BEEF bits

Jun 18, 2010
by WLJ

California Beef Backer awarded

The California Beef Council announced recently that the Santa Maria Elks Lodge #1538 in Santa Maria, CA, has been recognized as an Honorary California Beef Backer for its long-time support of the beef industry. The Elks were presented with the award by local rancher John Lacey at their annual Rodeo Banquet. The Santa Maria Elks Lodge has been the largest and most active organization to promote and host Santa Maria-style barbecues, serving thousands of people beef and bringing families and friends togeth- er. Since 1927, the Santa Maria Elks Lodge has been a cornerstone of Santa Maria-style barbecue. The Elks have refined a tradition that dates back to the early 1800s in the Santa Maria Valley when the first American cowboys, known as vaqueros, would host large cookouts after each cattle roundup for their friends, family and fellow ranchers. Today, Santa Maria-style barbecue is a tradition that not only lives on in both the ranching community and the neighbor- hoods of the California Central Coast, but also nation- wide.

Bovine TB found in Colorado herd

Confirmatory tests show four cows in a Colorado dairy herd have tested positive for bovine tuberculosis (TB). The ongoing investigation by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and USDA began in March 2010 when internal lesions were discovered on a southern Colorado cow at a slaughter facility. Subsequent tracing and testing has led to the discov ery of the additional positive cattle. Bovine TB causes internal lesions in infected animals. It is spread pri- marily by respiratory aerosols being exhaled by infect- ed animals and can then be inhaled by animals or humans. Meat from the infected animals did not enter the food chain; commercially sold milk is pasteurized, killing bacteria with heat, so there is no public health concern when consuming pasteurized dairy products. Livestock owners with questions can contact the State Veterinarian’s Office at 303/239-4161.

Brazilian firm expands to U.S.

Marfrig Alimentos S.A. announced last week that it will purchase foodservice supplier Keystone Foods LLC, marking the expansion of another Brazilian com- pany with a foothold in the U.S. Keystone Foods, headquartered in West Conshohocken, PA, serves more than 28,000 restaurants in 13 different countries. In 2009, the company employed nearly 13,000 people in 54 units, and had net sales of $6.4 billion. The $1.26 billion purchase is subject to regulatory approvals. As a result of the purchase, Marfrig will become a leading supplier to McDonald’s Corp., Campbell’s, Subway, ConAgra, Yum Brands and Chipotle. Marfrig said it will finance the acquisition by issuing $1.3 billion through a private subscription of five-year mandatory convertible debentures. The company expects to complete the acquisition and its financing in the second half of this year.

Cargill, Meyer Natural sign agreement

Cargill’s U.S. beef business and Meyer Natural Foods have entered into a multi-year agreement which creates a joint “go-to-market” approach. This collaborative effort will focus on expanding sales of Meyer Natural Angus and Laura’s Lean Beef to Cargill’s retail and foodservice customers that wish to offer consumers natural and organic beef products. Products sold under the joint marketing arrangement will be produced for Meyer by Cargill at its Fort Morgan, CO, processing facility. Terms of the agreement, which became effective in late May, were not disclosed. Cargill’s U.S. meat business is headquartered in Wichita, KS, and Meyer Natural Foods is headquartered in Loveland, CO.

USDA to promote mobile slaughter units

In an effort to expand access to USDA inspected slaughter facilities, USDA is hosting a workshop on mobile meat slaughter facilities at the end of June. The agency is working to promote its “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” agenda which is focused on creating better access to local products for consumers and better market access for producers. “This session will educate small producers and processors on establishing mobile slaughter units and how to ensure safety of the products so that they can receive the USDA federal mark of inspection,” Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Jerold Mande said in a news release. Red meat mobile slaughter units are self-contained slaughter facilities that can travel from site to site. Livestock for these units include cattle, hogs, goats and sheep. The information session is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (EDT) June 24 at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center in Boonsboro, MD. Discussion topics will include how to apply for the federal grant of inspection and inspection issues unique to mobile slaughter units.