BEEF bits

Dec 10, 2010
by WLJ

Korean FMD outbreak spreads

Korea Times reports the foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease found on a pig farm in Andong, South Korea, spread to multiple cattle farms last week and has now moved outside of Andong’s borders. The province’s government and state quarantine agencies are on high alert and are concerned the dangerous virus could spread throughout the province and further. A farm in Cheongdo, about 100 kilometers from the site of the first infection, has reported signs of the virus. The farm in question is waiting for lab test results. Since the first case was discovered on Nov. 29, a total of 39 farms have been tested for FMD, with 30 testing positive for the disease and still under examination. A total of 47,000 cows, pigs, goats and other livestock have been culled and buried; the provincial government says at least another 30,000 additional livestock will be buried.

GIPSA rule not good for industry

According to one ag lender, a rule proposed by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) suggests that USDA has lost sight of its mission. That’s according to an op-ed by Mark Greenwood, vice president of agribusiness capital at AgStar Financial Services in Mankato, MN. In the op-ed, which appeared recently in the St. Cloud Times, Greenwood provided a unique perspective on the proposed GIPSA livestock and poultry marketing rule, noting that the livestock industry has seen historic volatility in recent years, making it difficult for ag lenders like himself to provide critical operating capital to these farmers. Marketing agreements, he said, make it possible to do business. “Without these agreements, the livestock market is simply too volatile for most lending organizations to risk financing. Current use of marketing agreements actually helps new farmers build the credit they need to become longterm contributors to the industry and their local economy,” Greenwood wrote.

Mexican restaurants lead in 2010

The nation’s appetite for Mexican food rose in popularity in the past year, fueling higher sales even as the Mexican food industry contracted by 3.2 percent in the same period, according to a new report by consultancy Technomic Inc. The Chicago-based firm’s Market Intelligence Report: Mexican notes that limited-service Mexican restaurant chains posted a sales gain of 2.7 percent and several Mexican chains in the top 500 were able to post double-digit sales increases between 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, the number of Mexican entrees on U.S. restaurant menus climbed 3.3 percent in the first six months of 2010 compared with the corresponding period in 2009. More non-Mexican restaurant chains are also contributing to the sales growth, with 5.4 percent more of them offering Mexican menu items in 2010 than in the previous year, the report adds. Technomic also reported that while chicken and beef remain the top ingredients for tacos, the number of fish tacos on restaurant menus climbed 22.5 percent during the reporting period.

U.S. beef making gains in Japan

Two popular Japanese shabu-shabu restaurants are finding success this fall by featuring U.S. beef for their hot pot promotions. The prominent family style restaurant chain, operated by Sato Restaurant Systems, annually consumes more than 1.1 million pounds of U.S. beef, and this month, it started the American Beef Sato-shabu Premium Fair at its 196 outlets. During this single promotion, the chain expects to sell more than 100,000 meals using U.S. chuck eye roll. Hot pot (shabu-shabu) is a popular winter menu choice at Japanese homes as well as family style restaurants, but family restaurant chains have begun featuring hot pot menus throughout the year as consumer demand has increased. Another major Japanese foodservice company, Wonder Table, which operates several restaurant chains, made the decision to shift from Australian beef to U.S. beef after participating in a U.S.Meat Export Federation trade team that visited the U.S. in May.

Lean meat key to healthy diet

If you want to lose weight or avoid gaining weight, eat a diet that is high in proteins with more lean meat, low-fat dairy products and beans while cutting down on refined starch calories as found in white bread and white rice, a new diet study suggests. This is the key result of a study of European diets headed by researchers from the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen. Of the 938 adult participants, 548 completed both the initial weight-loss phase and the subsequent six-month diet intervention where they were assigned to different diet types. The average weight regain among the participants was 0.5 kilograms but there were significant differences from diet type to diet type. The group on the high-protein diet were the only ones that maintained their weight after the initial 11 kilogram weight loss and thus did not regain weight. In comparison, those in the low-protein group showed a weight gain of 1.67 kilograms, said associate arofessor Thomas Meinert Larsen.