EU declares Irish pork safe

DUBLIN, Ireland – The European Food Safety Authority on Wednesday ruled that Ireland’s dioxin-tainted pork products posed no credible health risk to people.

Ireland last week ordered an international recall for its pork products produced since Sept. 1 after scientists in Ireland, Britain and continental Europe found levels of dioxins at 80 to 200 times the legal limits in pigs on about 10 Irish farms.

Media reports said the European Union’s food experts in Parma, Italy have concluded that fears of increased cancer risk are groundless, partly because people must consume dioxins for a much longer period to suffer an increased cancer risk.

The agency reportedly said even if someone had eaten Irish pork every day since Sept. 1 it would present "no concern" to future health.

The Irish government and the country’s pork processors are now arguing over who should pay for losses in the recall, estimated to range from $130 million to $650 million. Half of the three million hogs processed in Ireland each year are exported to Europe and Asia.


Source: Associated Press

USDA sees no systemic failure at Hallmark plant

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced Wednesday that while there were failures at the Hallmark meat processing plant in Chino, Calif., there were no systemic failures.

“We determined that there were deliberate actions by Hallmark personnel to bypass required inspections, as well as noncompliance with required inspection procedures by Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in-plant staff,” the report said.

By contrast, the larger review of 10 cull cow slaughter plants found no evidence of systemic inhumane handling incidents, though OIG reportedly said that there may be an “inherent vulnerability” in the system because FSIS does not provide continuous surveillance of all operating areas at all times.

OIG expressed concern that FSIS cannot demonstrate that the resources assigned to its offline inspection activities are sufficient to adequately perform the tasks assigned. OIG also said that FSIS does not have a system to ensure that its inspection and supervisory staff receive both the formal and on-the-job training they need to do their jobs effectively.

FSIS reportedly said it will complete an analysis by August 2009 and that analysis may result in more frequent humane handling verification visits to cull cow plants.

A video alleging abuse at the Hallmark plant sparked nationwide controversy and a national recall of beef products, mostly from school systems. The two workers seen in the video have since plead guilty and been sentenced.

The full report can be read at


Source: American Meat Institute

KFC plans grilled chicken rollout

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Yum! Brands Inc. announced Wednesday that its KFC brand will introduce a new grilled option in the second quarter.

The company reportedly made the announcement during an investment conference in New York.

The company told media and investors it expected 15 percent growth in U.S. operating profit next year, a projection that includes $60 million in cost savings from refranchising efforts. Excluding those savings, ongoing operating profit is expected to rise 5 percent next year.

It also predicted continued strong growth in its international business, led by its China operations.


Source: Associated Press

'Cattlemen to Cattlemen' celebrates 100 episodes

DENVERNCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s weekly television program, will celebrate its 100th episode at the end of December.

“We’re so excited about what NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen has been able to accomplish in terms of both informing and educating producers,” says Andy Groseta, NCBA president. “It gives producers a very visual and personal look at a wide variety of production and marketing issues.”

The program appears on RFD-TV, debuting on each Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern and repeating on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and Sunday at midnight.

The anniversary episode will look at stories from the program’s first two years and current news in the beef industry.


Source: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association