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 Jeremy Russell

November 12, 2001




A reception and appreciation dinner was held at the Sioux City Convention Center last Thursday to honor Robert L. Peterson, outgoing IBP Chairman of the Board. Attended by 500 company and industry leaders, it was a warm send-off to the man who has led IBP to be the world’s largest beef packer over the past thirty years. It was his energy and vision that brought IBP through the boxed beef generation and to its current position of coast-to-coast case-ready products. Never one to mince his views, Peterson has been on the leading edge for government-inspected, safe meat in a convenient form for today’s consumer. Some distinguished speakers from the industry, including NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow, added their acknowledgments of Bob’s dynamic leadership.


Mucklow, who was honored to offer comments, noted that she and Peterson had entered the industry in the same year (1961) but that their paths had been quite different. She said that she had hoped to meet Don Tyson at the event, but heard he had gone fishing again. With a wry smile, she added that, on his last fishing trip, he apparently thought it was a “catch and release” sport, but learned, after hooking Peterson, that release was not an option!


John Tyson capped off the guest speakers with warm appreciation of Bob’s efforts. Dick Bond presented some tokens of appreciation to Bob, including three female Angus calves as the initiation livestock for his new avocation, a breeding herd. The calves had been gently mooing from behind a screen in the corner throughout the evening, but appeared to enjoy the attention they ultimately received.


It was a splendid event, in a style befitting for an industry leader of dynamic proportions.




Looks like it was the right catch after all! Tyson Foods Inc. reported today that fiscal fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled, boosted by the acquisition of IBP and higher chicken prices. Earnings reached $47.5 million, or 22 cents a diluted share, for the period ended September 29, compared with $18.0 million, or a mere 8 cents a diluted share, a year ago. Excluding the IBP purchase, Tyson earned 20 cents a diluted share. The company expects fiscal first-quarter earnings of 22-27 cents a share and FY02 earnings of 95 cents a share to $1.05 (including 100% of IBP operations).


Last month, Don Tyson announced that he was stepping down after 30 years at the helm of Tyson Foods. Tyson, whose son John is now chairman and chief executive, has served as senior chairman since 1995. He will remain a board member.


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It appears the public has become much more supportive of food irradiation in the wake the anthrax attack. According to a recent Porter Novelli survey reported on in the National Chicken Council's Washington Report, while only a year ago a mere 11% said they would buy irradiated food, now 52% of respondents say that the government should require irradiation to help ensure a safe food supply. “Consumers are making the connection between the ability of irradiation to eliminate anthrax and other harmful bacteria to its potential use in protecting the food supply,” said Porter Novelli Senior Vice President Bill Layden. 1,008 adults in the United States were questioned in the survey, conducted November 2-6.




NMA Director of Technical Services Teresa Frey wrote to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Executive Director of Quality Assurance to discuss a growing concern among NMA members: the finding of lead shot embedded in meat muscle. It is not uncommon to find lead shot contamination in beef and this dangerous, poisonous metal can have serious consequences for health. Lead shot is introduced to an animal either by sorely mistaken hunters and horseback riders defending themselves from dangerous livestock or by ranchers themselves. “While the beef industry has limited control over myopic hunters, it can implement training programs that educate ranchers and ranching communities on the destructive and costly consequences of using lead-based shot, or any shot on cattle,” wrote Frey. On behalf of the NMA Processed Meats Committee, she asked NCBA to respond and address the issue in person at the 56th Annual Convention.




The 2002 Youth Beef Industry Congress (YBIC) is an opportunity for supporters to help create forward thinking and progressive leaders for the beef industry. The event is simply not possible without the support of companies involved in the beef industry. Every effort is made for all meals and functions to be sponsored so the registration fee for those participating can be kept to a minimum. For more information contact Lore Maude of the American Gelbvieh Association at (303) 465-BEEF.




