Wal-Mart increases testing mandate
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced last week that it will implement additional beef safety measures designed to further protect customers against foodborne illnesses. The new process of control standards and goals are additions to a food safety program that already requires ground beef suppliers to test for E. coli O 157:H7 and achieve prevention-based certification against one of the Global Food Safety Initiative internationally recognized standards. The new program requires beef suppliers to implement controls that would significantly reduce potential contamination levels and validate that the measures they’ve implemented are effective through specialized testing. Suppliers who do not operate slaughter houses must be in compliance with the new standard by June 2011. For beef slaughterhouse suppliers, there is a two-step approach, with the first step to be completed by June 2011 and the second by June 2012.
Japan resumes imports from Cargill plant
Japan has agreed to allow shipments of beef from a processing plant owned by Cargill Inc. after excluding it from trade nearly two years ago. The Cargill plant, located in Dodge City, KS, was shut out from shipping beef to Japan in August 2008, company spokesman Mike Martin said last Monday. Martin said the Dodge City plant was banned because it accidentally included a type of meat that was not supposed to be in the shipment to Japan. The U.S. sold about $470 million of beef to Japan in 2009, compared with $1.4 billion in 2003, before BSE became an issue, according to data from USDA. Cargill’s Martin said the “delisting” of the Dodge City plant was unfortunate, but the company is pleased it can now resume exporting to Japan.
Food safety head steps down
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) director of food safety is leaving the agency for an academic post, FDA said last Monday. Stephen Sundlof, who has been with FDA 16 years, will join the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, according to a statement from FDA. A veterinarian and research scientist by training, Dr. Sundlof became director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in January 2008. That was partly because his background in toxicology was relevant to emerging food safety issues, such as the increase in antimicrobial resistance in foodborne bacteria and BSE. The deputy director of regulatory affairs at the food safety center, Michael Landa, will become its acting chief.
ADM posts jump in 3Q profit
Archer Daniels Midland Co.’s (ADM) fiscal thirdquarter earnings surged against prior-year results as the agribusiness benefitted from improved performances across its major business segments. ADM is among the largest producers of corn-based ethanol in the U.S. Profit from the company’s corn processing segment more than doubled due to lower corn costs. In addition, improved demand and gasoline blending led to stronger ethanol margins. For the quarter ended March 31, ADM reported a profit of $421 million, or 65 cents a share, up from $3 million a year earlier, which included $140 million in losses at the corporate level. Revenue increased 2.4 percent to $15.15 billion and volume rose 11 percent. Earnings climbed 36 percent at its agriculture-services business, which handles and transports grain from farm to market before it is processed into products such as cooking oil, animal feed and sweeteners, and is one of its largest segments by net sales.
Best burger in Iowa chosen
The Sac County Cattle Company of Sac City, IA, won the bragging rights to call their Mushroom Swiss Burger the 2010 Best Burger in Iowa. The Mushroom Swiss Burger is a 100 percent ground beef patty loaded with sautéed mushrooms and topped with melted Swiss cheese on a toasted bun. The 2010 Best Burger in Iowa Contest was sponsored by the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa’s Cattlemen’s Association. Sac County Cattle Company owner Doug Kruchten has a menu loaded with beef, including a variety of hamburgers and steaks as well as a great assortment of salads, appetizers, fish, pizza and sandwiches. Kruchten is no stranger to Iowa’s beef industry and has been involved on both ends of the beef production chain. He started out raising purebred Charolais in Iowa, and then later in Missouri, before getting the itch to get into the restaurant business.
Oregon beef impresses foodies
More than 1,100 food writers, chefs, restaurant owners and lovers of great food from the International Association of Culinary Professionals were in a “good place” April 21-23 enjoying Oregon beef prepared by some of Portland’s top chefs. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and the Oregon Beef Council jointly sponsored the event, providing donated beef from Painted Hills Natural Beef, Country Natural Beef and Emerald Hills Beef. One of the events held at the convention center was a Culinary Expo where participants exhibited their products and services. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) had a booth, which was manned by Oregon Beef Council board members Jerome Rosa, Sharon Livingston and Janet Paist. NCBA’s executive chef, David Zino, prepared Peking Beef that was sampled by Expo visitors.