The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued Notice 51-09: Routine Sampling and Testing of Beef Manufacturing Trimmings Derived from Cattle Not Slaughtered in that Establishment (Bench Trim) forEscherichia Coli(E. coli) O157:H7. In the notice, bench trim is defined as beef manufacturing trimmings derived from cattle not slaughtered on site at the establishment.

The notice informs inspection program personnel (IPP) that they are to begin routine sampling of bench trim for E. coli O157:H7 when they receive a sample request form (FSIS Form 10,210-3) with the MT55 project code.

FSIS Directive 10,010.1, Revision 2 was also issued. The directive, Verification Activities for Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Raw Beef Products, was reissued to incorporate in one document the instructions that FSIS has issued in multiple notices regarding E. coli O157:H7. According to the Agency, the revised directive serves three purposes: it provides instructions to IPP for sampling raw beef products for FSIS verification; it outlines actions FSIS will take upon a positive test for E. coli; and it includes instructions for other E. coli verification activities.

Jerold Mande, deputy under secretary for food safety at the USDA, told the New York Times that the testing will begin in about a month. The bench trim will be tested two to three times a year at plants, totaling about 1,500 samplings over 12 months. Those tests will help to identify any patterns in E. coli contamination.

“If it turns out in the course of doing 1,500 samples in a year we see that there is contamination coming from this,” he said, “then we’ve got to go back further up the stream and find out how they’re handling this bench trim and treat it differently.”

To view the notice, go to
To view the directive, go to

Source: American Meat Institite, New York Times

Tyson Q3 results show higher net income, slight sales drop

Tyson Foods' net income for the third quarter increased to $134 million, up from $9 million from last year. Sales for the quarter dipped 2.7 percent to $6.66 billion. The chicken unit, which had a $30 million loss in last year's results, had a profit of $143 million.

“Our earnings for the third quarter reflect a solid performance by all of our operating segments ,” said Leland Tollett, interim president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods. “In the midst of a slow economy and a challenging operating environment, we stayed focused and worked as a team to produce results within historical normalized ranges for each segment.

“I am encouraged by our progress in improving operational efficiencies in the Chicken segment, although we still have work to do,” Tollett said. “Our Beef, Pork and Prepared Foods segments continue to perform well. We also have been disciplined in managing working capital and have reduced inventory by a substantial amount in the second and third quarters.

“Soft demand for protein is likely to make the fourth quarter more challenging than the third quarter, but I’m feeling much better about our position than I would be if we were sitting on a lot of inventory,” Tollett said. “Overall, I am very pleased with the direction we’re headed and with the attitude of our team members to get the job done.”

Sources: Tyson Foods, Bloomberg

Colorado investigates Salmonella outbreak linked to ground beef

The Colorado State Health Department and the USDA are working with other state departments to warn consumers about an outbreak ofSalmonellain the state that has been linked to ground beef. According to KUSA television, the investigators have not determined which packages or kinds of ground beef are causing the illness, but they have stated that an investigation strongly suggests a link to ground beef.

While nine states are reporting cases of Salmonella, Colorado has the most with 21 cases, with four people having been hospitalized. The last reported case was on July 13, but authorities are warning people to avoid ground beef or cook it carefully to avoid illness. It is the second outbreak of Salmonella in the month that has been linked to ground beef.

Source: KUSA

Restaurant Performance Index drops for second straight month

The restaurant industry's economic challenges continued to persist in June, as the National Restaurant Association's comprehensive index of restaurant activity declined for the second consecutive month. The Association's Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) - a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry - stood at 97.8 in June, down 0.5 percent from May and its 20th consecutive month below 100.

"While there are signs that suggest an improvement may be on the horizon, the latest figures indicate that the restaurant industry's recovery has yet to gain a firm foothold," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Information Services for the Association. "Restaurant operators continued to report declines in same-store sales and customer traffic in June, and their outlook for sales growth in the months ahead remains mixed."

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 96.6 in June - down 0.3 percent from May and its lowest level in three months. In addition, June represented the 22nd consecutive month below 100, which signifies contraction in the current situation indicators.

Restaurant operators continue to report soft same-store sales, with June representing the 13th consecutive month of sales declines. Only 22 percent of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales gain between June 2008 and June 2009, down from 26 percent who reported a sales gain in May and the lowest reading in the seven-year history of the RPI. Sixty-one percent of operators reported a same-store sales decline in June, up slightly from 60 who reported negative sales in May.

The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators' six-month outlook for four industry indicators (same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions), stood at 99.0 in June - down 0.7 percent from May and its second consecutive decline after rising to a 19-month high in April.

The recent decline in the Expectations Index was largely due to restaurant operators' dampened outlook for sales growth in the months ahead. Twenty-four percent of restaurant operators expect to have higher sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down from 29 percent last month. In comparison, 33 percent of restaurant operators expect their sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, matching the proportion who reported similarly last month. Restaurant operators are also less optimistic about the economy, compared to recent months.

The RPI is based on the responses to the National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, which is fielded monthly among restaurant operators nationwide on a variety of indicators including sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures. The RPI consists of two components - the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index. The full report is available online:

Source: National Restaurant Association

AMI names new director of regulatory affairs

The American Meat Institute today announced that Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., will assume a new role as director of regulatory affairs, focusing on environmental, sustainability and animal welfare matters.

In her new position Peterson will assume responsibility for serving as the staff liaison to both the Environmental and Sustainability Committees.

Peterson, who joined AMI in August 2007, previously served as director with the AMI’s Legislative Affairs Department. Prior to that, Peterson was a Congressional Science Fellow in the office of Representative Marion Berry (D-AR), working on agriculture, energy, environment and appropriations issues. Peterson obtained her Ph.D. in Animal Science from the University of Maryland, her Master of Science degree in Animal Science from Michigan State University and her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Kentucky.

Source: American Meat Institute