JBS expands beef recall
The recall notice issued by JBS Swift Beef Company on June 24 of 41,280 pounds of whole muscle beef products was expanded last week to include an additional 380,000 pounds of product believed to have been contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. The product was reportedly processed by the company’s Greeley, CO, plant on April 21. While the product was distributed as whole muscle cuts, some of this product was likely further processed through trimming and grinding into ground beef by JBS customers. According to USDA, some of this ground product might have been associated with illness. The product was reportedly distributed nationally and internationally.
California to address antibiotics again
Sen. Dean Florez’s, D-Shafter, latest attempt to limit the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture was set to be heard last Wednesday before the Assembly Agriculture Committee. Florez has turned to a triedand-true tactic known as “gut and amend” whereby he took an existing bill, SB 562, that dealt with the citrus industry and amended it so that it now mandates a warning on the label of any animal product derived from an animal that was administered a non-therapeutic dosage of an antibiotic. Many legislative observers believe that this new attempt at antibiotic labeling faces a rough road ahead as federal labeling laws preempt any attempts by state governments to label products.
Restaurant sales remain soft
The outlook for the restaurant industry was dampened somewhat in May as the National Restaurant Association’s comprehensive index of restaurant activity registered its first decline in five months. The Association’s Restaurant Performance Index—a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry—stood at 98.3 in May, down 0.3 percent from April. Restaurant operators reported negative same-store sales for the 12th consecutive month in May, with results similar to the April performance. Twenty-six percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between May 2008 and May 2009, matching the proportion who reported a sales gain in April. Sixty percent of operators reported a same-store sales decline in May, compared to 59 percent who reported lower sales in April.
Producers complete trade mission
A delegation of corn and beef producers from Iowa and Nebraska wrapped up its Asian trade mission late last month with a series of events in South Korea. The group had several meetings with retailers, distributors, cold storage operators and packer representatives, and observed a retail beef sampling promotion at an E-Mart outlet in Bundang, a southern suburb of Seoul. The group arrived in Korea June 25 after participating in similar events in Japan the prior week. The delegation capped off its Korean itinerary at a large outdoor barbecue held by U.S. Meat Export Federation at E-Mart’s Wolgye outlet. The event offered great opportunities for face-to-face interaction with Korean consumers and a chance to personally promote the safety and quality of U.S. beef. The June 27 barbecue, along with a similar promotion held the following day, attracted more than 7,000 customers and produced a significant jump in the store’s sales of U.S. chilled chuck eye roll.
Angus Auxiliary offers cookbook
Beef eaters and those who enjoy preparing tasty beef dishes will want to check out the latest cookbook offered by the American Angus Auxiliary. A compilation of winning recipes from the first quarter century of the popular competition held annually at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS)—the auxiliary sponsored All-American Certified Angus Beef Cookoff—is now available for sale. Limited copies of 25 Years of Winners: A Collection of Recipes have been printed and will be ready for pick up at this year’s NJAS, July 19-25 in Perry, GA. To order the cookbook, visit www.angussalebarn.com, or for more information about the cookbook or the cook-off, contact Anne Lampe, cook-off co-coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Build another better burger
This summer, the beef checkoff is again teaming up with Sutter Home on their Build a Better Burger promotion. Now through July 29, consumers can enter their original burger recipes for a chance to win $50,000. Retailers are aiming to increase ground beef sales through this popular contest. Creativity is encouraged by using unique cheeses, spices like chili powder or cumin, and distinctive bakery breads and rolls in the ground beef culinary creations. For details, see www.buildabetterburger.com.