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 25, 2003



NMA President Ted Miller announced at NMA’S Board meeting last week in Wisconsin that Dr. Dell M. Allen will receive NMA’s E. Floyd Forbes Award at NMA’s Convention in San Antonio in February 2004. 


Dr. Allen is Vice President, Technical Services, Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita, Kansas.  He is a native of Kansas, and as Professor of Animal Science at Kansas State University (KSU), he taught a variety of courses in the area of Animal/Carcass Evaluation and for 13 years coached the KSU Meats Juding Team.  He also worked for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in market surveillance and compliance. He joined Excel Corp. in 1989.


“Dr. Allen meets the highest ideals of providing outstanding service to the meat industry,” said NMA’s President Miller.  “He has given untiringly in his efforts to research and apply scientific principles to improve the safety of meat.  He guided the education of meat scientists for over twenty years before joining Excel Corporation in 1988.  He maintained a strong relationship with scientists as a member and president of the American Meat Science Association, and he has personally spear-headed efforts with the BIFSCO arm of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to apply scientific principles to meat operations at all levels.  Dell Allen is a living legend for the promotion of scientific principles in the production of safe meat.  NMA is proud to honor this distinguished man.” 




The Omaha-World Herald reported on August 24 that the Nebraska Cattlemen and the Bush Administration are each asking for a rehearing of a court ruling last month that declared the beef checkoff unconstitutional. A three-judge panel on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July that the checkoff was not protected government speech and was unenforceable, that the government’s interest in protecting the beef industry isn’t sufficient to infringe upon those who don’t want the checkoff and don’t want to pay for a marketing message they might not agree with.


Nebraska Cattlemen and the U.S. Justice Department each have filed petitions asking the full 8th Circuit panel of judges to reconsider the ruling. Reportedly, according to its member policies, Nebraska Cattlemen will continue to defend the checkoff even though the group is not actually funded by program dollars. “It’s interesting that this petition comes at a time when producer support for the beef check continues to grow,” said Greg Ruehle, Vice President of Nebraska Cattlemen, in the report. Ruehle also reportedly said a survey last month by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board indicated that 63% of beef and dairy producers support the checkoff. Producers who consider themselves informed about the issue showed nearly 70% support, Ruehle said in the report. reported that the Nebraska Cattlemen’s petition requests an en banc hearing by the Eighth Circuit for the following reasons: (1) by declaring this law unconstitutional, numerous similar laws could be affected, meriting additional review; (2) the decision conflicts with Supreme Court precedent concerning government speech; and (3) the decision is in direct conflict with the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in United States v Frame, in which the court upheld the constitutionality of the beef checkoff. “The government’s use of ‘funds raised’ for its own speech is not in any sense ‘a form of government interference with private speech’,” the petition states. “In using such funds to add its voice to the marketplace of ideas, the government neither prevents nor compels speech by others.”


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FSIS is holding five workshops around the country to explain its new rule, “Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-eat Meat and Poultry Products,” to owners and operators of small and very small inspected establishments. They will be held September 13 in Raleigh, NC, and Bridgeport, CT; September 20 in Kansas City, KS; and October 4 in Oakland, CA and Albuquerque, NM. The Raleigh workshop will be held at the Hilton North Raleigh, 3415 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, NC, (919) 872-2323. The Kansas City workshop will be held at the Hilton Kansas City Airport, 8801 N.W. 112th Street, Kansas City, MO, (816) 801-4011. Meeting sites for the remaining cities will soon be announced.


The new rule, which becomes effective on October 6, 2003, requires that producers of RTE products exposed to the environment after lethality treatments have controls for L. monocytogenes, and verify the effectiveness of those controls through testing. FSIS also will test varying its verification activities according to the nature and effectiveness of the strategies being used by the plant. The workshops will provide attendees with detailed information on the rule, including alternative control strategies that may be used, sampling and recordkeeping requirements, and the use of labeling claims. Attendees should register in advance by contacting Sheila Johnson at 202-690-6498 or [email protected]. Because of limited space, preference will be given to representatives of federal and state small and very small meat and poultry establishments.




