the media, but to educate them on the best means to do so.


Panelists on the roundtable include: Shawna Thomas, NMA Government Relations Liaison; Steve Harper, Senior Vice President, Perishables, H.E. Butt; Keith Nunes, Editor, Meat & Poultry Magazine; C.J. Reynolds, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Silliker Laboratories; and Jackie Olden, Jackie Olden Productions. La Cosse, Nunes and Olden, highly-experienced members of the media, and the other panelists, all of whom have direct and frequent contact with the media, will discuss how we can best relay the excellent work that we’ve been doing, and the positive benefits of ongoing innovations in food safety we work towards daily.


Roundtable seminars are open to all attendees. Roundtables are interactive and audience participation through questions and sharing of knowledge is welcome.




Information about NMA’S 57th Annual Convention and MEATXPO ’03 is available online at: Contact NMA at 510-763-1533 or [email protected] for additional information.


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The American Lamb Board announced it is holding a strategic planning meeting in Denver, CO at the Denver Airport Marriott-Gateway Park, February 23 through 25, 2003. The meeting will be from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, ending at noon on Tuesday.  The meeting is open to the public and the agenda will allow for public comment at 8:00 a.m. each morning.

Board Chairman Tom Kourlis said, “We will be announcing the launch of our 2003 American lamb promotion campaign and developing programs for future promotional efforts for the lamb industry.” The Board means to maximize effective spending of the check-off funds on the direct promotion of American lamb products while minimizing administrative expenses.  The Board will be announcing more details following the Denver meeting. For additional information, contact Margaret Magruder, Board Secretary at 503-728-2945.



The American Sheep Industry (ASI) Association announced approximately 230 U.S. sheep industry members from across the country attended the ASI 2003 “Capital Advantage” Convention in Washington, D.C., Feb. 6-8, 2003.


“Convention highlights included the presentation of the association's annual Wool Performance Report to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator A.J. Yates, a panel discussion with several members of the recently seated American Lamb Board, and a presentation by Robert DuPree, vice president of government relations for the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI), regarding the challenges of the U.S. textile industry.

“In his Feb. 7 presentation of the Wool Performance Report to Administrator Yates, outgoing ASI President and Wyoming sheep producer, Frank Moore, noted the association's many accomplishments, and the important role USDA played in helping ASI achieve its goals. ‘We highlighted the strong partnership of ASI and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on behalf of the nation's sheep industry during this meeting and worked on existing and new programs,’ said Moore. ‘The board also discussed the Farm Service Agency programs with Deputy Under Secretary of Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Dr. Jim Butler and USDA/Animal Plant Health Inspection Service's scrapie control and Wildlife Services programs with Under Secretary of Agriculture Bill Hawks,’” according to a press release on the convention.

The Convention also provided a forum and venue for producers from across the country to discuss current trends and issues of the sheep industry. “A large number of participants made impactful visits to their congressional leaders on the Hill to keep them informed on the topics of priority to our industry, such as drought-aid, funding for scrapie eradication and trade issues.” There were presentations from many organizations, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service, Agricultural Marketing Service and Farm Service Agency, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, the American Lamb Board and the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center.

Look for complete details and pictures from the conference in the combined March/April edition of the Sheep Industry News.


Sunday, MARCH 2- Wednesday, March 5, 2003



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Reuters recently reported that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sponsored the design team of Gaelyn and Cianfarani in a fashion show. Their wares included tops made of recycled bicycle inner tubes, skirts of rubber flounces and strips, and pants made of recycled rubber. Reportedly, the design team sought out alternatives to leather and animal skins.


“You can create looks that kill without killing animals,” said PETA Vice President Dan Mathews in the report. But PETA probably did not do so with the fashion show it sponsored. According to the American National Cattlewomen, Inc. website (, cattle by-products are used to make tires and synthetic rubber.


In fact, the site lists over 25 products that contain cattle constituents. Many of these products have a direct positive impact on human health. Visit to learn more about the many ways in which cattle enrich our lives.



