BEEF bits

Oct 22, 2010
by WLJ

Ohio approves welfare penalties

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board last week passed a vote on proposed civil penalty rules that will be used to enforce newly created livestock care standards. The civil penalty rules provide guidance for major and minor livestock care standard violations, and the civil penalties apply to each set of livestock care standards the board creates. The proposed civil penalties for each livestock care standard will be based on major and minor violations of Ohio Administrative Code 901:12. A major violation may result in a civil penalty of $1,000 up to $5,000 for a first offense and $5,000 up to $10,000 for each subsequent offense. A minor violation may result in a civil penalty of up to $500 for a first offense and up to $1,000 for each subsequent offense. Major and minor violations will remain on record for five years.

NY producers plan to open plant

A group of farmers in New York plan to build a $2 million beef processing plant in Madison County in order to keep profits at home, according to a report by the Post-Standard in Syracuse, NY. The New York Beef Farmers Cooperative initially plans to build a plant that can handle 5,000 head of cattle per year. That effort recently got a boost with a $750,000 loan from USDA. If all goes well, the group would expand to a $20 million plant capable of processing 50,000 head of cattle per year, the Post reported. Due to a lack of processing facilities in New York, most local beef producers send their animals to Pennsylvania slaughterhouses, but transportation costs eat into profits.

New York Beef Farmers Cooperative members plan to brand and sell their beef in local supermarkets, and they would own their products from processing through retail sales, according to the Post.

Japan reviewing risk from U.S. cattle

Japan is analyzing the safety of U.S. beef from cattle older than 20 months as the U.S. continues to press for expanded access to the Tokyo market, according to a report by Bloomberg. Tokyo’s Food Safety Commission would have to determine if lifting its 20-month restriction on imports of U.S. beef would put Japanese consumers at an increased health risk for diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy before making a change. The country’s position has been that older animals are at a higher risk for such diseases. “We have to collect enough data before submitting a request to the Food Safety Commission for risk assessment,” Minoru Yamamoto, head of the Ministry of Agriculture’s international animal health affairs office, is quoted as saying. “We are seeking information from the U.S. and waiting for their replies.” U.S. government representatives will visit Japan this week, with Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano chairing a meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation members on the issue of food security, according to Bloomberg.

Meat prices rise

Meat prices jumped in September, an exception to overall benign U.S. inflation data released last week. The price of meat climbed 5.2 percent in the government’s producer price index, helping drive a 1.2 percent rise in overall food costs. The cost of processed young chickens in September saw the biggest onemonth increase since 2006, the report showed. Beef and veal prices leaped 7.6 percent from August, pork increased 4.7 percent, and processed young chicken prices rose 5 percent. The producer price index in total increased 0.4 percent in September, but the core index inched up just 0.1 percent when the food and energy categories were excluded, as the slow U.S. economy kept inflation in check. Food analysts have forecast the recent jump in corn prices could push up the price of meat. At the consumer level, food costs rose 0.3 percent in September, the fastest pace since October 2008, the government said in a separate report. The index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs rose the most, increasing 0.9 percent after declining in August. The overall consumer price index rose 0.1 percent in September and was unchanged excluding food and energy.

EU allows meat from offspring of clones

The European Union (EU) is expected to approve the sale of meat and milk from the offspring of cloned animals, according to reports from the United Kingdom. Although the broader EU coalition is expected to approve the regulation, it will be up to individual nations to approve or deny the sale of products derived from the offspring of clones. Although the products derived from the offspring of cloned animals are expected to be approved, meat and milk derived directly from the cloned animals was expected to be blocked despite the fact that those products are widely accepted around the world as safe. The ban could present problems for countries where cloning is prevalent, such as the U.S., when marketing in the EU. Officials and consumers could demand assurances that products are not from cloned animals as a condition of import.