Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Sep 5, 2005
by WLJ

Malaysia bans Aussie beef
Malaysia has suspended beef imports from several Australian abattoirs, claiming slaughter methods do not meet Islamic law and the meat is unfit for Muslims to eat. Inspectors from Malaysia’s Department of Islamic Development have refused to approve Halal certification to Australian processors that stun animals to ease their suffering before slaughter. The Australian government has refused to say how many processors have been denied certification. The trade minister, Mark Vaile, has been talking to the Malaysian government to try to resolve the standoff.

Processors finalize merger
Rosen’s Diversified Inc., Fairmont, MN, and American Foods Group (AFG), Green Bay, WI, have announced the completion of their merger. The new national food company will be known as American Foods Group, LLC and have operating plants in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Ohio, Nebraska and Virginia. The two companies announced their intent to merge July 15. Combined total sales for the two meat companies last year were more than $1.5 billion. Tom Rosen, CEO of Rosen’s, and Carl Kuehne, CEO and owner of AFG, will serve as co-chairmen and co-CEOs of the new company. Greg Benedict will be COO and Robert Hovde will be the CFO. The new company will provide fresh and frozen meats to leading retailers and national food system distributors. It will also supply cooked and case-ready meat products for the retail and foodservice market.

New Zealand exports get boost
New Zealand’s beef exports to Japan, Korea and Taiwan have grown substantially in both value and volume in recent years. In 2004, New Zealand beef exports to those countries rose by 69 percent in volume and 74 percent in value, according to Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). MLA said a Rabobank report indicated New Zealand has taken advantage of the opportunities offered by the recent BSE bans on U.S. and Canadian beef, and used its clean, green and quality reputation to promote its beef. In terms of New Zealand exports to the U.S., MLA said the Rabobank report predicts that the re-entry of Canadian live cattle exports will increase competition in that market and possibly soften prices for New Zealand producers.

HMD spreading in Russia
The number of hoof-and-mouth disease (HMD) infected cattle kept growing in the Primorye territory of Russia last week. More than 130 cows have fallen ill with HMD in three villages. The sick cows are exposed in Krasny Kut, Spassky district, Pavlo-Fedorovka, Kirovsky district and in Ignatyevka, Pozharsky district. The vaccination of cattle is going on in all districts of the territory. About 46,000 cows have already been vaccinated. Approximately 150,000 vaccines against HMD Asia-1 have been supplied to the territory. Another 160,000 vaccines will be brought to the Primorye territory before the middle of the month. According to specialists, these vaccines will be enough for the vaccination of all cows, pig and sheep not only at big farms, but also at private farms.

Japanese consumers survey
A September Japanese farm ministry survey found that 43 percent of survey respondents have either stopped eating beef or reduced consumption since the first case of BSE disease in Japan was confirmed, according to results released by Kyodo News reports. The results indicate that while seven percent of Japanese consumers still eat beef occasionally, 36 percent have cut back on consumption, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said. The ministry solicited replies to its Internet survey from 2,000 consumers in February and March. Valid answers came from 1,557 people. The survey found 53 percent of respondents unaffected by the outbreak of mad cow disease in terms of beef consumption.

Beef recall expanded due to listeria
Allison’s Gourmet Kitchens, Ltd., Moore, OK, last Wednesday expanded the recall of processed beef products due to potential listeria monocytogenes contamination. The company originally announced Aug. 23 it was voluntarily recalling 4,925 pounds of product. However, that number jumped to a total of 23,435 pounds last week. The additional products were packaged between July 26 and Aug. 10, and were distributed to delicatessens in Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. The products subject to the recall are five-pound plastic containers of “Allison’s Gourmet Kitchens Barbeque Beans with Beef.” The containers bear the use-by date “09 06,” “09 13,” “09 20” or “09 21” and include the establishment number, “EST. 27404,” inside the USDA seal of inspection. Each case bears the code “04075.”

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