Daily Archives: February 1, 2006

Goodlatte calls on Japan to open market to U.S. beef

Goodlatte calls on Japan to open market to U.S. beef

KTIC Radio

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte met with members of the Democratic Party of Japan to
discuss beef trade issues between the United States and Japan. The delegation included Kenji Yamaoka, Masahiko Yamada, Taskashi
Shinohar, Mitsunori Okamoto, and Hiroko Wada. Agriculture Counselor Shin Yokoyama also accompanied the delegation.

This meeting comes 11 days after the Japanese suspended imports of U.S. beef products after finding three boxes of veal containing
the backbone of the animal which is permitted in the U.S., but is not permitted in Japan. The Japanese government agreed to resume
importing U.S. beef in early December 2005 after barring imports for over two years.

Chairman Goodlatte called for the Japanese to reopen their market and urged the Members of the delegation to take action quickly.
“Japan enjoys a tremendous trade surplus with the U.S. and I think they are very insensitive to the fact that beef is one of the
U.S.’s largest exports to Japan. The U.S. maintains low tariffs, we base our decisions on sound science and we are the largest
exporter and the largest importer in the world. It is becoming more and more difficult to justify keeping our markets open when our
producers don’t enjoy the same benefits with other countries. Our constituents are losing patience and the Congress is losing
patience. Enough is enough,” said Chairman Goodlatte.

“The U.S. has acknowledged the mistake and has taken the appropriate action to ensure that the company is suspended from the Beef
Export Verification Program. For the Japanese to use this one instance as the basis for saying that they can’t trust our entire
system and shutting down the market again is extremely frustrating. I urged the delegation to move quickly to reopen their market
to U.S. beef and I hope they will take heed. If not, I think they will face a very dramatic response from the U.S. Congress which
is very tired of having to deal with this bureaucratic, protectionist matter that is using alleged public health concerns in Japan
as a pretext for what is clearly protectionism for Japanese beef producers,” said the Chairman.

Man reports finding pellet in beef

Man reports finding pellet in beef

By Dalondo Moultrie
Of The Morning Call

A Lower Saucon man told township police Tuesday he bit down on what appeared to be a pellet similar to buckshot in ground beef he bought at a local supermarket.

It was the sixth report of food tampering in the Lehigh Valley in two weeks.

Stephen Kutzera of 2560 Wassergass Road said he bought the meat and found the pellet last week, but thought nothing of it until he noticed the media reports about objects found in food.

He told police he bought the beef at the Giant supermarket at 1880 Leithsville Road in Lower Saucon.

Police said Kutzera gave the pellet to township police, who alerted personnel at the Giant.

Kutzera could not be reached for comment.

Dennis Hopkins, a spokesman for Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Cumberland County, said the company was aware of the claim of possible tampering but had little information.

”It’s in the hands of the Police Department,” Hopkins said. ”They are investigating, and we’re cooperating in every way that we can. As always, in any type of investigation, we give them access to anything they ask for.”

Kutzera told police he found the pellet in ground beef made by Laura’s Lean Beef.

Laura Freeman, president and chief executive of the company in Lexington, Ky., said Tuesday night she had no knowledge of the complaint.

Meanwhile, police officials from Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township and Wind Gap met with representatives of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Bethlehem on Tuesday to discuss the rash of suspected food tampering.

The FDA plans to test evidence at its laboratory and will assist local police in the investigation, said Bethlehem Township police Investigator Tony Stevens.

On Saturday, a Bushkill Township man reported finding a sewing needle in a sealed can of minestrone soup bought at Giant’s Wind Gap store.

Last week, a Bethlehem man told police he found a rusty sewing needle in a loaf of Stroehmann bread he bought in a Bethlehem Township Giant.

A week earlier in separate incidents, two men said they found straight pins in food bought at King’s supermarket in Bethlehem. One pin was in an onion, another in a package of ground beef.

After the first report, store employees found pins in prepackaged deli ham and two packs of ground beef.



The new black

The new black

Aggressive marketing and a genetic trait have combined to make beef from black cattle more common and pricier – even though consumers can’t tell a black steer’s meat from that of a red one.

By Steve Raabe,
Denver Post Staff Writer

How now, black cow?

Increasingly popular, by most accounts.

The blackening of the American cattle industry is in full swing. Bolstered by dominant genetics and the success of black-Angus beef-marketing campaigns, black-hide cattle are the darlings of the livestock sector.

“Color is part of the game,” said Tom Field, a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University. “A consumer would never know the difference between beef from a black animal or a red animal. But in a marketplace where we still price animals on a live basis, it’s logical that the industry will let hide color, in part, dictate value.”

