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

February 5, 2001




NMA’s MEATXPO’01 and 55th Annual Convention is Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, February 19, 20 and 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is the venue to gather new information that will be extremely useful in your business activities. It is also an opportunity to meet with your friends and business associates in a great environment that will bring you many resources of direct benefit.


NMA has assembled an expert panel for this year’s General Session Luncheon meeting on Monday, February 19 to discuss microbiological testing. Our group includes:  Dr. Ranzell Nickelson, Foodbrands America; Dr. Dell Allen, Excel Corp; Dr. Morris Potter, formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta; Dr. Don Zink, Future Beef and Dr. Winkler Weinberg. Weinberg, Section Chief, Infectious Disease Service of the Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente; and Emily Green of the Los Angeles Times.


Our keynote speaker is R. Randolph Devening, CEO of Foodbrands America.


A complete list of the exciting round tables events is listed on page 3. You can visit the schedule for the event in its entirety at If you have questions or need a registration form, call NMA at (510) 763-1533.




This year’s Sausagefest is looking like a real smorgasbord, entries range from Smoked Bavarian Beerwurst to Maui Macadamia Nut. Look at this mouthwatering line-up:


·  California State University, Fresno - Bulldog Pepper Jack Sausage

·  Farmer John Meats - Hot Smoked Sausage

·  Gerhard’s Napa Valley Sausage - Smoked Bavarian Beerwurst

·  Montibella Sausage Company - “Western” Steak and Potato Sausage

·  Neto Sausage Co. - Brazilian Calabreza

·  Papa Cantella’s - Louisiana Brand Smoked Andoville

·  Reser’s Fine Foods, Inc. - Smoked Sausage with Cheese

·  Saag’s Specialty Meats - Bavarian Bratwurst

·  Skylark Meats - Skylark “Olde World” Summer Sausage

·  Uncle Louie Sausage Co. - Maui Macadamia Nut Sausage

·  Wimmer Meats - Jalapeño Smoked Sausage with Cheddar Cheese


Doesn’t that make you want to “Hold the Mustard?” Well, join us on Tuesday, February  20, 2001 for Sausagefest 2001 and bring some loose-fitting clothing, cause it’s going to be yummy.


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The FDA confirmed last week that the quarantined cattle herd in Texas had eaten feed containing ingredients banned as a precaution against Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). However, the amount was not enough to threaten the food supply, the investigators said. Each animal could have consumed, at most and in total, five-and-one-half grams – approximately a quarter ounce – of prohibited material. Purina Mills, which owns the feed mill, will buy all 1,222 animals. The cattle cannot be used in any way that will allow them into the human food chain, but the company is not obligated to destroy the animals, an FDA spokeswoman told Reuters. The FDA praised Purina Mills, saying it “behaved responsibly” by quickly reporting the violation.


Amid growing public concern about beef safety, several U.S. feed makers said they have stopped using ruminant meat and bone meal in all their products, even feeds designed for non-ruminants – a step that goes beyond current U.S. restrictions. “Until better solutions are in place, we have discontinued the use of ruminant bone and meat meal by removing the ingredient from all formulations and eliminating it from the inventories of our manufacturing plants,” Purina Mills President and Chief Executive Officer Brad Kerbs said in a statement. Several other feed companies said they had previously taken steps to eliminate ruminant materials from their products. However, other firms, including the top two feed makers, said that they had no immediate plans to stop using ruminant meat and bone meal given current nutrition formulas and FDA regulations. “We have a lot of confidence in the [1997 FDA] regulation and it's most important that it be vigorously enforced,” Cargill spokesman Mike Mullins said in an interview last week.


In Europe, the BSE panic continues to grow. Germany is planning the slaughter of 400,000 cattle to curb the spread of the disease. Italy, in investigating its meat industry, has discovered numerous sanitary violations and fraud, the Wall Street Journal reports. And the European Union as a whole is pushing to close gaps in its food safety regulations.


All over the world, not just in Europe, the concerns over BSE are having similar impacts. Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Asian countries have enforced tough controls to combat the threat, Food Chemical News Daily reported February 2. Indian analysts told Reuters that farmers in their country do not feed cattle meat and bone meal. Other scientists warned that Asian countries such as Indonesia and Thailand might become the next victims of mad cow disease after buying potentially tainted animal feed from the UK at the height of that country's epidemic.


Canada moved swiftly to ban beef products from Brazil last week after it did not receive certain documents necessary for a BSE risk assessment. Although the international status of Brazil has not changed, i.e. it is still considered BSE free, APHIS officials announced that they were temporarily suspending the U.S. importation of processed beef and associated products from the country. Canada also took pains to warn consumers to stay away from Brazilian beef products already in the country, at least until the matter of the overdue documents is cleared up. Brazilian beef is used only in cooked or canned products, such as corned beef, frozen entrees and beef jerky.


The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has published a thorough and fascinating article on BSE, including background, evolution and current concerns, at it’s website; link from or go directly to


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No one will dispute that Ken Monfort was larger than life itself! In his bright green jacket, this very large man always stood out in the crowd, and for many reasons. He followed his father into the beef packing business in Greeley, Colorado. They fed and slaughtered beef in the community where they lived. Ken built a formidable beef packer empire and was a pioneer in marrying beef slaughtering with fabrication and portion control cutting with his association with the Mapelli brothers. He believed strongly in the free enterprise system, and when he fought and lost in court to preserve the independent meat packer, he sold the company to ConAgra in 1987. 


