NATIONAL MEAT ASSOCIATION h 1970 Broadway, Suite 825, Oakland, CA 94612
Edited by Kiran Kernellu
July 28, 2003
Our sister organization, Southwest Meat Association, held its annual convention in San Antonio, TX last week. It had an outstanding turnout, lots of good substance in its meeting program, and as always, it was a great event for fun and family. NMA’s Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow spoke about COOL, spelling it HOT in San Antonio in August. A copy of her presentation will be posted on NMA’s website later this week. NMA is pleased to work closely with SMA on many of today’s industry issues. They’re good people!
We were reminded, while attending both SMA’s Convention and the Summer Conference of NCBA last week, that no single issue dominates the top of mind of meat slaughterers and processors. In fact, it is a real juggling game to prioritize issues, because it varies at every company.
NMA believes it can best serve our members’ interests this year at our popular Industry Meeting, a two-hour session at the Summer Conference in Lake Geneva, WI, on Friday morning, August 22, by providing a series of cutting edge, information-packed 15-minute sessions from highly informed individuals. The subject matter of each of eight such sessions, within a 2-hour time frame, is broad and comprehensive. There will be plenty of time for attendees to follow up with presenters in greater detail during the remainder of the conference. With heads reeling from this jam-packed session, our guest speaker at lunch is Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elsa Murano, and she’s no slouch when it comes to telling it like it is!
There’s still time to register for NMA’s Summer Conference! For more information, contact NMA at 510-763-1533 or [email protected]. We look forward to seeing you in Lake Geneva!
State Compensation Insurance Fund, the dominant leader of California’s workers comp insurance, will engage the services of a third party to not only review the different perspectives regarding State Fund’s reserve adequacy but also maintain and assure the continuation of public confidence. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ audit and the California Department of Insurance opined that State Fund should increase its reserve to $9.8 billion. State Fund currently has $8.8 billion in claims reserve. State Fund’s Appointed Actuary, Milliman USA, stated that State Fund’s reserves were reasonable, in conformity with actuarial standards and the requirements of California insurance law. State Fund agrees with this opinion. It also declares it remains solvent and will continue to provide benefits to injured workers.
The issue of exorbitant workers’ comp costs coupled with a flawed system continues to cause huge concerns for more than a half million employers and 13 million workers. California members, whether insured by State Fund or not, are urged to make those phone calls to legislators and weigh in on the issue.
All Members Are Invited To Join Us For NMA’s 2003 SUMMER CONFERENCE and REGULATORY UPDATE & ISSUES SEMINAR!
GRAND GENEVA RESORT & SPA, LAKE GENEVA, WI
The deadline for the $189 double/single room rate has been extended to July 28, 2003! Contact the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa at 800-558-3417 or 262-248-8811 to reserve your room at the group rate!
Canada NewsWire reported last Friday that McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited announced that it is converting its beef supply to 100% Canadian beef as an interim move to further support the Canadian beef industry. McDonald’s Canada is the largest purchaser of Canadian beef in the restaurant industry and reportedly a long-time supporter of the Canadian beef industry. The company has worked closely with its Canadian beef supplier to begin the conversion immediately.
Previously, 70% to 80% of the beef purchased for use in McDonald’s Canadian locations had been sourced from Canada. Last year McDonald’s Canada purchased more than 60 million pounds of
beef to serve over 1,300 restaurants nationwide. Since 2001, McDonald’s Canada augmented its native beef supply with supplements from Australia and New Zealand.
Bill Johnson, Chairman, President and CEO of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited, said in the NewsWire report,
“At McDonald’s Canada, we fully understand the devastating impact of the recent BSE situation on the beef industry here in Canada. We’re sensitive to the needs of our customers, Canadian cattle ranchers, and the communities across the country that have been affected by the situation. While we already source the vast majority of our beef from right here in Canada, we want to do even more to help.
“As always, McDonald’s Canada is fully committed to supporting local economies. In fact, since the BSE incident in May, our exclusive beef supplier has not made any off-shore beef purchases and we are pleased to extend that practice during these difficult times. We anticipate that over the next few weeks, all of the beef patties served in our Canadian restaurants will be made from 100 percent pure Canadian beef - and as always, no additives and no fillers at McDonald’s.”
For more information about McDonald’s Canada, visit its website at: http://www.mcdonalds.ca./.
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!
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:
NMA has available two videotapes on animal handling, “Animal Stunning for Stunners,” and “Animal Handling in Meat Plants.” NMA members may purchase these videos at a discounted price. Please contact Julie Ramsey at [email protected] or 510-763-1533 for more information.
Last week we mistakenly listed the International HACCP Alliance’s fax number as it’s phone number. Contact the International HACCP Alliance office at 979-862-3643.