An Associated Press report described how a cut of beef discovered during a three-year study by the University of Nebraska’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources is being looked to as the new hope in increasing the value of beef for everyone from producer to retailer. The cut comes from deep within the shoulder muscle or chuck and is known under more than one name, including Swiss steak and flat iron steak.


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Future Beef Products Center in Arkansas City, Kansas held an open house last Saturday for invitees to tour its Products Center at floor level. The first major new beef slaughter and processing plant in nearly twenty years is a new concept in integrated beef production/processing activities. CEO H. Russell Cross said: “We hope you come to believe, as we do, that the ideas, technology and philosophy that brought our company into being truly are revolutionary for the community, the industry and for our customers.”


Over five years in the planning stages, it is certainly apparent that FB is going the extra mile in many respects, including support for its employees with an early childhood education center (preschool) and employee housing arrangements. The integrated business relationship with its suppliers to produce and ship livestock meeting exacting specifications, and to receive specific, per carcass, feedback on performance was reflected in the visual consistency of carcasses in the cooler. And the innovation and new technology in the slaughter and fabrication operations was readily apparent, beginning with the de-hairing process. This step permits reduced back-end processing and increases value of hides. Of great interest to visitors was the Performance Pet Products operation which provides a significant profit center contribution to overall activities by converting back-end products into highly desirable, quality items for the growing pet market.


FB’s products are marketed by Safeway Inc. under the Rancher’s Reserve brand, and integrate customers’ needs for fresh and value-added products of high quality and exceptional consistency and safety. They were introduced in Safeway’s Phoenix division in October. FB’s vision: Be the Gold Standard for Value. Create high quality, competitively priced, absolutely safe beef products with sustained profitability for customers, employees, suppliers and investors. NMA Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow visited the plant on Saturday and was very impressed!




Dr. José Díez was named APHIS Director of  the Western Region of Veterinary Services, located at the Western Regional Hub in Fort Collins, CO.




A paper published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology 58 (2000) 107-111 provides some interesting information about the serotyping of Salmonella samples collected by USDA/FSIS from June 97 through August 98. The authors, including scientists from both FSIS and the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, IA, conclude that “the most common Salmonella serotypes found on animal carcasses were also the most common serotypes found in the corresponding raw ground products.” This is hardly surprising! And yet the most common Salmonella serotypes found on meat and poultry products prior to the implementation of the final rule did not correlate well with those found most often to cause human illness. (More on page 4). 


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The database used in the International Journal of Food Microbiology paper (see page 3) contained 3717 isolates from eight different types of samples representing eight different types of products: cattle carcasses, swine carcasses, chicken carcasses, turkey carcasses, and raw ground beef, raw ground pork, raw ground chicken and raw ground turkey. The most common serotypes from raw ground beef were: montevideo, anatum, typhimurium (var. Copenhagen), and reading. These types differed markedly from the serotypes found on ground turkey. The Centers for Disease Control, through the Public Health Laboratory Information System (PHLIS) reports the most frequent Salmonella serotypes reported for 1997 as S. typhimurium and S. enteritifis which they claim account for 47% of reported human cases of salmonellosis. S. typhimurium was among the top 10 serotypes in all products, except turkey carcasses and raw ground chicken. S. enteritidis was not among the 10 most common isolates from any of the products, although it is frequently associated with eggs and egg products. Despite claims by earlier scientists, the most common serotypes in the tested products were not the most common serotypes isolated from cases of human illness. The authors comment “that it is possible that there are sources for human Salmonella other than these products that might account for these discrepancies” suggests that the public health significance of selecting Salmonella as a performance standard microorganism for public health purposes might be worthy of reevaluation.



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 Jeremy Russell

November 12, 2001




More than 50 food and other industry organizations, including NMA, wrote last week asking homeland security chief Tom Ridge to appoint a senior member of his staff to meet with them and government groups to discuss food security and bioterrorism. Offering their assistance, the groups stated, “Our Alliance for Food Security – a group of business, government and other organizations dedicated to food safety and security – could help comprise any advisory committee or task force you may wish to establish on food security.”  The Alliance was started in the days after September 11 to ensure that both government agencies and the food industry have access to all the information needed to assess new threats and develop effective risk management plans. Alliance participants include technical and regulatory experts that industry and the government rely on to ensure the safety of our food supply.