On Saturday, August 24 approximately 76,000 pounds of fresh and frozen ground beef produced by J&B Meats Corp., Coal Valley, IL, was recalled because of potential E. coli contamination. Recalled products have date code “5630053” and establishment code “EST. 5712” inside the USDA seal of inspection. The meat was produced May 30 and shipped to wholesalers nationwide.


An E. coli illness in Wisconsin triggered an investigation by the state Health Department. Tests of J&B Meats ground beef proved positive for E. coli, though there is no definitive link implicating the meat, which was voluntarily recalled, to any illness, according to FSIS.


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.



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:


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In a rapidly moving environment, with many front burner issues of interest and significance to the industry, NMA’s Industry Meeting in Wisconsin last Friday provided an effective forum for transferring information on a large variety of issues.  Each of nine presenting speakers was limited to 15 minutes to provide their subject matter.  By all accounts, the objective of information delivery was not only met but attendees marveled at how much they could learn in such a relatively short time frame.


NMA is indebted to the presenters, Barry Carpenter, Livestock & Seed Division, AMS/USDA; Tim Biela, Texas American Foodservice; David Hall, aLF Ventures; William Smith, OFO/FSIS/USDA; Wythe Willey, Esquire; Richard Alaniz, Alaniz & Schraeder; Dr. Bill Mies, eMerge; Dr. Kerri Harris, International HACCP Alliance; Dr. Gary Smith, Colorado State University, and to Dr. Russell Cross of DuPont Food Industry Solutions, who made sure that this “rapid fire” session was kept on time.  This format was so popular that attendees suggested we include it in future meetings.




NMA honored Les Oesterreich, Sr. last Friday evening during its Summer Conference in Wisconsin.  Mr. Oesterreich retired from Armour & Co. in the late 1980’s and lives in nearby Illinois with his wife, Bette.  He is the father of Les Oesterreich of Superior Farms, Dixon, CA and came over to join his son at the Summer Conference. 


Mr. Oesterreich was mighty surprised when his picture went up on the big screen after dinner, and NMA Vice President Curry Roberts recounted his career with Armour & Co. that started right after WWII and ended with his years as general manager of Armour’s plant in Nampa, ID, now a division of Swift & Company.  He was presented with an old Armour can, with a label for Beef Tenderloin Steaks, but it looked suspiciously like a lard can to those more familiar with the good old days!  Mr. Oesterreich attended the meetings and marveled at how so much changes and at how so much stays the same!  Congratulations to Les Oesterreich, Sr.




As of press time, NMA was still waiting for final word on some details of the Beef Export Verification (BEV) program to meet Japan’s requirement that it import only beef slaughtered in the United States.  USDA/AMS is expected to begin issuing permits to companies whose BEV plans meet its requirements later this week.  Also, a final determination as to the date by which ingredient meats in processed products exported to Japan must meet the BEV requirements is still pending.  Because certain processed products are made even several weeks prior to shipment because of processing time required, it is virtually impossible that they meet the September 1 requirement applicable to fresh beef products. Members who need help to develop a BEV program should contact NMA for suggested consultants.




Emmpak Foods, a division of Excel, recalled about 500,000 pounds of beef sold in eight states because it was mislabeled, according to USDA. Emmpak Foods recalled 362,890 pounds of ready-to-eat beef products made in Nebraska and 102,319 pounds of ready-to-eat beef products made in Wisconsin because they contain an undeclared ingredient, hydrolyzed soy protein. The products also were also mistakenly labeled as containing MSG or hydrolyzed corn gluten, according to USDA.


The products were distributed to grocery stores in Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Colorado. The recalled products were processed between May 24 and Aug. 14 in Nebraska, and bear the establishment code “EST. 86J” or “EST. 567” inside the USDA seal of inspection. Recalled Wisconsin products were processed between May 24 and Aug. 15 and bear the establishment code “EST. 567” inside the USDA seal of inspection.


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Thanks to all who participated in NMA’s 2003 Summer Conference Golf Tournament at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Wisconsin. Congratulations to the following winners on the Highlands Course!


First Place – Bill Bridgford, Bridgford Foods; John Richards, Alcide Corp.; Matt Kelleher, State Compensation Insurance Fund; and Doug Latrielle, Curwood, Inc.


