BEEF bits

Jun 5, 2009
by WLJ

BEEF bits

Profit the focus of BBU symposium

Beefmaster Breeders United (BBU) has scheduled a symposium in Waco, TX, for Aug. 14-15, 2009. The schedule of events includes discussion forums on providing quality purebred animals and managing performance with today’s technology, marketing opportunities and regulation in today’s international marketplace, and marketing options and the economics of the cattle business. Seminars will focus on longevity, feed efficiency, carcass yields and proven beef quality standards.

Attendance is open to BBU members, commercial cattlemen, existing and prospective Beefmaster breeders, as well as beef industry professionals who are interested in improving their operations with Beefmaster genetics.

FSIS increases E. coli sampling

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently issued a new notice (Notice 44-09) that increases the frequency with which raw ground beef may be tested for E. coli O157:H7, especially at larger facilities. Increased sampling will be put into place by FSIS at high-volume ground beef establishments because the product produced by these establishments is most widely consumed. The increase in sampling for E. coli 0157:H7 will allow the agency to estimate the amount of uncontaminated raw ground beef with a higher degree of certainty. The new notice also clarifies that any establishment may have written procedures to grind a minimum batch of product that represents the entire lot in a smaller grinder.

Canadian wholesale beef recalled

XL Four Star Beef in Nampa, ID, is recalling approximately 14,650 pounds of beef primal and subprimal products that were imported from Canada and not presented for re-inspection upon entry into the U.S. Beef products from Ranchers Premium Fed Beef Brand were included in the XL Four Star Beef brand recall. The product was shipped to wholesalers in Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York and Oregon. The beef products were distributed only at the wholesale level before the recall and it was determined that none of the beef products reached consumers. The recall is classified as a Class III recall, meaning that the public health risk is very low. The problem was discovered by USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors.

Mexican truckers file $6 billion claim

The Chamber of Autotransporte de Carga, (CANACAR), a Mexican truckers’ association, wants the U.S. to pay $6 billion in damages resulting from Washington’s refusal to open U.S. roadways to Mexican trucks, according to the Wall Street Journal.

CANACAR filed a claim with the U.S. State Department under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in April, but according to the journal, the group didn’t report the action until June. The group’s lawyer, Pedro Ojeda, was quoted as saying the demand for arbitration is the largest made under NAFTA, which became effective in 1993. Earlier this year, President Obama nixed a pilot program that permitted Mexican trailers to transport cargo on U.S. roads. Mexico retaliated in March by imposing more than $2 billion worth of tariffs on U.S. products. U.S. officials said the claim is under review.

GIPSA auditing compliance

The National Meat Association reports that representatives of USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) have been checking production contracts between pork and poultry processors and their suppliers to determine compliance with the 2008 Farm Bill which made some changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act. Some of those changes include: Providing contract producers of swine and poultry with a three-day right of cancellation after signing a grow-out contract and requiring the growing contract to clearly disclose the right to cancel; and Requiring all livestock or poultry contracts containing arbitration provisions to conspicuously disclose the right of the producer or grower to opt out of the arbitration contract before signing the contract.

Regulations establishing criteria for some of these provisions have not been written yet, although the new rules went into effect in May 2008. The findings of the GIPSA research should help packers decide how to comply.

National Beef goes green

Rehrig Penn Logistics (RPL), the services and logistics division of Rehrig Pacific Company, has signed an agreement with National Beef Packing Company, LLC to provide its Dodge City, KS, processing facility with pooling services for a new plastic, reusable, recyclable Combo Bin used to move meat trim and grind product inside and outside the plant and outbound to customers. The 100 percent plastic bins reduce the potential for contamination from wood pallets and help eliminate product damage from corrugated gaylords that get too wet to hold their shape. To serve National’s fleet, RPL has set up a 15,000-square-foot service facility in Liberal, KS. RPL expects the Combo Bin project to bring significant savings in packaging costs as well as reduced product damage to National’s operation.