Bobby R. Acord was named Administrator for USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). In this position, Acord has responsibility for protecting U.S. agricultural health from exotic pests and diseases; administering the Animal Welfare Act; and carrying out wildlife damage management activities.


Andrew Moss, Special Assistant to the FSIS Administrator for the past five years, has been named Special Assistant to Dr. Elsa A. Murano, the USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety.  Elizabeth Gaston, Senior FSIS Press Officer, has been named the new Executive Assistant for FSIS Acting Administrator, Margaret Glavin, and Acting Associate Administrator, Ron Hicks. 




The National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection public meeting in Washington, DC will be held November 14-15, to discuss the retail exemption and modernizing the standards of identity for meat and poultry products. A meeting agenda is available on the FSIS web site at:  For additional information, contact Sonya West, NACMPI Staff, at 202-720-2561.




FSIS will hold a HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) training class for industry December 4-6 in Texas A&M, College Station, TX. The training will include managerial responsibilities in a HIMP plant; HIMP tasks performed in a pilot plant; Agency policies regarding carcass, verification, and systems inspection; HIMP performance and standards, and statistical process control. For additional information, contact Mark Reo, New Initiatives Staff, at 202-205-0010.


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FSIS is currently identifying firms involved with exporting muscle cuts of beef.  Such firms should contact the FSIS office as soon as possible so that the Agency may establish an exporter account for the firms reporting activity. What’s happening is this: FSIS published a Final Rule on July 15 in the Federal Register expanding the coverage of the Export Sales Reporting Regulations to include fresh, chilled, or frozen muscle cuts of beef. (A reprint of this rule is available from NMA, send a self-addressed, stamped (34¢) envelope to Jeremy Russell at NMA-West and be sure to include the newsletter date with your request). The part of the Rule dealing with electronic submissions was delayed for comment until January 11, 2002. The non-electronic portion will move ahead as planned. Exporters must turn in their first report, covering the period of November 30 to December 6, on December 10.




USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is revising its pork reports to include volume and price information for three primary categories of market transactions: negotiated base prices, negotiated Free on Board (FOB) prices, and FOB prices for total transactions. The current pork report includes an adjusted base price (ABP) and FOB prices for value added products. However, the ABP does not reflect actual negotiated price information and has been criticized by some packers and buyers as misrepresenting the market. Because the hog and pork industry has undergone dramatic changes as all segments of the vertical pork chain have experienced consolidation and integration pressures, which in turn have influenced the process by which hog and pork product prices are gathered and reported, AMS plans to stop reporting the ABP value. And, to further expand the Pork Report, AMS plans to evaluate in the near term the potential for developing a pork report for formula trades.




“Consumers ought to feel confident that government is continuing to review all of our systems to make sure that we are taking every step possible to ensure food safety, that I believe food companies are taking the same kinds of precautions,” Veneman said in an interview with Cable News Network (as reported in the National Chicken Council’s Washington Report). “I believe grocery stores are taking the same kind of precautions, and farmers on farms are taking new security measures, so at every step of the food chain, both in the private sector and in government, we are continuing to work together, to review systems and to ensure that our food will have all of the precautions taken that we possibly can to ensure the safety of the food supply for our consumers.”




FSIS published a Notice in the Federal Register November 8 announcing it’s reopening the comment period for the Federal Register notice, “Residue Policy,” which published August 6.  Comments are now due by December 10.  For additional information, contact Daniel Lazenby, Acting Director, FSIS Technical Analysis Staff, at 202-205-0210. Access the notice at:




USDA announced October 31 that it planned to issue new rules to extend the Lamb Meat Adjustment Assistance Program (LMAAP) for an additional year (through July 31, 2003) and implement an ewe lamb expansion payment program.