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

August 12, 2002




NMA has submitted these editorial letters in an ongoing effort to dispel misconceptions about the meat industry. Starting from upper left, going clockwise, they are:


·         Re: USA Today’s “Hamburgers with those Fries? Buyers Beware” (7/10/2002)

·         Re: The New York Times’ “Federal Audit Faults Department’s Meat and Poultry Inspection System”  (7/10/2002)

·         Re: The Denver Post’s  “Just Cook the Crud Out of It” (7/25/2002)

·         Re: The Wall Street Journal’s  “Hamburger Helper” (7/23/2002)

·         Re: The Chicago Tribune’s “CDC Left in Dark on E. Coli Tests” (7/27/2002)


NMA will continue to be vigilant in responding to media misinformation about the industry


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Quality Life Products

Loveland, OH


An update will be released later this month with complete new member information.





Truman Harris passed away on July 5th in Freeport, Texas. NMA staff will miss visiting with him on the worldly telephone. A valued employee of the Food Safety Inspection Service for more than 23 years, Truman Harris was also a good friend and a caring person.  He was always ready and willing to express his opinion on the latest topics and especially on issues featured in NMA’s weekly newsletter Lean Trimmings. Truman considered Lean Trimmings to be required reading in order to stay abreast of the numerous inspection and industry related issues.  Memorial services were held on August 9th in San Francisco, CA at the Fort Mason Officers’ Club.




A mid-year report released by USDA showed a continued decline in sheep and lamb numbers. There were 8.1 million sheep and lamb as of July 1st, a 2% decrease from the same time last year. USDA’s report showed that this year’s rate of decline is similar to that of July 1, 2000 to July 1, 2001. USDA estimated that the 2002 lamb crop would be about 4% less than last year’s crop, with declines in lamb slaughter and lamb weights expected for the remainder of 2002. The higher lamb prices that began this spring are likely to peak this summer. A smaller U.S. lamb crop is expected for next year.




Checkoff funds continue to spur the industry through value-added programs. Most recently, NCBA has coordinated a program in response to interest in Beef Value Cuts, a checkoff-funded line of steaks cut from the underutilized chuck and round. The beef industry has assembled the New Product and Culinary Center Team to train meat cutters and processors around the nation.


Beef Value Cuts employ a new cutting approach to use the best portions of meat previously sold as larger-muscle roasts for steaks. The new cuts are selected for palatability, tenderness and flavor, and contain no fat trim and connective tissue. Contact NCBA at 800-368-3138 for Beef Value Cuts training materials. To invite a trainer to your facility, contact Betty Hogan at 312-670-9219.




For an updated copy of USDA’s Beef Carcass Certification Programs policy issued on July 25, 2002 see:


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A Reuters report last week confirmed that a Canadian man died of the human strain of mad cow disease (BSE), Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Health Canada officials believe he contracted the disease in Britain. This is the first case of  “new variant” vCJD in Canada.


vCJD is linked to consuming meat from BSE-infected cattle. According to Andrew Swift, a spokesman for Health Canada, “There is no evidence to suggest that Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, commonly known as BSE, has entered the food supply.” Canadians consume about half of their domestically produced beef. About 70% of beef exports are sold to the U.S., but “this is really not a Canadian beef issue,” said Cindy McCreath, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Cattleman’s Association. No cases of BSE have been identified in the U.S.




Medical experts are investigating the possibility of a link between Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) and Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The Associated Press reported that the deaths of three outdoorsmen who regularly ate wild game are under investigation because they died from brain-destroying illnesses. Experts want to know if CWD has crossed from animals into humans, as did mad cow disease in Europe.


Reuters reported that the deaths of two of the Wisconsin hunters are attributed to vCJD, and the third died of Pick’s disease. AP reported that the men knew one another and ate elk and deer meat at wild game feasts during the 1980s and 1990’s. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, some of the meat served was from Colorado, which has a history of CWD in its deer and elk populations. All three men died in the 1990s. During the same time period, scientists confirmed that Europeans had contracted vCJD from eating BSE-infected cattle.


CWD is related to BSE and vCJD. According to AP, all three diseases are caused by mutant proteins called prions that make spongelike holes in the brain. Reuters relayed that early signs of vCJD include withdrawl, anxiety, irritability and loss of interest. Instability and slurring of speech appear as symptoms later in the disease’s development. While there has never been an instance of vCJD, which is untreatable, associated with CWD, the World Health Organization has advised against eating meat from animals showing signs of CWD. Dr. Larry Schonberger, a CDC specialist, said, “We are not saying it [CWD causing vCJD in humans] absolutely can’t happen.” CDC scientists are investigating the deaths.




Wildlife experts from the U.S. and Canada met in Denver last week to discuss containment of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). At one time, CWD could only be found in Colorado herds of deer and elk. Now it has pervaded captive and wild herds in Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, in addition to the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.


The methods by which CWD spreads are a mystery. Similarly, control mechanisms of are still a mystery. It may spread directly from animal to animal, or through contact with feces, urine or drool. It is thought that the practice of selling captive deer and elk, now prohibited, likely facilitated the disease’s migration from Colorado to neighboring states.


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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

August 12, 2002




The Sierra Club (SC) will release its Rapsheet on Animal Factories tomorrow, identifying what it describes as its “ten least wanted animal factory operators, and their environmental violations.”  The 20-page report has been developed by a host of SC staffers and activists, reportedly from public records, including 134 million pounds of food in recalls, 35 thousand miles of polluted rivers, 76 million cases of foodborne illness, and 5,000 deaths, and on and on.  The least wanted companies identified are: Buckeye Egg Farm, OH; Cargill, MN; ConAgra, NE; Continental Grain, NY; DeCoster, IA; Foster Farms, CA; Sand Livestock, NE; Seaboard Corp., KS; Smithfield Foods, VA; and Tyson Foods, AR. 


