BEEF bits

Apr 10, 2009
by WLJ

BEEF bits

Canada threatens South Korea

Canadian producers are pressing the government to seek trade sanctions against South Korea if the country does not quickly end its ban on Canadian beef. Gerry Ritz, Canada’s minister of agriculture, said he will consider filing a trade action with the World Trade Organization after receiving no response from officials whom he visited last month.

At the time, he reportedly warned them that Seoul should either reopen to Canadian beef or face a trade action. South Korea shut its borders to Canadian beef in May 2003 following a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy found in Alberta.

Tyson marketing chuck value cuts

The latest wave of beef value cuts discovered through checkoff research recently got a boost when the nation’s second largest beef processor equipped its plants to cut and sell the new products. According to the Beef Board, Tyson Fresh Meats began selling the four-piece chuck roll combination package last month. The “combo pack” includes the chuckeye roll, where Delmonico steaks, America’s Beef Roast, Country-Style Ribs and Denver Cut steaks are found.

These cuts were identified for special and unique attributes, such as tenderness and versatility, through checkoff-funded muscle profiling research. Since 1998, the value of the chuck has increased by 150 percent, adding $80 per head to live cattle.

Packing plants receive awards

More than 140 meat and poultry plants received awards for outstanding safety performance at the American Meat Institute Foundation’s annual Conference on Worker Safety, Health, Human Resources and the Environment. Forty-two plants were recognized with the highest award: the Award of Honor. Forty-seven received the Award of Merit.

Thirty plants received the Award of Commendation, and 22 received a Certificate of Recognition. The various levels of awards are earned based on an evaluation of each eligible plant’s actual safety performance as well as its implementation of various key components of an effective safety and health program as measured by the safety program questionnaire. Each plant’s award application is analyzed by experts at the National Safety Council, which assisted with the development of the program.

Cut beef, to cut carbon footprint?

Bon Appetit Management Co. said last week it has reduced its beef purchases by 25 percent in an effort to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, it claims.

Bon Appetit, which generated 80 million meals a year by serving 400 cafés at colleges, universities and corporations in 29 states, said in a news release last week that it exceeded its carbon footprint reduction goals for the year by reducing beef purchases by 25 percent, cheese by 10 percent, tropical fruit by 50 percent, and total food waste by 20 percent. “Chefs are able to offer the usual cheeseburgers to diners who want them, and still reduce the amount of beef they purchase,” the company stated. “This reduction is a key component of the program because regardless of how far it travels, or how the animals are raised, beef and cheese come from methane-emitting ruminant animals and methane is a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than CO2.”

Retailer resumes sales of U.S. beef

According to South Korean news agency Yonhap News, the Hyundai Department Store Co. resumed selling U.S. beef on April 3. The return to U.S. beef comes after a five-year ban on products from the U.S. following the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy here. Hyundai joins Shinsegae Co. as the latest Korean retailers to stock U.S. beef. South Korea’s top three discount stores—E-mart, Homeplus and Lottemart—all resumed U.S. beef sales in November 2008 in response to consumers who were shifting to the lower-priced product amid a deepening economic recession. Meanwhile, Lotte Department Store, the nation’s largest department store chain, still has not decided whether it will follow suit, Yonhap reported.

Beef production expected to rise

According to the latest USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate, total U.S. meat production for 2009 is forecast to be lower this month as a slight increase in beef output is more than offset by lower pork and poultry production. The beef production forecast is raised from last month due to a combination of heavier expected steer and heifer weights and higher expected cow slaughter. Export forecasts for 2009 for major meats are lowered slightly. Exports of beef and turkey are forecast lower, but the pork export forecast is raised. Broiler exports are unchanged. Beef imports are raised, but imports for pork are unchanged. The cattle price forecast is unchanged from last month. Hog prices are raised as tighter hog supplies are expected. Broiler prices are lowered as demand is expected to remain weak.