Ken supported the industry in many ways. He endowed the Monfort Chair at Colorado State University, occupied currently by Dr. Gary Smith. He wrote a congratulation letter to Gary when he received NMA's E. Floyd Forbes Award two years ago to congratulate him with his own unique humor. He was a strong supporter of Western States Meat Association, NMA’s predecessor organization, and a speaker at our events. 


NMA extends condolences to his wife Myra and to his sons Dick and Charlie, who both worked with their father and his other family members. Ken was 71.



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

February 5, 2001


House Agriculture Appropriations


House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Henry Bonilla has divulged his intentions to proceed quickly with the traditional subcommittee hearings and attempt to have his subcommittee's bill the first appropriations bill to be passed by the House. 


Given the transition, with delays in filling key policy positions and the time that will be required for development of Bush Administration budget adjustments, the hearings will depart from the tradition of opening with testimony from the Secretary of Agriculture. Instead, Secretary Veneman will be asked to testify at one of the last hearings prior to mark-up. 


There is no word yet on FDA testimony, though this general approach would suggest that FDA will testify late.  On the whole, this suggests a busy March hearing schedule. We will keep you apprised of further developments in the Appropriations process.


Listing of Persons serving as Acting Agency Heads


In order to keep government programs running without interruption, the following individuals were designated to serve in an acting capacity in the positions indicated until further notice (note, for space purposes, only those positions relevant to agriculture are listed):


·     Foreign Agricultural Service Acting Administrator – Mattie Sharpless

·     Farm Service Agency Acting Administrator – James R. Little

·     Agricultural Marketing Service Acting Administrator – Dr. Kenneth Clayton

·     Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration Acting Administrator – David Shipman

·     Food and Nutrition Service Acting Administrator – George A. Braley

·     Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion Acting Executive Director – Peter Basiotis




FSIS has issued a notice stating that violence or the threat of violence, by or against an FSIS employee, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The notice also provides FSIS employees with procedures for reporting any act or threat of workplace violence. The notice states that an employee “must report any act or threat of workplace violence promptly” and that if a manager fails to take immediate action on such a report, “an employee calls the next line supervisor or a member of the FSIS Workplace Violence Prevention Assessment Team.” The issuance of this notice is part of a comprehensive Agency initiative to address workplace violence that was begun after the slayings of compliance officers at a sausage plant in San Leandro, California (see next page). A copy of the notice is available; send a self-addressed, stamped (34¢) envelope to Jeremy Russell at NMA-West.


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Last week, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Kingsbury denied a motion to dismiss charges against Stuart Alexander, accused of killing three meat inspectors at his San Leandro sausage factory last June. Judge Kingsbury said there appears to be a “causal link” between the victims’ positions as food compliance officers and the fact that they were shot. The judge also denied a motion by Alexander's attorney, which claimed that the charges against Alexander should be dismissed because the grand jury that indicted him was not instructed it could accuse Alexander of a charge lesser than first degree murder. Alexander is next scheduled to appear in court February 23 for a status hearing.




USDA/FSIS released a Notice (5-01) on January 24, the purpose of which was to address a District Manager’s (DM) responsibilities in assessing and responding to an establishment’s response to a Notice of Intended Enforcement (NOIE). An NOIE provides notification to a firm that there is a basis for FSIS to withhold the marks of inspection and to suspend inspection. A DM will issue an NOIE for noncompliance that warrants a withholding action, but does not pose an imminent public health threat. For a copy of Notice 5-01, send a self-addressed, stamped (34¢) envelope to Jeremy Russell at NMA-West.




USDA/FSIS extended the comment period for the proposed rule, On-Line Antimicrobial Preprocessing of Pre-Chill Poultry Carcasses, until April 2. The proposal will allow pre-chill poultry carcasses contaminated with digestive tract contents to be reprocessed on-line if significantly lower pathogen reduction standards for E. coli and Salmonella are met.




FSIS issued a notice regarding the holding of sampled lots of ready-to-eat meat and/or poultry product or raw ground beef product. This notice alerts FSIS personnel about a handout they are to provide plant managers. FSIS has also amended Directive 10,240.2, Microbial Sampling of Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Products. For a copy of the new notice and the amended Directive, send a self-addressed, stamped (55¢) envelope to Jeremy Russell at NMA-West.




Nearly $20 million was paid to U.S. sheep producers during the last year through U.S. government wool and lamb payment programs, according to the USDA. USDA representatives provided attendees of American Sheep Industry Association's (ASI) 2001 Annual Convention a review of year one of the Lamb Meat Adjustment Assistance Program, which is part of the U.S. government's $100 million, three-year U.S. sheep industry assistance package. During year one, more than $12 million was paid out to producers for ram purchases and facility and genetic improvements. In addition, USDA's Danielle Cooke said that as of Jan. 19, USDA had paid out approximately $8.9 million in wool and mohair payments, of which $7.47 million was for wool payments on the 1999 clip.


As for the long-awaited lamb checkoff proposal, USDA Deputy Administrator of Livestock & Seed Program Barry Carpenter said the proposal has “been moved back to the front of the line” and that a proposed order is expected to be published for a 60-day comment period this spring.