The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) provides an in-depth analysis to help explain some of the details behind recent decisions by Russia and China to restrict imports of pork and beef from the United States....More
March 1 has arrived, meaning that, apparently, as of today, the United States is “all in” on the budgetary sequester that has been in the news for weeks. As you probably know by now, sequestration is an across-the-board reduction in spending mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Dire predictions have been made by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack about furloughing meat inspectors as part of the budget reduction process, thus jeopardizing pork marketing channels in coming days....More
Senator Pat Roberts, a senior member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, said that under law, USDA is obligated to perform meat and poultry inspections for the safety of consumers despite threats by the Obama Administration to furlough Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) employees due to forced spending cuts set to take effect March 1, 2013....More
U.S. Representative K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, has asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for answers on how the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) plans to implement its sequester cuts....More
Smithfield Foods, Inc. said today that the company is well positioned to meet rising demand for ractopamine-free pork, following recent announcements that China and Russia will require third-party certification that pork exports are ractopamine-free. Smithfield leads the industry in the production of ractopamine-free pork....More
Fresh off the Russian ban of all U.S. beef, pork and turkey exports effective Feb. 11, U.S. officials are now scrambling to ward off restrictions to the larger Chinese pork export market, in both cases because animals were fed ractopamine....More
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is pressing trade officials to quickly resolve Russia's recent ban on U.S. meat, according to a report from The Hill’s On the Money Blog.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and panel ranking member Thad Cochran (R-MS) were joined by 31 other senators on Tuesday in urging the U.S. Trade Representative to deal with Russia’s import ban on U.S. beef, poultry and turkey, they argue would cost the industry $600 million a year....More
What a week in Washington. As a vast divide separates the Republicans and Democrats on budget issues, The Hill is predicting a high likelihood that the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester will be implemented. Food Safety News reported this week that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could conduct 2,100 fewer inspections at domestic and foreign food facilities and the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) might have to furlough all employees for approximately two weeks to meet the extensive budget cuts. This would, in effect, bring the U.S. meat industry to a screeching halt....More
Laurie Hueneke, director of International Trade Policy, Sanitary and Technical Issues, for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) attended last week the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, GA, and participated in a panel on the role of the Codex Alimentarius in establishing international food safety standards....More
Animal scientists in Brazil have found that a small dose of the feed additive ractopamine can boost pork production without changing how pork looks or tastes, according to a report this week by the American Society of Animal Science (http://asas.org.)....More
U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) officials have confirmed the Feb. 11 deadline for a Russian ban of both chilled and frozen U.S. beef and pork exports to that country.
USMEF sources indicate that a few days ago Russia’s Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service notified USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service that it was considering no longer accepting any meat and meat products from U.S. packing plants after Feb. 10 – unless FSIS took action soon to ensure that exports are free of ractopamine residues....More
After scrutinizing a decade's worth of data on foodborne disease outbreaks, federal health officials estimate that produce was the vehicle in close to half of all illnesses and that poultry was the culprit in 19% of all deaths, according to an analysis from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), University of Minnesota....More
Russia may impose a temporary ban on the import of some U.S. and Canadian beef and pork products as of Feb. 4, amid concerns that they may contain a drug used to make animal muscle more lean, Reuters has reported.
Russia's Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service said last week that both countries were continuing to send chilled meat products to Russia that violated its import rules that require such proteins be free of residues from the feed additive ractopamine....More
On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled two new proposed food safety rules, one aimed at food makers and the other at the produce industry, that are part of implementing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy, University of Minnesota.
The FDA posted the rules Friday in the Federal Register and asked for public comments by May 16, which it will take into account before issuing final rules....More
Following is a blog from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recounting the accomplishments of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2012.
“Over the course of 2012, farm families and rural communities faced a number of challenges. A record drought impacted much of the country and many were impacted by a major hurricane, flooding and severe storms. However, thanks to the resilience of rural Americans, our communities are still going strong....More
Calling it vital to the U.S. pork industry’s ability to more quickly control and eradicate foreign animal diseases and keep export markets open, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) today praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for issuing a final rule to implement a national animal identification system....More
Late last week, Russia announced it is going ahead with restrictions on U.S. pork containing the feed additive ractopamine, despite the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it as a safe feed additive years ago....More
An Iowa State University researcher has identified genes that may one day enable pork producers to select pigs with reduced shedding and/or susceptibility to salmonella infection. Genetic markers can be used to select animals that shed fewer salmonella organisms and are less likely to cause contamination across pens and in the holding pens at the slaughter facility....More
The December issue of National Hog Farmer magazine should be arriving in your mailbox or e-mail Inbox within the next few days. Each year this issue focuses on current research findings specific to the pork industry. Research topics range from swine health, housing and nutrient management, to swine feeding and meat quality. National Hog Farmer has a long-standing reputation for providing research-based information to our readers. I’m a pretty big believer in making decisions based on sound science, with conclusions drawn on the basis of research that has been replicated, published and endorsed by reputable scientists. Because of this, I’m still somewhat taken aback by the current uproar that is being promoted by Consumer Reports magazine’s advocacy division, Consumers Union, as part of an apparent campaign targeting pork producers. Consumers Union issued a press release yesterday, calling for more government regulations for the pork industry. Even though the group is basing their talking points on a Consumer Reports’ study that cites ractopamine levels well-below those that current research has shown to be safe, and claims about bacteria in retail pork products that appear to be taken out of context, the outcry continues....More
Despite renewed attention over pathogens in pork, consumers can remain confident that the meat is safe to eat. Scientists emphasize that animal health and food safety measures have reduced foodborne pathogens, and food-related illness rates continue to decline....More
Apparently the fact that Thanksgiving is a recent memory, and food is still top-of-mind, means the timing is right to urge consumers to live in fear of their food. I HATE it when people try to make me fear my food. One of the first big news items to pop up in cyberspace this week was the Consumer Reports magazine article claiming antibiotic-resistant bacteria and traces of ractopamine were found during an analysis of pork chop and ground-pork samples from around the United States. The article is entitled, “What’s in that pork?”...More
If consumers were voting on the way their food is produced, half the women would be undecided while 40% of men would favor the status quo. Overall, a recent survey showed a little more than one-third of people are undecided about today’s food system while the rest of the population is almost evenly split on whether it is on the wrong track or headed in the right direction....More
A new state-of-the-art laboratory equipped with instrumentation to allow rapid food-borne pathogen testing and characterization was showcased recently at The Science Park in College Station, TX....More