BEEF bits

Sep 3, 2010
by WLJ

JBS should provide prayer time

Federal officials said a JBS packing plant in Nebraska should provide Muslim employees with prayer time and not retaliate against workers who ask to pray. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit last Monday on behalf of more than 80 Somali Muslims. Hundreds of Muslim workers—most of Somali background—walked off the job at the Grand Island, NE, plant during Ramadan in 2008, saying they wanted time to pray at sunset and break a daylong fast. Plant management adjusted the work schedule the next day. Non-Muslims counter- protested and management ended the accommoda- tions. The company fired 86 Muslim workers for walk- ing off the job, saying the firings weren’t about reli- gion, but about people walking off the job without proper authorization.

Japan FMD outbreak declared over

The governor of a Japanese prefecture hit with a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) epidemic has declared an official end to the outbreak, the Mainichi Daily News reported. Last week, the government of Miyazaki prefecture announced that the 1,250 affected farms had all detoxified and properly disposed of animal waste to fully rid themselves of the virus. Japan had already ended a state of emergency and bans on mov- ing animals. Some 289,000 pigs and cattle have been culled since the outbreak began in late April. The ill- ness also led to the cancellation of almost 300 public events, including sports, as officials urged residents of the affected areas to only go out when it was absolute ly necessary, the Mainichi Daily News reported.

Checkoff promotion extends investments

From now through Oct. 31, the beef checkoff is partnering with AmeriGas Cylinder Exchange for the Sutter Home Tailgating Promotion. The promotion includes $1 off beef with purchase, a sweepstakes to win a trip to Napa to attend Beef and Wine University at the Sutter Home winery, along with a one-year supply of propane for grilling from AmeriGas. “Tailgating season gives consumers a great opportunity to continue grilling after Labor Day. This year is the first year Sutter Home will be promoting its ‘Sutter Home Grilling’ season and the beef checkoff is excited to extend producers’ checkoff investment through partnerships such as this,” says Helen Wiese, cow/calf producer from Manning, IA, and chair of the checkoff’s Retail Committee. The sweepstakes will send one winner and five friends to wine country to enjoy a weekend full of tips and strategies to help make tailgating parties easier.

No link between red meat, heart disease

The Harvard School of Public Health is preparing to publish a study stating that women who reduced their consumption of red meat reduced their risk of heart disease. But a checkoff researcher notes that the new research “has nothing that changes the fact beef is an important part of a healthy diet” and further points out that the same journal published another study by a Harvard research group recently that found “no association between red meat and heart disease or diabetes or stroke.”

NE Beef Council shares fall cooking ideas

Labor Day, America’s third most popular outdoor grilling holiday, has passed, but not all Americans will pack away the barbecue grill after this end-of-summer celebration. Outdoor grilling is at an all-time high, nearly double what it was 20 years ago, according to the market research firm NPD Group’s 22nd annual Eating Patterns in America report. Some 38.2 percent of households reported eating at least one grilled food over a two-week period, year-round. Some 39.9 said they did the same, September through November, while 26.5 percent continued doing so December through February. Hamburgers, followed by steak, topped the NPD Group’s list of grilling favorites. Vegetables, and specifically potatoes, foods that pair well with beef, were also among the most popular grilling foods, the report said. One cut consumers may not have tried on the grill is beef roast, which makes a hearty cool weather meal and often provides a second meal through leftovers.

FSIS holds mobile-slaughter unit workshop

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) will host a red meat mobile-slaughter unit information session on Sept. 9 as part of its “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” campaign. In a market where small, regional farms stand to profit from the movement toward locally grown products, costs and distance to transport livestock to an official FSIS slaughter facility can be excessive. FSIS-inspected mobile-slaughter units comply with the same regulations as a fixed slaughter facility, but travel to various “collection sites” providing safe and wholesome product while circumventing time and money for farmers. The session will be held at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offices in Carson City, NV, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. For more information, please contact the FSIS small-plant help desk at 877/FSISHELP.