BSE Web site revamped

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Dec 3, 2008
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BSE Web site revamped

In an effort to provide the latest facts about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the Beef Checkofffunded Web site, BSEInfo.org, recently was overhauled to include new and updated content and an easy-to-search Web structure. Although the U.S. hasn’t had a case of BSE since 2006, this disease remains important to the beef industry and the scientific community and frequently receives media attention. A highlight of the site is the Scientific Resource, which was reviewed by nine leading international experts in BSE and related diseases. A premiere Web site in its subject area, BSEInfo.org continues to be one of a very few sites to offer a comprehensive range of scientific information about BSE and related disease, typically hosting more than 2,000 unique visitors per week, many from other countries.

Successful Nebraska Beef Cook-off

Dale Henderson of Lincoln took home the winning honors from the 6th annual River City Roundup “What’s For Dinner” Beef Cook-Off for his ‘Cream Steak’ recipe. In this case it wasn’t only an honor to win, but he took home a set of new Frigidaire appliances courtesy of the Nebraska Furniture Mart. A refrigerator, range, dishwasher and microwave are all his, thanks to this winning recipe. Beef Certificate prizes were also awarded to the other finalist contestants in this year’s contest: Linda Spagnotti of Cedar Rapids, Karen Hall of Elm Creek, Steve Harley of Winnetoon, and LuAnn Schlinder of Ewing. All of the winning recipes are posted on the Nebraska Beef Council Web site at www.nebeef.org. This contest was sponsored by the Nebraska Beef Council and the Nebraska Furniture Mart.

Hardee’s downsizes Thickburger

Carpinteria, CA-based quick service restaurant chain Hardee’s, with more than 1,900 locations, recently introduced the Little Thickburger, a quarter-pound version of the chain’s regular third-pound Thickburger. The Little Thickburgers are made with 100 percent Angus beef and priced starting at $1.99. “The only complaint some people have ever had about our Thickburgers is that they were either too big or too expensive to order as much as they would like, particularly in this challenging economic environment,” said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee’s. “We created Little Thickburgers specifically for those people.” A new ad campaign illustrates the different between the original Thickburger and the Little Thickburger.

Meat equities drop faster than Dow

After Wall Street clocked its largest one-day point drop ever last Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 777 points at the close, stocks of major protein producers like Smithfield, Pilgrim’s Pride and Tyson fell even further. The Dow was down 7 percent at close while Smithfield shares fell 16 percent on the day, Pilgrim’s Pride lost 21 percent, and Tyson Foods shares fell over 11 percent on the day after a rollercoaster day the previous Friday. Some analysts suggested in a note to investors that banks may need to put together a type of rescue package for companies such as Pilgrim’s Pride, or even the whole poultry industry, to help them reconfigure debt, sell assets and tap into some type of liquidity fund. Opening of beef plant delayed The going got slower for an Aberdeen, SD, company trying to open a new beef plant. Years in the making, the opening of Northern Beef Packers’ new facility has been pushed back to February 2009. Flooding in the area had already delayed a scheduled summer opening until November. Dennis Hellwig of Northern Beef Packers said that although financing hasn’t been finalized, the main setback has been weather, as consistent rains throughout the summer have slowed construction. The $40 million-plus plant will initially process 200 to 250 head of cattle per day and employ 300 workers. Long term, the plant is expected to process 1,500 head daily and employ 550 workers.

Retail recall information changes

After several incidents in the past year involving millions of pounds of tainted beef, USDA is starting to identify retail stores affected by serious recalls. The department’s Food Safety Inspection Service will post on its Web site (www.fsis.usda.gov) a list of stores that receive products subject to Class 1 recalls, those which are identified as posing the most serious health hazards. These are products whose use probably would cause serious health problems or even death, authorities say. In the past, the government would name only the manufacturer and states where the products could be found. The department issued its proposed rules for public comment in early summer and planned to start the service in August 2008.

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