USA Today recently reported federal government leaders, including 18 members of Congress, simulated an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) at National Defense University at Fort McNair. Last Tuesday’s drill was to “demonstrate what might happen if a terrorist attack were aimed not at humans, but at U.S. agriculture.”

While FMD hasn’t arisen in the U.S. since 1929, the virus is of concern for its ability to quickly produce high levels of contagion. “Foot-and-mouth disease is by far our biggest threat and worry,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory Gardner, Kansas Adjutant General and Director of Emergency Management, in the report. Reportedly, an outbreak on one farm would prompt a quarantine in a 6-mile circle, he said, and a 1 1/2-mile-diameter “kill zone” in which all susceptible animals would have to be destroyed.

An outbreak “would not be a local event,” Thomas McGinn, Assistant State Veterinarian with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, said in the report. Further, since thousands of animals are transported across state lines every day, “any kind of foreign animal disease … would be all over the country.”


Reuters reported last week that Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) has hit four more commercial poultry farms in Southern California, bringing the total to 12 commercial poultry farms affected with END. The virus has been found in infected flocks in Nevada and Arizona, as well. The origin of the outbreak is not known.

According to the report, about 1,600 state and federal officials are randomly stopping cars and going door-to-door in search of infected birds in the three states. Infected flocks are strictly quarantined and destroyed. So far, 2.4 million birds have been destroyed or are scheduled for euthanasia, according to the Los Angeles Times. reported yesterday that California officials have begun surveying and sampling all flocks in Central and Northern California, as a major part of the state’s poultry business is in the former region. Larry Cooper, spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture said in the report that the outbreak has cost the state some $35 million, most of which was used to fight the disease and compensate farmers for destroyed birds. California’s poultry business, the largest among the three affected states, harvests about $3 billion annually.




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!


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Honorable Allen Boyd, (D-FL)

Honorable Rosa DeLauro, (D-CT)

Honorable Sam Farr, (D-CA)

Honorable Maurice D. Hinchey, (D-NY)

Honorable Marcy Kaptur, (D-OH)




NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow was awarded ABC Research Corporation’s Distinguished Industry Service Award in Orlando, FL today as part of the ABC Research Corporation 29th Annual Technical Seminar. Congratulations!


NMA reports news items that are of special interest to its 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.



MARCH 5-6, 2003!




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

February 18, 2003




“In September, the Food Safety and Inspection Service announced a directive that required all beef slaughter establishments to reexamine their food safety strategies in light of evidence that E. coli O157:H7 was more prevalent in live animals than was previously thought.


“As part of the directive, the largest plants, about 130, are now undergoing examinations of their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans to determine whether they are scientifically valid and are being carried out conscientiously. The examinations are being conducted by FSIS Consumer Safety Officers, a special group of inspectors created in the past two years who are intensively trained in the science of HACCP. The examination of HACCP plans is part of FSIS’ continuing commitment to proactive steps designed to protect public health by strengthening pathogen prevention practices.


“Thus far, 35 plants have been reviewed. In about 21 of the reviews, inspectors have asked for further scientific documentary information regarding processes being employed to prevent or eliminate food safety hazards. Such information is required by FSIS in order to ensure that the food safety plans implemented by these establishments are scientifically sound and can have a maximum impact in protecting public health.


“In response to questions from reporters during a news conference on Feb. 4, both USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Elsa Murano and FSIS Administrator Dr. Garry L. McKee made it clear that the additional questions involved ‘scientific and design issues’ related to HACCP plans. The plants have responded to FSIS questions in writing in keeping with FSIS regulatory requirements.”




Both Dr. Merle Pierson, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety at USDA, and Dr. Garry McKee, Administrator of FSIS, will speak at NMA’s 57th Annual Convention in Las Vegas. Pierson is to speak immediately after lunch on Monday, March 3; McKee will participate in a Round Table on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 5, and will speak to NMA’s Board of Directors later that afternoon. All members are invited to listen to his remarks at the Board meeting.