Not just any black steer can make his way into popular branded beef- marketing programs such as Certified Angus Beef, Cattleman’s Collection or Ranchers Reserve that meatpackers and grocers use to lure customers.

Animals for those programs not only must be black but also must meet grading standards for the amount of “marbling,” the flecks of fat that affect the flavor and texture of their meat.

Yet the cachet of color is so strong that even black cattle from non-Angus breeds are commanding a monetary premium at livestock sales.

Years ago, black animals constituted no more than 30 percent of the cattle sold by Brush-based Superior Livestock Auction. Now, black hides account for about two-thirds of Superior’s sales, said owner and general manager Jim Odle.

Odle said a typical 1,200-pound black steer might command a premium of $20 to $60 over the average sale price of $1,080 for a red, brown or mixed-color steer.

Cattle have become increasingly black through both a genetic trait and a producer’s preference.

The black gene in cattle is dominant over other colors. So if a black Angus is bred with, for instance, a red Limousin, the offspring will be black.

Breeds that were imported into the U.S. during the 1960s and ’70s, such as Limousin, Gelbvieh and Simmental, increasingly have switched from red to black through years of cross-breeding with black Angus.

The color transition got an additional boost from the success of the American

Angus Association’s Certified Angus Beef branding program, launched in 1978.

“Other groups created ‘me- too’ (marketing) programs, and that just raised the demand for black-hided cattle,” Field said. “Whether the hide-color preference is based on science or not, it doesn’t seem to matter.”

Animal scientists agree that hide color itself bears no relationship to meat quality, although promoters of black Angus say the breed typically produces higher grades of meat than many other types of cattle.

Yet other breeds such as red Angus and Hereford also have branded-beef programs that yield juicy steaks.

Limousin cattle, natives of France, first were imported to the U.S. in 1969. Since then, they’ve gradually lost their golden-red original color to black because of breeding with black Angus.

Just over 50 percent of registered Limousin cattle in the U.S. are black, according to Kent Andersen, executive vice president of the Englewood-based North American Limousin Foundation.

Despite the color change, Limousin still are known for their muscular build and the lean beef they produce. They’re the primary supplier for the Laura’s Lean Beef brand.

Given the greater market share of black Angus brands, “there’s some ‘black envy’ in the industry,” Andersen said. “By the same token, there are still some purists among us who really prefer red. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Staff writer Steve Raabe can be reached at 303-820-1948 or sraabe@denverpost.com.

Minnesota cattle industry loses ‘TB-free’ status

Minnesota cattle industry loses ‘TB-free’ status


By: The Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s cattle herd lost its “tuberculosis-free” status on Monday, meaning producers in Minnesota will face restrictions on moving animals out of state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture revoked the state cattle industry’s TB-free status after the recent discovery of a fifth infected beef herd in northwestern Minnesota.

The state had been considered TB-free since 1971, and the loss of that status makes it more expensive and time-consuming for some of the state’s cattle producers to move their animals across state lines.

The outbreak poses no danger to humans unless they drink unpasteurized milk or rub noses with or are sneezed on by an infected cow. The bacteria that causes bovine TB is not found in meat, and it is killed when milk is pasteurized.

Agricultural officials responded to the TB outbreak by killing almost 4,000 cattle from the five infected herds in hopes of stopping the disease before it can infect the rest of state’s 2.4 million head.

The state can regain its TB-free status after a two-year waiting period if no new cases are found.

The USDA’s action, which state officials had been expecting for weeks, places restrictions on the interstate movement of cattle, bison and captive cervids — horned animals such as deer — to prevent the spread of the disease out of Minnesota.

All breeding cattle must be tested for bovine TB within 60 days of shipment. Cattle are exempt from testing if they’re headed directly to an approved feedlot, or to slaughter, or if they come from a herd certified as TB-free.

“All Minnesota cattle producers planning to ship cattle interstate should still contact their veterinarian to determine state import requirements prior to movement, State Veterinarian Bill Hartmann said. “Individual state import requirements may differ from federal requirements, so it’s important to verify them prior to shipment. At this time, cattle moving within the state of Minnesota will have no additional testing requirements.”

Since the outbreak was first detected in a Roseau County herd last July, 65 herds have been quarantined. The quarantines have already been lifted on 39 of those herds after testing showed no infection. The quarantined herds are in Cass, Beltrami, Roseau, Red Lake, Todd, Pennington, Polk, Rice, Aitkin, Nobles, Marshall, Koochiching, Chippewa, Pope, Hubbard and Kittson Counties.