We apologize for the inconvenience!
Last Thursday, the Canadian government amended its food and animal health regulations to prohibit the sale or import for sale of food products containing specified risk materials (SRM) from countries that aren’t BSE-free, effective August 23, 2003. In its federally registered establishments, a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) directive will mandate the immediate removal of SRMs, which in cattle 30 months or older are defined as the skull, brain, trigeminal ganglia (nerves attached to the brain), eyes, tonsils, spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia (nerves attached to the spinal cord). In cattle of all ages, the distal ileum (portion of the small intestine) is considered a SRM. The regulations also prohibit the use of the vertebral column in cattle aged 30 months or older for mechanically separated meat or finely textured meat. Details about how each SRM must be removed and disposed, and how that removal must be verified, is offered in regulations amending the Food and Drug Regulations, and Health of Animals Regulations, and Meat Hygiene Directive #2003-18. For more information, visit the CFIA website at:
FOOD SAFETY RISK ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE
Last Friday, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elsa Murano announced the establishment of a Food Safety Risk Assessment Committee to enhance coordination and communication among various USDA agencies in planning and conducting activities related to risk assessments. This action is part of continuing food safety initiatives. The new risk assessment committee will combine the expertise of several USDA agencies to build a solid scientific basis on which to base regulatory and policy decisions.
“The use of risk assessment has allowed USDA to focus its resources on those hazards along the farm-to-table continuum that pose the greatest risk to public health,” Dr. Murano said during remarks to the Southwest Meat Association. “Each agency involved in this new committee brings a specific expertise to ensure that our research, regulatory and public outreach resources achieve greater public health benefits.”
The committee is charged with prioritizing risk assessments; identifying research needs; identifying needs for modeling techniques, methods or data; providing guidance related to carrying out risk assessments, including addressing issues such as data quality and peer review; and identifying outside experts and/or universities to assist in the development of risk assessments.
UPCOMING NMA SEMINARS
August 20 – Regulatory Update & Issues Seminar – Lake Geneva, WI
August 21-23 - Basic HACCP in Spanish -- Los Angeles, CA
September 18-20 - Basic HACCP -- San Francisco, CA
October 1-2 - Beyond Basics -- College Station, TX
Contact NMA at (510) 763-1533 for more information and registration materials.
CSO/FSRE PROGRAM FOR INDUSTRY
The International HACCP Alliance is offering a condensed version of the USDA/FSIS Consumer Safety Officer (CSO) Educational Program and the Food Safety Regulatory Essentials (FSRE) program. The session will focus on the CSO Work Methods and Administrative Enforcement Activities of the Consumer Safety Officer and the FSRE program will focus on elements being taught to inspectors from FSIS Directive 5000.1, Revision 1. The session is designed to allow industry to develop a better understanding of these two educational programs and the roles of the trained personnel within the Agency.
Date: August 12-15, 2003
Location: Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Fee: $95 per person
The program is limited to 75 participants and will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Contact the International HACCP Alliance office at 979-862-3643 for more information. Registration materials and course information may also be obtained by contacting NMA Communications Manager Kiran Kernellu at 510-763-1533 or [email protected].
NMA’S 2003 SUMMER CONFERENCE
All members are invited to attend NMA’s 2003 Summer Conference! Download a copy of the brochure, which includes a registration form, for the Conference at: http://www.nmaonline.org/files/brochure-word.pdf. Download a registration form for the Regulatory Issues & Update Seminar at: http://www.nmaonline.org/files/Regulatory Update _ Issues Seminar-2.pdf. Contact us at [email protected] or 510-763-1533 to receive materials for both events by fax, e-mail or mail.
EATING PATTERNS AND OBESITY
ACS News Today reported last Friday that research suggests that there may be more to weight control than just eating right and exercising. Citing a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 158, No. 1: 85-92), the report relayed that researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that eating patterns, i.e. frequency of meals, skipping meals, and eating out, also may play a role in obesity, and as a risk factor for some cancers. “You really need to spread your calories across your day and eat your breakfast,” said lead researcher Yunsheng Ma, Ph.D., an epidemiologist in the medical school’s Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, in the report. This is because spreading out the calories by eating frequently and not skipping meals helps stabilize insulin levels in the blood, and that, in turn, helps control hunger and how fat is deposited in the body, according to Ma.
