BEEF bits

Jan 9, 2009
by WLJ

BEEF bits

Tyson CEO steps down
Tyson Foods Inc. said recently that its president and CEO, Dick Bond, was stepping down immediately in a move he said was in the best interest of himself and the company. Bond will be replaced on an interim basis by former chairman and CEO Leland Tollett, the company said in a statement. Springdale, AR-based Tyson, the world’s largest meat processing company, said Bond announced his decision on Jan. 5. Bond said in a statement the decision “is in both my best interest personally, and the best interest of the company.”

Bond, 61, had been CEO since May 2006. In 2007, his compensation was valued at $12.9 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Tyson shares fell 40 cents, or 4.3 percent, to $8.95 in last Monday’s trading.

Port added to control tick-borne disease
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued a final rule that adds San Luis, AZ, as a port to control the import of Mexican cattle infested or exposed to fever ticks or tick-borne diseases. However, APHIS will prohibit the import of cattle into the U.S. through that port until a new facility for handling livestock is constructed on the Mexican side of the border and equipped with facilities that allow proper chute inspection, dipping and testing required under APHIS regulations. Meant to protect U.S. livestock, federal regulations require that cattle from Mexico be inspected individually at APHIS-approved facilities on the Mexican side of the border and be certified free of ticks.

Japan may clear cloned beef
The safety of meat from cloned cattle and swine is expected to be cleared by a Japanese food safety commission, a step towards the country allowing cloned meat to enter the market. A subcommittee of experts has concluded and will report to the food safety panel, which is under the jurisdiction of the Cabinet Office, that meat from cloned animals is as safe as that from ordinary livestock. Sources told Japanese newspapers that the official announcement is expected to pave the way for distribution of beef from cloned cows to the market. A report on the safety of cloned animals is expected to be submitted to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry by the food safety panel before the end of the year, though the central government will have the final say in the matter.

AMI Foundation names interim president
American Meat Institute (AMI) Executive Vice President James Hodges will be named the interim president of the AMI Foundation, announced AMI. The news comes following the Jan. 5 departure of Randy Huffman to join Maple Leaf Foods as its chief food safety officer. AMI also made the following staff promotions and additions: Dr. Betsy Booren was named director of scientific affairs for the AMI Foundation; Dr. Andrew Milkowski has been retained to provide technical services for AMI, focusing on diet and health issues; AMI Director of Legislative Affairs Dale Nellor has been promoted to vice president of legislative affairs; Matthew Mika was named director of legislative affairs; and Heather Schoch was promoted to director of convention and exposition services.

JBS sued for polluting waterways
A lawsuit filed by the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia alleges that JBS S.A.’s Souderton, PA, beef and rendering facilities have been discharging excessive amounts of pollutants into local waterways, causing several fish kills over a five-year period. According to the filing, the facilities (formerly owned by the Smithfield Beef Group) have on numerous occasions discharged pollutants without a permit for such discharges.

U.S. Attorney Laurie Magid is asking the court to enjoin the plant from making further illegal discharges and assess tens of thousands of dollars in fines for each violation. JBS officials said in a statement the company is negotiating with all parties to resolve the claims raised by the complaint and “all parties are hopeful that they will soon reach a settlement that will make further litigation unnecessary.”

Beef Board highlights accomplishments
More than 900 million consumer impressions have been generated since Oct. 1 through the Beef Checkoff’s food communication programs. In a news release, the promotional successes were highlighted: Season’s Eatings, a holiday editorial color page distributed through a syndication service to newspapers nationwide, has reached more than 19 million readers via print and online placements. A holiday media outreach effort highlighting three lean beef recipes disseminated to magazine and newspaper food editors and online bloggers resulted in several media outlets featuring beef as the centerpiece entrée for holiday entertaining. The checkoff-funded consumer e-newsletter, Beef So Simple, pushed weekly recipes and cooking suggestions to 42,000 subscribers.