Edited by Kiran Kernellu
September 22, 2003
ELECTRONIC BUSINESS FILINGS AT RISK!
Last Monday, one of NMA’s staff members received a call from a man who was trying to find contact information for one of NMA’s members linked on NMA’s website. He told us that the member had set up a shell organization and his name was one of the principals of the new entity, and the new entity was filing for credit cards in his name. He had reported the entire issue to the police.
We immediately called the CEO of our member and told him about the call, and provided the name and telephone number of the caller. Like many members, he has one location, in one state, and was very disturbed about what we told him.
By Thursday, he called us back. He learned that criminals who paid a $35 access fee (common in most states) had accessed the electronic filing of his business identity in his state. They altered his address, telephone numbers, and principals. They then proceeded to order, in his case, vehicles to be delivered to their bogus address, using his credit record, to the tune of $500,000. The sellers confirmed his credit record with a major reporting agency, and of course it was excellent. The federal investigative authorities are now hot on the trail of the criminals behind this activity. And our member has learned that others have been scammed for even larger amounts.
It’s a good idea to periodically check personal and business credit records with reporting agencies and to clear up inaccuracies. NMA answers all calls during its extended business hours in person – no voice mail here! NMA’s quick follow-up is deeply appreciated by our member before he unknowingly became more deeply entrenched in this third-party criminal behavior.
BUYING MORE TIME - NMA MEMBER OPINIONS ON COOL NEEDED!
Here in Washington, D.C., those of us who represent those who are affected by Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) hold our collective breath and watch the www.senate.gov website with our eyes wide-open. We press each other and our contacts on the Hill for an inkling of information about what is going to come next. When will they finish the Energy Appropriations Bill? What will they do next? Will it be… could it be… AGRICULTURE? Then we breathe another sigh of relief and try to add up the days of respite we have as the Senate moves on to Interior Appropriations. But soon the day of debate will be upon us and various senators who consider COOL just fine the way it is will work hard to make sure that the program begins in its current unworkable form on September 30, 2004.
While the lobbyist’s role is surprisingly effective at times, it is just another expected part of this country’s legislative process. The senator has a script. The legislative assistant another, and NMA’s Government Relations Liaison Shawna Thomas has hers. It isn’t meant to make it sound like a show, but there is a process to it and we know the roles they play. The wild card(s) in the situation are the constituents - the woman who single-handedly takes her crusade against drunk drivers all the way to the Hill or the man who knows he should have the same rights as his next-door neighbor and begins a letter writing campaign, and the local news picks up the story. While the cynics abound in the government and the media, change is possible when the voices that are affected make their opinions known. The best example of this currently is former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s Presidential campaign; it is a prime example of grassroots drive and energy.
No, COOL is not nearly the sexy news issue that drunk driving and civil rights are, but there are a great many people who feel strongly about how it is going to hurt their livelihood. Those same people vote. Those same people’s tax dollars pay the people who represent their interests in Congress. The representatives, however, have to be told what the voters fear and what they care about. While NMA provides a constant voice in Washington D.C., it is the individual constituent’s voice that makes the most impact because each one has a vote.
Therefore, this is your chance to cause a fuss, a stir, and a stink even, and get your opinion to your representatives in Congress. Shawna Thomas, NMA Government Relations Liaison, will help any of our members draft letters and make sure they get to the proper people and offices. Please contact her as soon as possible at [email protected] or (202) 518-6383.
USDA ENDS END QUARANTINE IN CA
Last Tuesday Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman announced that there are no longer any areas in the U.S. that are quarantined because of exotic Newcastle disease (END). This removes portions of Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, CA from the list of END quarantined areas, 11 months after END was verified in California. “This administration is committed to enhancing our pest and disease control and prevention efforts,” Veneman said in a press release. “I congratulate all the state and federal personnel who have worked tirelessly to eradicate exotic Newcastle disease.”
Last Friday APHIS published an interim rule and request for comments, “Exotic Newcastle Disease; Removal of Areas From Quarantine” to remove the aforementioned counties from the list of quarantined areas. This interim rule was effective September 16, 2003. All comments received on or before November 18, 2003 will be considered. Submit comments by mail or by e-mail to Docket No. 02-117-10, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238; [email protected].