Second Place - Brian Coelho, Central Valley Meat Co., Inc.; Todd Waldman, United Food Group; Bill Goerich, Curwood, Inc.; and Joe Azarro, Jr., Palama Meat Co.


Closest to Pin - Tim Biela, Texas American Foodservice


Longest Drive - Rob Adams, Hydrite Chemical Co.




The statement in the “Very Small Plant Project” article in the August 18th Herd on the Hill concerning CSO methodology training for Front Line Supervisors (FLS) is not applicable.   FLS are accountable for evaluating field personnel performance by examining inspection verification tasks performed at each establishment and reviewing inspection methodologies utilized in the execution of HACCP, SSOP and SPS tasks.




NMA has available information on the purchases for Fiscal Year 2003. NMA members contact Kiran Kernellu at [email protected] or 510-763-1533 for a copy.




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 25, 2003




While there are always representatives from USDA at NMA events, it is rare that one causes the stir and approval that Undersecretary of Food Safety Dr. Elsa Murano inspired as our special guest speaker in Wisconsin on Friday August 22.  Dr. Murano outlined the recently released 2003 Food Safety and Inspection Service Food Safety Vision.  The bottom line of the vision is that food safety must be based on the idea of enhancing public health.  The following five-goal outline is the “road map” of the food safety mission:  improve the management and effectiveness of regulatory programs; ensure policy decisions are based in science; improve coordination of food safety activities with other public health agencies; enhance public education efforts; and protect meat, poultry, and egg products against intentional contamination. Even in those five goals, quoted from the vision paper, communication is the priority.  Words such as coordination, education, and decisions all involve communication from all affected parties.  Dr. Murano made it clear in her speech that this is really the ultimate goal. 


Under Dr. Murano, the USDA has already established a New Technology Approval Office whose staff is in place to speed up the process of approving useful and progressive food safety interventions.  However, what really caught the attention of her appreciative audience was her proclamation of, “I promise you that we will do training with the industry.”  She went on to say that this signifies a “paradigm shift” in the agency.  It was evident when she stated, “I’d rather come up with solutions together,” that she believes that only through partnership with the industry can America continue to have the safest food supply in the world.  


The highlighted issues in the FSIS Food Safety Vision are ones that can only be dealt with through a concerted effort at communication from both the meat industry as well as USDA.  If USDA is going to be able to anticipate new risks and hazards through enhanced data collection, link USDA programs with public health outcomes, and improve documentation of food safety problems to look for trends, the industry must be a part of program development.  Dr. Murano pointed out that the industry has a wealth of testing information and knowledge that is not shared with USDA for very good reasons, the most prevalent being fear of retaliation.  The Undersecretary of Food Safety seemed committed to developing some way that the industry could share this data while not proverbially hanging itself.  An idea that was discussed was perhaps using trade associations like NMA as a data-clearing house. 


So there is the challenge.  On the surface, USDA has already given itself a mighty challenge in its new Food Safety Vision, but there is also a challenge of trust that the USDA has issued to itself and to the industry.  For the USDA’s vision to work, it has to reach out a hand, and not a hammer to a wary industry.  However, the industry’s challenge is to overcome its wariness and work towards improving public health even further.  Dr. Murano clearly stated that it is “the industry that makes the food safe.”  The industry has to continue on the path of safe food, but broaden that path so that different entities can work together. 


She ended with a Cuban proverb that when translated into English means, “A rising sun shines on all.”  In other words, working together benefits all. Contact our government relations liaison at [email protected] for copies of the FSIS Food Safety Vision or visit the FSIS website at




Mr. William C. Smith, Assistant Administrator, FSIS, Office of Field Operations (OFO) was the guest speaker at NMA’s Food Safety Committee, Summer Conference at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  Smith first discussed the new Directive 5000.1 entitled “Verifying an Establishment’s Food Safety System.”  Specifically, Smith indicated its comprehensiveness as it addresses HACCP, SSOPs, SPS, generic E. coli and Salmonella performance standards.  In addition, Smith stated that the Directive contained methodologies utilized by Consumer Safety Inspectors (CSIs) and Consumer Safety Officers (CSOs).  Mr. Smith also discussed the functions of the front line supervisor in conjunction with conducting field performance determinations based on the application of inspection methodologies set forth in the Directive. 