Ma and his colleagues found that participants who ate four or more times during the day were 45% less likely to be obese than those who ate three times a day or less. Eating fewer, larger meals may cause insulin to spike, which could cause more blood sugar to be stored as fat. Skipping breakfast was also associated with obesity. Participants who routinely skipped breakfast were more than four times as likely to be obese as those who ate breakfast regularly. “People who skip meals are more likely to overeat at another time,” Ma said in the report. Skipping a meal lowers blood sugar, which triggers hunger, he explained. Finally, eating in restaurants was the third factor that seemed to play a role in obesity. Participants who frequently ate breakfast or dinner in restaurants had about two times the risk of being obese as those who ate these meals at home. “Everything is super-sized, so you have a lot and you don’t want to waste food, so you eat what you’re given,” he said in the report.
NATIONAL MEAT ASSOCIATION
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
July 28, 2003
Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN) is expected to introduce a legislative amendment to COOL, which has gained the nickname “COOL Lite.” The amendment would change some requirements in USDA’s proposed guidelines, including an elimination of the verifiable record-keeping audit trail, removing the prohibition on using a mandatory identification system, and lowering the non-compliance fines from $10,000 to $100 for first offenses. NMA understands that the legislation will not be introduced in August, as previously planned.
Rep. Peterson’s legislation addresses the concerns he’s heard locally from producers, processors and consumers. “Now is the time to put a system in place that will keep our consumers confident in the food supply and to improve animal health,” he said in a press release. “This is not an Appropriations Committee issue, it’s an Agriculture Committee issue,” Peterson said. “These are issues that we should be dealing with in our committee. This process is backwards, but the only way we’re going to get it fixed is to do it in the Agriculture Committee.” Peterson supported the amendment to fund COOL despite concerns about the legislation.
“It’s time for us to keep better track of our livestock as they cross borders,” Peterson said. “We have the legislative ability, we have the tools necessary, and this is something we should be doing.” For instance, Rep. Peterson cited the fact that Canadians currently have a mandatory cattle ID program that requires all cattle be identified at the herd of origin by one of 29 approved, bar-coded plastic tags or two electronic button tags. Reportedly, when tested, the program showed success in tracing tags to the herd of origin. However, the COOL legislation contains a provision prohibiting the use of a mandatory ID system to verify COOL, which COOL Lite removes.
In particular, Rep. Peterson’s draft legislation does the following:
The U.S. House of Representatives defeated the Downed Animal Protection Act (H.R. 2519) by a narrow margin two weeks ago. The legislation would have amended the House Agriculture Appropriations bill and made it unlawful for any stockyard owner, market agency, or dealer to transfer or market non-ambulatory or “downer” livestock. The vote was 202-199.
According to a July 21, 2003 InfoMeat report, the ban was initially included in the House and Senate farm bills, but was later removed from the final legislation after the conferees opposed the provision. Conferees asked for a study of the issue at the Secretary of Agriculture’s discretion and suggested the Secretary draft regulations at her discretion. A Senate version of the bill (S. 1298) has been referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
All animals, including “downer” or non-ambulatory, are subject to ante and post mortem inspection by USDA. Some customers have set limiting factors for source livestock, such as not accepting meat from non-ambulatory animals, and USDA prohibits it in the federal school lunch program. However, these non-ambulatory animals are subject to the same inspection processes as the ambulatory animals.
AMERICAN LIVESTOCK IN CUBA
The Associated Press (AP) reported last Friday that the first shipment of livestock, which included 140 cattle, arrived in Cuba last week. Reportedly, the shipment was made under a 2000 exception to the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. American agricultural products can be sold to Cuba only if done by a cash transaction or through financing from a third country.
Reportedly, the livestock, largely from Homedale Farms in St. Charles, MN, left Gulfport, MS, last Tuesday. The Jersey and Holstein dairy cows, three bulls, 12 bison and one shorthorn sheep were unloaded last Thursday afternoon from the cargo vessel operated by the American firm Crowley Liner Service. More such shipments, all negotiated during an agribusiness fair in Havana last fall, are expected in the coming weeks, Pedro Alvarez, president of Cuba’s food import firm Alimport, said in the AP report.
Alvarez said that since Cuba began buying U.S. farm goods in late 2001 it has signed deals to spend $481 million on agricultural products. Reportedly, the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council relayed in its newsletter last week that about $233 million in sales had been completed thus far. “This opens a new road,” for American farm sales to Cuba, Alvarez said. See the December 23, 2002 Lean Trimmings and the January 27, 2003 Herd on the Hill for more on Cuba.
Last Thursday Pork Alert reported that the Farmland sale is faced with scrutiny by the U.S. Justice Department before it becomes final. Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) have asked federal antitrust officials to oppose the sale of Farmland Foods to Smithfield Foods. They maintain that the sale will be detrimental for the nation’s independent pork producers.
If approved, the sale would position Smithfield to slaughter about 27% of the nation’s hogs, which is a significant amount, especially in relation to the No. 2 pork packer.