Deputy Administrator of Agricultural Marketing Service’s Livestock & Seed Division Program Barry Carpenter will speak to various committees on Sunday, March 2 and will participate in the Round Table on COOL on Monday, March 3. Donna Reifschneider, Administrator of Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) will participate in the Round Table on Industry Consolidation on Tuesday, March 4. Several other FSIS and APHIS staff will attend and participate in events.




NMA was a signatory, along with 23 other organizations, of a letter to President George W. Bush regarding poultry, pork, and beef trade with Russia. “Unfortunately, and despite the Administration’s best efforts, the outlook for poultry, pork, and beef trade with Russia continues to deteriorate,” according to the letter. Contact Kiran Kernellu at [email protected] or 510-763-1533 for a copy.


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FSIS has updated its Repeat Violators list, which contains the names and addresses of parties responsible for repeat drug, pesticide, or chemical violations in animals presented for slaughter. The list is available at:


Through its notice, “FSIS Procedures for Notification of New Technology,” the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced that in regards to “new procedures for meat and poultry official establishments, egg products official plants, and companies that manufacture and sell technology to official establishments and plants,” these organizations must “notify the Agency of any new technology intended for use in official establishments and plants, so that the Agency has an opportunity to decide whether the new technology requires a pre-use review. If a new technology could affect product safety, FSIS regulations, inspection procedures, or the safety of Federal inspection program personnel, FSIS will advise the firm that a pre-use review is necessary.” Further, “The Agency will cancel FSIS Directive 10,700.1, ‘Guidelines For Preparing and Submitting Experimental Protocols for In-Plant Trials of New Technologies and Procedures,’ and ‘Guidelines For Preparing Experimental Protocols for In-plant Trials of New Technologies and Procedures,’ and issue a revised directive.”


“The Agency believes that facilitation of the use of new technology represents an important means of improving the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products.” FSIS is requesting comments on these new procedures by April 14, 2003. Submit one original and two copies of written comments within the scope of the rulemaking to the FSIS Docket Room, Docket 00-011N, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Room 102, Cotton Annex, 300 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700. For further information contact Charles Edwards, Director, Technology Program Development Staff, Office of Policy, Program Development, and Evaluation, FSIS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Room 112, Cotton Annex Building, 300 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20250-3700; telephone (202) 205-0675, fax (202) 205-0080. Access the Notice on the Web at:


FSIS released its Draft Listeria monocytogenes Risk Assessment February 14, 2003. The draft risk assessment “could lead to reductions in illnesses and deaths associated with the pathogen. The risk assessment allows for the evaluation of various control measures in the production of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products and is an important step as the agency moves toward final rulemaking.” The Agency has called for comments on this draft risk assessment by February 21, 2003, and will hold a public meeting on February 26, 2003, to discuss and seek input on the draft.


“FSIS has worked diligently to gather the extensive scientific data necessary to develop a predictive risk assessment model,” said Dr. Elsa A. Murano, Under Secretary for Food Safety. “This model will lead us to strategies to further reduce the number of illnesses caused each year by Listeria monocytogenes. By allowing us to evaluate factors that potentially contribute to the overall risk to public health, this risk assessment will give FSIS scientific confidence that new policies will be effective as we move toward rulemaking.”

According to a press release, “[t]hrough use of the model, FSIS discovered that a combination of testing, sanitation and interventions yielded greater benefits than any one strategy alone. The risk assessment also demonstrated that the use of intervention steps, such as post-packaging pasteurization or the introduction of growth inhibitors, showed dramatic public health benefits.”

FSIS conducted the risk assessment to develop solid information on: the relationship between the prevalence and level of generic Listeria on food contact surfaces; the prevalence and level of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products; the public health impact of different concentrations of Listeria monocytogenes in product; and the ability of testing programs, sanitation processes and intervention steps to mitigate the public health risk associated with Listeria monocytogenes


Access the draft risk assessment at:

Access the meeting notice at:

Access the Risk Analysis backgrounder at:


NMA members interested in obtaining a memo summarizing the draft risk assessment from Olsson, Frank & Weeda please contact Kiran Kernellu at [email protected] or 510-763-1533.