Next Smith discussed several staff reorganizations such as Compliance Officer personnel being assigned to either administrative support for the District Offices under the direction of the OFO or Program Enforcement Evaluation and Review (PEER) Staff which function as program investigators. He discussed further plans as to new field positions including an Investigative Analyst Officer, which appears to be a combination of a CSO and a Compliance Officer (CO).  The Investigative Analyst Officer would be trained to conduct scientific food safety assessment as well as conduct investigation for regulatory enforcement purposes.  Smith stated that the front line supervisors would directly supervise these new Investigative Analyst Officers.


Smith concluded his discussion by indicating the future use of a team concept approach to verify food safety systems, defining roles for the Technical Service Center for analysis and technical support and addressed several questions from Food Safety Committee Chairman Todd Waldman of United Food Group.  For follow up information on Smith’s discussion please contact Ken Mastracchio at 510-763-1533 or at [email protected]. 


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The Food & Drug Administration announced on Friday that Activated Lactoferrin, a component of an anti-microbial spray developed by aLF Ventures, Salt Lake City, UT, can be applied to fight E. coli O157:H7.  FDA said that it does not question the company’s decision to market lactoferrin and that the data the firm has submitted is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) and safe for the general population as well as for individuals who are allergic to milk.  Dr. Lester Crawford, Deputy Commissioner of the Food & Drug Administration, stated:  “Innovative technology is a critical building block in preserving the strong foundation of the U.S. food supply. We must continue to encourage scientific research and new technology to maintain this nation’s safe food supply.” 


aLF Ventures noted that the amount of added lactoferrin that remains on the beef after spraying is comparable to the amount of lactoferrin that is naturally occurring in the beef.  It also submitted data to the USDA regarding the effectiveness of lactoferrin against E. coli O157:H7.  


The President of aLF Ventures, David Hall, was one of the speakers at NMA’s Summer Conference in Wisconsin last week and provided attendees with a summary of the substantial scientific data that it has developed about the use of lactoferrin as an anti-microbial agent.  NMA’s Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow informed NMA’s Board about the FDA’s announcement on Saturday, noting that it was at an NMA Convention in San Francisco in February 1998 when the scientist who first identified this potential application met with principals of National Beef and subsequently developed funding through them for the necessary research. 




On August 21, 2003 USDA announced new regional training centers designed to bring comprehensive workforce training programs to FSIS’s field employees across the country. FSIS is establishing regional training centers in field locations in Atlanta, GA; Dallas, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Des Moines, IA; and Boulder, CO. This action is part of FSIS’s vision document to guide continuing food safety initiatives released July 20, which included revamping its education and training programs to better prepare field employees to implement and enforce new food safety regulations.


FSIS is focused on strengthening its public health emphasis by recruiting scientifically trained employees and training its current employees in scientific and technical principles. “This Administration remains committed to improving our meat inspection systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman in a press release. “Training for inspectors is an important part of our efforts to ensure that all our systems effectively protect the public health.”


FSIS will also conduct interactive and on-site training sessions for its field employees. “We are committed to aggressively addressing the training and education of the men and women who work every day to keep America’s meat, poultry, and egg products safe,” said FSIS Administrator Dr. Garry L. McKee, while addressing employees and inspectors during a tour at the Des Moines Cold Storage facility. “The most effective way to provide comprehensive training to our field employees is to bring that training to them.”


FSIS has also designated a position inside its highest office to oversee the comprehensive workforce training program, to be filled by Commander Lynn Hodges, U.S. Public Health Service. She will coordinate this program as senior advisor for workforce training and education. “Commander Hodges is a welcome addition to the FSIS scientific team and will ensure that training and education remains a key focus for the agency,” Dr. McKee said.


Regional, interactive and on-site training coordinated from agency headquarters will allow FSIS to train more inspectors each year in various skills to enhance their technical and regulatory abilities. FSIS will train all new entry-level slaughter establishment inspectors and veterinary medical officers in technical, regulatory and public health methods, beginning October 1, the start of Fiscal Year 2004, with the types of training offered to be expanded at a later date.