Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Aug 1, 2005
by WLJ

Canadian calf program concluded
The Feeder Calf Set-Aside Program in Canada ended late last month now that Canadian cattle are moving across the U.S. border. The Canadian Agriculture Ministry said that producers are free to market their calves as they see fit, and there are no slaughter restrictions. A notice to industry on July 15 also announced that auctions under the Fed Cattle Set-Aside Program were suspended. Cattle registered in the program will be released as scheduled, though producers who want to voluntarily withdraw some lots from the program before their scheduled release date may do so with preauthorization from their provincial program administrator. Producers that remove cattle from the program without permission will be subject to administrative penalties that may include forfeiting any program payments owed to them.

Canadian ground beef recalled
Ground beef distributed by Westfair Foods Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta, is being recalled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on suspicion that the beef may be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The suspect beef was sold through four British Columbia supermarkets, Real Canadian Superstores of Duncan and Burnaby; Real Canadian Wholesale Club of Burnaby; and Extra Foods of Vancouver. Most of the products were sold in early to mid-June. To date, no illnesses have been reported linked to the contaminated meat.

More BSE reported in France
One new case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was announced Friday, July 22, in central France. The infected cow is a Charolais, born in 1995 to a herd of the French Vienne department. It is the eighth BSE case detected in the department since 2001. A dozen potentially infected cattle will be euthanized and destroyed in conformity with the current rules under government control.

New Canadian plant moves ahead
A farming cooperative in northern Alberta is going ahead with plans to build its own meat processing facility. Members of the Peace Country Tender Beef Co-op say they’re not deterred by the long-awaited reopening of the American border to Canadian cattle. The co-op was conceived during the protracted border closing that started after BSE was first confirmed in the province in 2003. It has grown to about 600 members. The co-op is converting a curling club in the small town of Berwyn into a meat processing plant set to open this fall. The organization is also working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on plans for a new slaughter house for 2006.

French accented burger served
This summer, White Castle is serving up the classic flavors of French onion soup on a bun. Until August 13, the Columbus, OH-based chain is offering the French Onion Cheeseburger, which features White Castle’s classic hamburger topped with French onion cheese and French onion sauce. In-store merchandising, along with broadcast and radio advertising, will support the product’s introduction. A 30-second TV spot titled “French Maid” plays up a man’s fantasy as he eats the new burger.

Hormel plans plant addition
Hormel Foods Corp. is planning a $6 million expansion of its meat processing plant in Rochelle, IL. The Austin, MN.-based food company will build a 27,500-square-foot addition to manufacture a new line of microwaveable entrees. Hormel also plans to remodel about 25,000 square feet of the existing facility.

Processors participate in SD program
Through their checkoff dollars, South Dakota beef producers will help train in-state meat processors in the specifics of the new South Dakota Certified Beef program that guarantees consumers they are buying beef born, raised and processed in the state. Directors of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council voted to help fund training, materials and research for the program during their quarterly meeting. About 18 processors are expected to participate in the pilot phase through the fall, with general enrollment in the program to begin around the end of the year.

Blood test for BSE
Adlyfe, Inc., a privately held biotech company headquartered in Rockville, MD, has announced the development of a sensitive blood test for the protein folding diseases that could provide earlier diagnosis of BSE, according to its press release. The test is designed to detect misfolded proteins that cause neurological diseases, including BSE. Alan S. Rudolph, CEO, said the test is based on using small, synthetic peptides that mimic protein folding. Adlyfe has 11 patents pending on the technology. The test has been under development for three years under the support of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institutes of Health.

Dumeco gets USDA approval
Six companies in the Dumeco Group (Dutch United Meat Company) have been inspected and approved by USDA to sell meat. A spokesman for the company said the approval offers an excellent opportunity to sell products directly into the U.S. market, such as spare ribs and other barbecue products.

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