BEEF bits

Dec 19, 2008

BEEF bits

Good year for Certified Angus Beef

The Certified Angus Beef (CAB) brand posted sales of 634 million pounds in 2008, the highest mark in its 30-year history, the Wooster, OH-based company announced. The achievement was an increase of 51 million pounds, or 8.8 percent, compared with 2007 sales. Licensed retailers increased sales by more than 10 percent, selling more than 318 million pounds, CAB reported. International sales increased nearly 20 percent, totaling 62.1 million pounds. More than 14.2 million head of cattle were identified for the brand, an increase of more than 750,000 head in the past year, and 2.5 million head certified. Acceptance rates rose to 17.8 percent.

Agriprocessors may have a buyer

A potential buyer has emerged for the troubled Iowa meatpacking company. Agriprocessors’ terms in the agreement, however, do not make the sale look very promising. Florida-based Quantum Partners Inc. made an offer to acquire a controlling interest in the Postville, IA, plant and agreed to pay off a $35 million loan from First Bank Business Capital, Agriprocessors’ largest creditor, as well as agreed to allow the Rubashkin family to maintain partial ownership in the company. However, the deal also stipulates that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed in a New York court remain there. Agriprocessors filed its bankruptcy papers in a New York City court which were then moved to a court in Cedar Rapids, IA, closer to the company’s headquarters.

Korea halts imports from Swift plant

South Korea halted beef imports from a U.S. packing facility recently after finding that it repeatedly shipped spoiled meat, according to Korea’s National Veterinary Research and Quarantine Service. A JBS- Swift plant in Greeley, CO, faced the sanction after spoiled beef was found in three of its shipments sent since November. A total of 2,466 metric tons of beef have been sent to Korea from the plant since July. According to quarantine rules between South Korea and the U.S., Seoul can suspend imports until corrective measures are taken if spoiled shipments from the same factory are found twice. Japan also suspended shipments from the same slaughter facility last month after finding it had shipped beef that was improperly labeled on its export certificate.

Beef and childhood nutrition

Over 25 pediatric dietitians attended the San Antonio Area Pediatric Dietetic Association meeting where the Texas Beef Council sponsored speaker Keli Hawthorne. Hawthorne, leading pediatric dietitian and researcher for the Baylor College of Medicine USDA Children’s Nutrition Research Center, presented a session on “Early Complimentary Feeding with Zinc and Iron.” The session focused on the benefits of lean beef as a complimentary food in the diets of breast-fed infants in improving cognitive and developmental function and growth. Communicating with health professionals about beef’s nutritional values remains a focus for the Beef Checkoff.

New chuck value cuts make debut

New chuck value cuts recently debuted at 75 QFC supermarkets in Washington and Oregon. QFC is selling Choice Certified Angus Beef Denver Steaks, Boneless Country Style Ribs, and Chuck Eye Steaks in case-ready packages with an 18-day shelf life. The Denver Steaks and Chuck Eye Steaks are sold two to a package, while the Boneless Country Style Ribs are sold four to a package. Suggested retail price is $6.99 per package. Fayetteville, AR-based iQ Foods and Greeley, CO-based Colorado Premium have led efforts behind the new chuck value cuts on the processing side, said iQ Foods President Brandon Lobaugh, with Certified Angus Beef providing assistance as well.

Japan ceases imports from Packerland

Exports of beef to Japan from JBS-Packerland’s plant in Green Bay, WI, were halted last week as Japan has claimed the beef products could not be verified as originating from cattle aged 20 months or less. Officials in Tokyo have asked USDA to investigate the incident. A spokeswoman for the Food Safety and Inspection Service has claimed the incident was a “mis-pack” and that there was not a great deal of product involved. Asian media reported Japanese inspectors focused on one package out of a 6-metric-ton shipment of frozen beef tongue that arrived in Japan on Nov. 17 and that the amount found to be unverifiable was a little more than 56 pounds. Formerly owned by Smithfield Beef Group, the Green Bay plant is now owned by JBS-Swift & Co.