After Russia banned all but six pork plants over antibiotic residues and may ban chicken imports over chlorine rinses, the U.S. has claimed that the actions go far beyond international scientific standards used by the World Trade Organization.

Russia does not belong to the WTO, and in an interview with Reuters, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said that the U.S. should help Russia join the group.

"If we can get Russia into the rules-based system, it frankly strengthens our hand and it facilitates our ability to solve challenges like we have now," he said.
Russia’s standpoint is that it has set levels on antibiotic residue and warned the country about its Dec. 1 deadline for pork export certificates. It also has concerns about the chlorine rinse that most American chicken processors use.

“Can you imagine us exporting products to the United States and declaring that we will not observe (USDA) rules? An exporting country should observe the standards of an importing country,” said Sergei Dankvert, the head of the Russian animal and plant health watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor. “We believe Russian demands are legitimate and other countries observe them, like the European Union, or Brazil.”

The U.S. has little choice but to pursue bilateral talks, since Russia is not in the WTO. David Tarr, a consultant to the World Bank, told Reuters that the U.S. could retaliate with Russian imports, but that wouldn’t be a preferable action. Kirk said that the U.S. will try diplomacy to undo the pork bans.

"The impact on our industry is so dramatic and so compelling, we're trying to do everything -- we'll use every tool that we'll have," Kirk said.

Source: Reuters

New York town to look at cattle slaughterhouse project

The Scroeppel, N.Y., Town Board has agreed to look at a proposed cattlehouse project that developers say would be the largest such facility east of the Mississippi River. TheValley Newsreports that the developers, Bion Technologies Inc., is proposing a large-scale, integrated, closed-loop beef cattle/renewable energy project in Oswego County.

The project was initially met with skepticism when ht was first introduced to the county legislature earlier this year, but the town’s board has agreed to hear the developers out.

“We have not committed to anything,” Schroeppel Supervisor Paul Castler said Friday. “We are doing what any town board should do when someone shows an interest in developing in their town.”

Bion has said that the project would involve more than 700,000 head of cattle being housed in the county. More than 600 jobs would be created. Being a closed-loop system, the cattle manure generated would be converted to ethanol.

According to the News, the council has asked more specific questions about the project that were not answered in detail, so no task forces have been formed to look at the project further, which would be the next step in moving forward with a project. Castler said the board is not “jumping into anything.”

Source: Valley News

USDA issues supplemental proposed rule for nutrition labeling of single-ingredient products

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced that it will solicit further public comments on the proposed rule, "Nutrition Labeling of Single-Ingredient Products and Ground or Chopped Meat and Poultry Products." The rule is designed to help families make more informed decisions when purchasing and consuming meat and poultry products by requiring nutrition labeling of major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products.

This supplement to the proposed rule responds to all comments received on the January 18, 2001, proposed rule and requests additional comments on policies for which there were significant differences of opinion.

On January 18, 2001, FSIS published a proposed rule in the Federal Register entitled, "Nutrition Labeling of Ground or Chopped Meat and Poultry Products and Single-Ingredient Products" (66 FR 4969). Because of the length of time since the publication of the proposed rule, FSIS is providing the public an opportunity to comment on this supplemental proposed rule. FSIS also welcomes comments on relevant issues for which there is new evidence since the proposed rule was issued.

Comments on the proposed rule must be received by February 16, 2010. Comments can be sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 5601 Sunnyside Ave, Room 2-2127, Beltsville, Md. 20705; or through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at . Go to and in the "Search for Open Regulations" box, select "Food Safety and Inspection Service" from the agency drop-down menu and then click on "Submit." In the Docket ID column, select Docket Number FSIS-2005-0018 to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

For further information contact Sally Jones, Senior Technical Advisor, Labeling and Program Delivery Division, Office of Policy and Program Development, USDA, FSIS, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Block A, 2nd Wing, 2nd Floor Room 2-2124, Beltsville, MD 20705, or by phone at (301) 504-0878.

Source: FSIS