BEEF bits

Jul 31, 2009
by WLJ



Senator blocks animal rights activist

Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, has placed a hold on the nomination of animal rights activist Cass Sunstein who was set to be appointed to be administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs within the Office of Management and Budget. “Sen. Cornyn finds numerous aspects of Mr. Sunstein’s record troubling, specifically the fact that he wants to establish legal ‘rights’ for livestock, wildlife and pets, which would enable animals to file lawsuits in American courts,” said Cornyn spokesman Kevin McLaughlin.

Group wants cancer warning on hot dogs

In a lawsuit filed by the Cancer Project, an affiliate of the animal rights activist group Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, the group has asked the court to require firms to label hot dogs as a potential cancer causing agent. The suit names Oscar Mayer, Kraft Foods, Sara Lee and other food companies as defendants. The American Meat Institute (AMI) issued a statement calling the litigation a nuisance lawsuit. “We hope the court will move quickly to review the science affirming the safety of hot dogs and processed meats and dismiss this lawsuit,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “Meat products are regulated and inspected by USDA and bear the federal government’s seal of inspection, showing they are wholesome and nutritious.”

Finalists named in beef cook-off

The nation’s premiere amateur beef-cooking contest, the National Beef Cook-Off, has announced its 15 national finalists for the 2009 event. Sonoma, CA, is the host city for this year’s event which will take place Sept. 21-23 with amateur home cooks battling for their stake in more than $70,000 in cash prizes. One finalist will be named the $25,000 “Best of Beef” grand prize winner. This promotion event, funded by the beef checkoff, provides significant opportunities for publicity. Media coverage for the 2007 cook-off generated nearly 3,000 placements, totaling more than 400 million media impressions. In addition, the entry generation phase of the 2009 cook-off generated more than 1,200 positive articles about the upcoming event, reaching over 222 million beef-loving Americans.

Wyoming Beef Council to meet

The Wyoming Beef Council (WBC) will meet in Douglas, WY, on Aug. 12-13 at the Douglas Holiday Inn Express in the Laramie Room. The meeting on Aug. 12 will include a presentation from Senior Assistant Wyoming Attorney General Ken Nelson on fiduciary responsibility and liability of board members. On Aug. 13, beginning at 8 a.m., the council will reconvene to review and evaluate programs conducted with Wyoming beef checkoff dollars during fiscal year 2009. Reports will be given by Wyoming Ag In the Classroom, Wyoming CattleWomen, and Wyoming Beef Council staff. Updates from the Federation of State Beef Councils, the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Wyoming Livestock Board and Wyoming Department of Agriculture will also be heard. For more information, please contact WBC at 307/777-7396.

House passes food safety bill

After failing a day earlier, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a sweeping set of food safety reforms last Thursday. The Wednesday quick vote required a two-thirds majority to limit debate and amendments added on the floor. The Thursday vote required a simple majority for passage. The bill, which passed on a 183 to 142 vote, would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more food safety authority. However, facilities already regulated by USDA would be exempt from some of FDA’s extended powers, including exempting livestock operations from new on-farm inspection authority granted to FDA under the bill. The future of the regulation now depends on action in the Senate if it is to move forward. It’s fate in the Senate is less certain.

National Beef names president and CEO

National Beef Packing Co. said last week it has promoted Tim M. Klein to president and CEO and appointed him to the company’s Board of Managers.  Klein had served as president and chief operating officer since 1997. He succeeds John R. Miller, who has been National Beef’s chief executive for the past 17 years. Miller will now work as a consultant to the Kansas City, MO-based company and remain on its board. Steve Hunt, chairman of National Beef’s board and CEO of U.S. Premium Beef, explained that a succession plan has been in place “for years.” Part of that plan included development of the management staff to take the reins of “an ever-changing and growing company,” he said.