The SC’s solution to what it calls the “animal factories” is for consumers to purchase “responsibly-raised meat” from traditional family farmers. It recommends seeking them out through farmers’ markets and joining a food cooperative.


NMA’s Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow responded this morning to a New York Times reporter and said that, while she had not seen the report, the data being cited appeared highly improbable, that over half of the USDA inspectors are on line in meat and poultry plants for the purpose of ante and post mortem inspection to ensure that the livestock and poultry are fit to enter the food supply, that all meat in the inspection system is tracked by the establishment number for tracability purposes.


With the report now in hand, if the SC was running the meat, poultry and egg supply, there would be an awful lot of hungry people. The current system in the meat industry, which SC dubbed “animal factories” is a product of consumer demand for these products. While traditional family farmers certainly add value to the industry, it is clear that demand exceeds what they can offer. Annually Americans consume millions of pounds of beef, and large-scale operations are required to meet this need. SC fails to take into account the industry’s ongoing efforts, in conjunction with the federal government, which continue to improve food safety through science-based technologies.



FSIS expects to post a draft notice entitled, FSIS Actions Concerning Suppliers that may be Associated with Escherichia coli (E.coli) O157:H7 Positive Raw Ground Beef Product, on its website the week of August 12,
2002. The draft notice will be accessible at:

FSIS has issued a notice entitled, HACCP Verification Procedures and The 30-day Reassessment Letter, which will clarify how inspection program personnel should respond when they find evidence of a deviation from a critical limitor a HACCP noncompliance while performing an 01 or 02 HACCP verification procedure. The notice also clarifies issues regarding when inspection program personnel should issue 30-day reassessment letters.  The notice can be accessed at:


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Join us at NMA’s Summer Board Meeting And Conference! Some of the events of interest include:


Hobnob with industry leaders over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres by the Shadow Rock Patio at the Hilton. Support of NMA's political action Committee strengthens the legislative voice of the association and its members.


Tee off at the Sedona Golf Resort just steps from the Hilton Sedona Resort. Perhaps no other golf course on earth provides a better combination of jaw-dropping beauty and exceptional challenge than this outstanding golf course.  This 6,646 yard, par 71 course, is designed by one of the nation's leading golf course architects, and features emerald greens set amid towering crimson sentinels. With each stroke and every turn, the beauty of the land seems all the more striking.

·         SPOUSE TOUR

Journey back in time through the formation of Sedona's towering red-rock buttes, and to Tuzigoot National Monument, a Sinagua Indian ruins and Museum. The history and lifestyle of these unique people of 900 A.D. will fascinate you. Then tour the eclectic ghost mining town of Jerome, pasted on the side of Mingus Mountain. Lunch will await you there. On the return, a stop in Tlaquepaque is a must. This wonderful village is full of unique galleries, boutiques, restaurants and fun things.


Jarol B. Manheim, Professor of Media and Public Affairs and of Political Science at George Washington University, will be speaking at the Industry Session on Friday, August 16th at 9:15 a.m. His research and teaching interests center on strategic political communication, as reflected in his books, All of the People All of The Time: Strategic Communication in American Politics, and Strategic Public Diplomacy and American Foreign Policy: The Evolution of Influence. Most recently Manheim is the author of Death of a Thousand Cuts, a book about the coordination of anti-corporate campaigns by non-governmental organizations.


Music and dancing under the stars will be the program right after dinner at the spectacular Sedona Golf Resort clubhouse.  Or savor after dinner cocktails and enjoy the sweeping, panoramic views of the golf course and famed Red Rock cliffs.


NMA’s Summer Board Meeting and Conference includes a complete schedule of committee meetings on food safety, strategic planning, workplace issues, policy and administration, as well as the ongoing implementation of HACCP.  This is an ideal opportunity for all NMA members to focus on the current state of the industry and examine current events.


Enjoy a twenty minute ride to the M Diamond Ranch where a hayride wagon will take you into the forest to the top of a butte to savor wonderful steaks (with all the “fixin’s”) from an old fashioned-wood grill.  A cowboy poet will be there to greet you and get you in the mood for great relaxation and enjoyment with your friends and peers.





NMA member Marshfield Clinic's Food Safety Services has developed a new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based testing technology for the food industry. Although PCR testing technology has been available for the last two decades, rapid real-time quantitative PCR is recognized as the latest technology innovation. The Clinic's Food Safety Services has patents pending on unique DNA sequences for Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), pathogenic Salmonella species, and Listeria monocytogenes. These unique sequences, coupled with recent advances in PCR technology allow the Marshfield Clinic's Food Safety program to provide unparalleled, rapid, accurate, and sensitive assays for these pathogenic bacteria. The Clinic's Food Safety Services employs the use of the Roche Diagnostic LightCycler, an instrument that uses fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) for rapid specific detection of target DNA, thereby eliminating the need for gel electrophoresis. In addition to real-time quantification of DNA present, the instrument also measures melting curves of the target DNA that provides a level of confirmation not seen in other PCR processes. This technology allows for a 12-hour turnaround time upon receipt of sample and can detect down to ten genomic equivalents in the sample provided. Assays for EHEC will be available within the next several weeks with assays for pathogenic Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes to follow shortly. For more information, please contact Dr. Jay L. E. Ellingson, 715-389-5958.