GUIDANCE FOR INDUSTRY ON USE OF MATERIAL FROM DEER AND ELK IN ANIMAL FEED
On Sept. 16, the FDA published a notice in the Federal Register entitled, “Guidance for Industry on Use of Material From Deer and Elk in Animal Feed; Availability.” The Agency is announcing the availability of its guidance, which describes FDA’s recommendations regarding the use in all animal feed of all material from deer and elk that are positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) or are considered at high risk for CWD. The guidance document is available at: http://www.fda.gov/cvm/default.html. Submit written requests for single copies of this guidance document to the Communications Staff (HFV-12), Center for Veterinary Medicine, Food and Drug Administration, 7519 Standish Pl., Rockville, MD 20855. Please send one self-addressed adhesive label to assist that office in processing your requests.
Submit written or electronic comments on agency guidances at any time to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20855; http://www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments. Comments should be identified with the full title of the guidance document and the docket number found in the heading of this document. View the notice at:
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 RESOURCE NOW AVAILABLE
NMA’s resource, “The Role of Microbiological Testing in Beef Safety Systems,” which was offered in the May 27, 2003 Lean Trimmings, has been revised and is now available for dissemination. NMA members who would like a copy of the resource should contact Julie Ramsey at 510-763-1533 or [email protected].
CANADIAN BEEF GOES TO MEXICO
The Western Producer reported last Thursday that Canadian beef was to start moving into Mexico last week. Reportedly, Mexico’s decision to accept Canadian beef follows confirmation last week that the U.S. will allow strictly regulated trans-shipments through the U.S. to Mexico. “This is a very significant step, a huge step,” Canadian Beef Export Federation President Ted Haney said in a Sept. 12 interview during World Trade Organization negotiations in Cancun. “It’s going to take significant pressure off us.”
Haney said Mexico, with Canada’s support, also is lobbying the U.S. to allow it to import up to 15,000 Mexican-owned dairy breeding animals from Canada. The U.S. has reportedly threatened to ban live cattle imports from Mexico if it moves too far too fast on re-admitting Canadian cattle and beef. “That would be limited to Mexican-owned young cattle right now, but it also would be a significant move, a sort of precedent to look at,” Haney added.
CANADIAN CATTLE BAN UPDATE
Cattle Buyers Weekly reported today that USDA will publish within “a matter of weeks, not months” a proposed rule to allow live Canadian cattle under 30 months of age into the U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said as much last Wednesday, adding that the Agency is currently developing the proposed rule. The proposed rule could reportedly be published as early as mid to late October.
CANADIAN CATTLE BAN FORCES CLOSURE
Cattle Buyers Weekly reported today that after 15 years, Simplot Meat Products, of Nampa, ID slaughtered its last cattle this past Wednesday. The company had previously operated at a daily capacity of 500-550 head per day, but had dropped down to 400 head per day recently because of a lack of fed cattle in the Pacific Northwest, according to General Manager Steve Wess. The company has been buying cattle from the Midwest and Minnesota, but seeing no supplies for the foreseeable future, opted to close. The closure resulted in 272 workers being laid off last Friday.
BEEF CHECKOFF FUNDED AT $47.7 MILLION
The Beef Promotion Board announced $47.7 million in funding for beef checkoff programs for this coming year, according to an Omaha-World Herald report Saturday. Eight organizations will receive funding for 46 programs that promote beef to consumers and educate people about the beef and cattle industry.
NCBA will receive $26.6 million to continue its promotional efforts, including $14.6 million for consumer advertising in the “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” campaign. The checkoff will also fund a program with the American National Cattlewomen to create an educational project focusing on the benefits of irradiation. “There is an educational void that needs to be filled,” said Andy Tucker, President of the Beef Promotion Board, in the report. To boost the checkoff’s image, the board also is funding a “beefmobile” that will tour the country, stopping in livestock barns to promote checkoff programs with producers.
