BEEF bits

Sep 24, 2010
by WLJ

Japan beef restrictions unchanged

Officials from Japan and the U.S. met in San Francisco last week for two days of much-anticipated discussion about American beef safety, but the talks ended without any change to Japan’s strict laws barring meat from older American cows. Japanese import regulations toward U.S. beef tightened after the 2003 discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Prior to that, Japan had been the largest export market for American beef. The import restrictions eased somewhat in 2006 when Japan began allowing in American beef from cows younger than 21 months. One Japanese newspaper reported that two-thirds of people responding to a survey said they would not eat beef imported from the U.S. The American beef industry, however, has been eager to restore its lost economic opportunity in Japan, and has been pushing for talks about normalizing beef exports to the country.

Utah boy buys steer for food bank

A Weber County, UT, elementary student packed a food bank with two weeks’ worth of fresh meat. The West Weber fifth grader, Tanner Neeley, raised $2,700 over the summer to buy a steer at the Weber County Fair. The 11-year-old Neeley says he was trying to show that one person can make a difference for others. He gave the processed meat to the Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank where it fed Weber County residents for two weeks. Catholic Community Services of Ogden Director Marcie Valdez says the meat fed more than 100 families. Now, Tanner is shopping to buy his own steer. He plans to fatten it up over winter and donate it to hungry residents.

Food-borne illness statistics need update

The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) is strongly urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update decade-old food-borne illness statistics. Data from the CDC is widely referenced by public health officials, regulatory agencies and congressional staff when discussing food-borne illnesses. AMIF noted in a letter to CDC that the meat and poultry industry has been successful in making a tremendous reduction in the pathogen risk profile of their products and that updated food-borne illness estimates could show tangible results to these efforts. Data from a 1999 study estimates 76 million cases of illness, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths per year are attributed to the consumption of food products. However, the recently released CDC analysis of reported illnesses in the U.S. for 2008 indicated approximately 100,000 illnesses for the same foodrelated notifiable diseases.

Construction on NBAF set to begin

According to DVM News Magazine, a publication for veterinary professionals, the $150 million National Bio And Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF), which is to be operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is being relocated from Plum Island (which is off the coast of Long Island) to Manhattan, KS. It will become the new home of the nation’s premier research center to combat the threat of agro-terrorism and naturally-occurring animal diseases. DHS has allocated approximately $40 million in funding to move forward with construction plans. The research center is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Website promotes food-safety products

Elanco Food Solutions has launched a new website as part of its commitment to provide food-safety solutions to the meat and poultry industries. features information about pre- and post-harvest technologies that can be integrated into total pathogen-control systems, and includes background about the exclusive Food Safety Knowledge Solutions benchmarking program for packers and processors. Visitors to the site will find detailed information about Elanco Food Solutions’ products: Finalyse, a pre-harvest hide wash that aids in the reduction of E. coli O157:H7 in beef cattle; and BoviBrom, a post-harvest antimicrobial that reduces E. coli and Salmonella levels as a beef carcass rinse.

Dr. Temple Grandin professorship funded

The Oklahoma Beef Council announced a $250,000 gift to Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) newly created endowed professorship in honor of animal scientist and autistic expert Dr. Temple Grandin whose life story, put to film, recently won seven Emmys. Heather Buckmaster, Oklahoma Beef Council executive director, made the announcement during a Sept. 15 special seminar featuring Grandin which was held in OSU’s historic Gallagher-Iba Arena. More than 3,000 people attended the seminar. The Temple Grandin Endowed Professorship in Animal Behavior and Well-Being will be housed in OSU’s department of animal science. The department is part of the university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, comprised of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and two state agencies: the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system and the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service.