Minnesota’s cattle industry employs about 3,850 people and annually pumps $5.3 billion into the state’s economy, according to the state Department of Agriculture.

U.S. farm secretary denies setting deadline for beef report+

U.S. farm secretary denies setting deadline for beef report+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31_(Kyodo) _ U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said Tuesday he has set no time limit for completing an investigation report on the beef issue with Japan, denying a comment by U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer on Sunday that there was a mid-February timeline.

“I haven’t set a time limit on the report,” Johanns told reporters after meeting with a visiting delegation of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan.

“I have assured people that we are going to make sure that we do not sacrifice thoroughness for speed,” Johanns said, stressing that compilation of the report will take time.

Johanns promised to submit a report on thorough investigation and preventive measures after Japan reimposed a complete import ban on U.S. beef on Jan. 20. The ban on U.S. beef had been lifted only in December and was reinstated when backbone, considered to be a risk material for transmitting mad cow disease, was discovered in a veal shipment at Narita airport.

Japan has said it will not resume imports until the United States presents a convincing report.

Japan had lifted its two-year-old ban on condition that the United States would ship to Japan only meat from cattle aged up to 20 months and remove brains, spinal cords and other specified risk materials for bovine spongiform encephalopathy before shipment.

The DPJ delegation urged Johanns in the meeting to improve inspections and take other measures, according to a delegation member.

Japan was the largest importer of U.S. beef before it first imposed the ban in December 2003, when the United States discovered its first case of BSE.

New Plant On the Way

New Plant On the Way

By ADAM TOWNSEND Business Writer

CADIZ — Harrison Community Hospital was packed Monday with government officials, industry heads and bureaucrats to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new ethanol distillation plant slated to begin construction in Cadiz Township.

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft spoke at the ceremony, mentioning that Ohio has historically been among the top ethanol consuming states.

“Today we take a big step forward in making Ohio a lead ethanol producer as well,” he said.

Ethanol is an alcohol derived from corn that is used as a gasoline additive. It is a substance that Taft says “will help curtail our dependence on foreign oil.” The Harrison plant — Harrison Ethanol LLC — is the first of the three pending plants in Ohio that has received all its legal permits to operate. Taft said the facility has a job creation tax credit from the state that amounts to a 50 percent reduction in the company’s corporate business tax based on payroll over the seven-year life of the credit.

Chris Copeland of the Harrison County Community Improvement Corp. said the facility, once it’s up and running, will produce 20 million gallons of ethanol each year using 9 million bushels of corn. About half the spent distillers grains generated by the distillation process will be fed to as many as 10,000 beef cattle and 2,000 dairy cattle located on site. The animals will be kept in barns at all times, and their waste will be processed by an anaerobic digester. The byproducts of this process will be liquid fertilizer, potable water, a peat moss-like substance and methane gas. The gas will be burned on site to create electricity to run the plant.

Copeland said site preparation work will be done on the land — a Dickerson Church Road site acquired from Consol Energy Inc. — throughout the spring with construction expected to be completed in 14 months. The plant represents a $73 million investment in Harrison County that will create 107 new permanent jobs and 60 truck-driving jobs, as well as an additional 400 temporary construction jobs.

“We watched a lot of things collapse,” said U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, at the ceremony. “We watched a lot of jobs being taken out of this region, but we didn’t say, “We’re going to die.’ This is a really great day for Harrison County.”

Fred Dailey, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, also spoke at the ceremony. He outlined not only the cost savings inherent in using ethanol to stretch gasoline, but he also pointed to the product’s non-toxic, environmental benefits.

“You all remember the Exxon-Valdez (oil) spill?” he asked. “If that had been ethanol, there would have been a whole lot of evaporation and a few inebriated seals.

“I have a secret weapon that’s going to help us become energy independent and I have it right here,” Dailey continued, brandishing an ear of corn above his head. “Ethanol’s time has come.”

U.S. beef in Japanese limbo

U.S. beef in Japanese limbo

by Pete Hisey on 2/1/2006 for Meatingplace.com

Although about 700 of tons of U.S. beef already on the Japanese market has been declared safe for consumption by Japanese authorities, an additional 2,000 tons is piled up at customs warehouses and won’t be allowed into the country.

Japanese importers are attempting to convince U.S. suppliers to take the beef back before it goes bad. Customs inspectors indicated the beef would have to be shipped back, sent to a third country, or destroyed. During the initial ban in late 2003, most beef was returned to the United States, although some was destroyed at the importer’s expense.