BEEF bits

Nov 6, 2009
by DTN


BEEF bits


Ground beef linked to deaths

A recall of more than 500,000 pounds of ground beef, manufactured at Fairbanks Farms, for E. coli O157:H7, has now been linked to two deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. More than 28 people have also been sickened by the tainted product. The first fatality was reported in New Hampshire on Oct. 31; the second case was reported by New York state officials last week. The ground beef was sold under the Price Chopper, Trader Joe’s and Shaw’s labels along with several other smaller retail labels.

Texas Beef Council tries new approach

The Texas beef checkoff’s Hispanic public relations outreach has taken a new direction focusing on nutrition and delivering newsworthy beef information. To answer the growing need for Spanish-language resources, registered dietitian and diabetes educator Martha Cortez McHenry partnered with the Texas Beef Council to deliver nutrition information through multiple Spanish-language media outlets. McHenry recently conducted two interviews on popular Spanish-language television stations in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio on behalf of the Texas beef checkoff. Each segment featured the perfect nutrientrich plate for Hispanic consumers, including colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lowfat and nonfat dairy and lean beef. The television interviews reached more than 128,000 consumers.

McDonald’s beef rumor circulating

A false rumor about McDonald’s is once again circulating via e-mail and the Internet, according to the National Beef Cattlemen’s Association (NCBA). The rumor claims McDonald’s refuses to buy U.S. beef, and imports potentially unsafe beef from South America. The e-mail reportedly asks recipients to boycott McDonald’s. NCBA reports it has received several questions about the e-mail, which has been circulating in various forms for at least seven years. The e-mail incorrectly claims to be from the Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA), however, TCFA officials say they have no connection to the circulating email.

Environmentalist will speak at CSU

Founder of the Earth Policy Institute, Lester Brown, who has authored or co-authored over 50 books, will be speaking later this month at Colorado State University (CSU). The Earth Policy Institute is an organization dedicated to “developing and implementing a plan for sustainable future,” according to CSU officials. On Thursday, Nov. 19, Brown will be giving a free lecture about his new book, Plan B 4.0, in which he presents a road map and vision for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy. An open-forum discussion following the lecture will involve a panel of noted on-campus experts covering the areas of Animal Sciences, Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Sociology.

USDA shutters veal packer

After a shocking video showing abuses by workers at a Vermont veal plant was turned over to USDA officials, they moved quickly to close the plant and condemn the activities taking place there. The undercover video footage was recorded by members of the Humane Society of the United States. The footage shows veal calves being kicked, slapped and repeatedly shocked with electric prods. “The deplorable scenes recorded in the video released by the Humane Society of the United States are unequivocally unacceptable. The callous behavior and attitudes displayed in the video clearly appear to be violations of USDA’s humane handling regulations,” said Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. He called for a criminal investigation into the incident after Food Safety Inspection Service personnel were implicated.

Aussies sell organic beef to China

An organic beef company from the Queensland’s Channel Country hopes to become the first to sell organic beef into China. The OBE company already exports product around the world, including into Japan, Malayasia and Singapore, but there’s no organic beef available in China. The company’s Dalene Wray has been living in Beijing to develop the market and says there’s huge potential. “There’s a lot of very wealthy people in China,” she says. “There’s a lot of people in China concerned about what they are eating. They already have a very big organic pork and organic chicken production base, so it would make sense that there would be people interested in organic beef. Realistically, we’re hoping to put reasonable volumes there in the next 12 months.”