UPCOMING NMA SEMINARS
October 1-2, 2003 - Beyond Basics (HACCP) -- College Station, TX
October 23, 2003 – SSOP and SPS (HACCP) – San Francisco, CA***
November 5, 2003 – Listeria Workshop – Ontario, CA ***
February 11-14, 2004 – NMA’s 58th Annual Convention – San Antonio, TX
February 11, 2004 – AMSA’s Western Meat Science Conference – San Antonio, TX
April 3-5, 2004 - Basic HACCP – Los Angeles, CA
April 21-23, 2004 – HACCP in Spanish – Los Angeles, CA
September 18-20, 2004 - Basic HACCP – San Francisco, CA
Contact NMA at (510) 763-1533 for more information and registration materials.
*** Location subject to change
GOOD MANUFACTURING GUIDELINES AND GUIDELINES FOR DEVELOPING BEST PRACTICES FOR BEEF SLAUGHTER
NMA has available a new resource document, “Good Manufacturing Guidelines for the Removal of Spinal Cord During Slaughter Operations and Sampling and Testing of Advanced Meat Recovery Product for Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Analysis.” It is recommended that this document be used in conjunction with the Guidelines for Developing Best Practices for Beef Slaughter, which NMA has developed, in conjunction with SMA, AMI and NCBA, as well leading representatives of beef slaughtering companies.
NMA members contact Kiran Kernellu at 510-763-1533 or [email protected] for a copy of these resources.
FSIS is holding five workshops to explain its new rule, “Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products,” to owners and operators of very small, and small, inspected establishments. Attendees should register in advance by contacting Sheila Johnson at 202-690-6498 or [email protected]. The remaining meetings are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the following locations:
JAPAN’S BAN OF BEEF ON THE BONE – OPPORTUNITY FOR U.S. EXPORTERS
USMEF Export Newsline reported today that Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to ban sales of beef on the bone produced in countries that have reported a case of BSE (including Japan). The Japanese ruled that consumption of dorsal root ganglia poses the same level of risk as other spinal cord tissue already banned as BSE-risk material. Sale of bone-in beef will not be allowed for consumption or for use in processed food, according to Japanese officials. While no date has been set for imposition of the new regulations, USMEF-Japan reports the new rule could be in effect by the end of 2003, or the beginning of Japan’s fiscal year, April 1, 2004.
USMEF believes that the new Japanese regulation will create a market opportunity for U.S. exporters because the new restrictions don’t affect U.S. exports of beef on the bone. The rule eliminates Japan’s sale of domestic short loins and other bone-in ribs, while Japanese imports of these U.S. cuts are unaffected. The report cited projection estimates of U.S. exports of T-bone and bone-in ribs to Japan could increase by 2,000 metric tons annually based on current demand, with an additional 2,000 metric ton increase coming from pharmaceutical demand for bone products.
Holiday Inn Oakland Airport
500 Hegenberger Rd.
Wyndham Garden Hotel
6000 Pan American Freeway NE
Edited by Kiran Kernellu
September 22, 2003
USDA REPORTS MAJOR DROP IN E. COLI O157:H7
FSIS released data last Wednesday showing a drop in the number of E. coli O157:H7 positive samples in ground beef collected to date in 2003 compared with past years. Of the samples collected and analyzed through Aug. 31, 0.32 percent tested positive for E. coli O157:H7, down from 0.78 in 2002 and 0.84 in 2001. This is a 46% drop over last year!
“The Agency’s sampling data suggests that initiatives begun in the past year are beginning to pay dividends,” said FSIS Administrator Dr. Garry L. McKee in a release. “We have examined the HACCP plans at more than 1,000 beef establishments and ended a 1998 program that exempted some establishments from random FSIS testing. We are also examining all plant-generated data to better detect future problems. We are far from satisfied, but the arrow is clearly pointing in the right direction.”
ILLEGAL DRUG RESIDUES IN FOOD ANIMALS
Selling an animal for slaughter as human food that contains illegal residues is against the law. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, a food is adulterated under Section 402(a)(4) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) “if it has been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions … whereby it may have been rendered injurious to health.” “Insanitary conditions” may mean that animals which are ultimately offered for sale for slaughter as food under conditions which are so inadequate that medicated animals bearing possibly harmful drug residues are likely to enter the food supply. It is not necessary to have personally shipped an adulterated animal in interstate commerce to be responsible for a violation of the Act; the fact that an adulterated animal was offered for sale to a slaughter facility where it was held for sale in interstate commerce is sufficient to bring responsibility on the potential seller for violations of the Act.
NMA’s Executive Director Rosemary Mucklow, with other leaders in the meat industry, petitioned to have the data from findings of illegal drug residues in food animals located in a centralized location for easy reference. Warning letters are issued for such violations, which are the result of collaboration between FSIS and FDA through each Agency’s respective authorities. These warning letters, as well as others for a variety of violations, are located on FDA’s website at: http://www.fda.gov/. From the home page, a search by company name or district will bring up any warning letters. The warning letters are issued at the district level, and a search using key word “district” will bring up warning letters from various districts. A search with key phrase “illegal residues in food animals” will also bring up warning letters. (See the link http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/wlcfm/subject.cfm?FL=I as an example.) NMA has learned that FDA’s postings of the warning letters do not coincide with issue dates. In some cases, it may take a few months for a warning letter to be posted. NMA members are encouraged to visit FDA’s site to determine the status of those from whom they buy livestock.
Deadline Date Agency
Federal Register link
October 3, 2003
“FSIS Safety and Security Guidelines for the Transportation and
Distribution of Meat, Poultry, and Egg Products; Notice of Availability”
October 9, 2003
“Food Labeling: Trans Fatty Acids in Nutrition Labeling; Consumer Research to Consider Nutrient Content and Health Claims and Possible Footnote or Disclosure Statements”
October 27, 2003
“Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion; Notice of Availability
of Proposed Food Guide Pyramid Daily Food Intake Patterns and Technical Support Data and Announcement of Public Comment Period”
November 18, 2003
“Exotic Newcastle Disease; Removal of Areas From Quarantine”
March 22, 2004
“Need To Complete New Registration Form and Importance of
Compliance With Recordkeeping and Registration Requirements Under the
Federal Meat and Poultry Products Inspection Regulations”
December 8, 2004
“Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Meat and Poultry Products”
USDA DISASTER ASSISTANCE
The USDA offers a number of disaster assistance programs, especially to ensure that people have a safe and adequate supply of food. “USDA has a number of programs and a wealth of information available to help people during emergencies,” said Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman in a press release. “A variety of services are available including our Meat and Poultry Hotline, programs to restore the environment and food assistance programs.”
In the area of food safety, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) offers recommendations in an effort to help minimize the potential for foodborne illness as well as advice on food safety precautions to follow after the disaster. See the FSIS website at http://www.fsis.usda.gov for a checklist of appropriate measures. For additional information on food safety during an emergency, call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854); for the hearing-impaired (TTY) 1-800-256-7072. The Hotline is staffed by food safety experts weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST, and food safety recordings can be heard 24 hours a day using a touch-tone phone.
In the area of food assistance, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provides commodity foods for shelters and other mass feeding sites, distributes commodity food packages directly to households in need, and issues emergency food stamps. Further, as part of the Federal Emergency Response Plan, FNS’s Food Distribution Division has the primary responsibility of supplying food to disaster relief organizations such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army for mass feeding or household distribution. Additional information on disaster food assistance can be found at http://www.fns.usda.gov/disasters/disaster.htm.
USDA’s Rural Development assists with housing development. The Agency makes every effort to help borrowers who are victims of a disaster to recover from the financial hardship, to minimize the potential delinquency or liquidation, and to protect the Government’s interest. Additional information is also available online at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/.
Rural Development also provides rural business programs. Many Business Programs can be of assistance in providing financial relief to small businesses as a result of natural disasters. For additional information on business assistance visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/bpdir.htm.
Visit http://www.usda.gov/news/releases/2003/09/0325.htm to learn more about USDA’s disaster assistance programs.