Huntington Meat Packing Inc., a Montebello, Calif., establishment, is expanding its recall of January 18 to include approximately 4.9 million additional pounds of beef and veal products that were not produced in accordance with the company's food safety plan. The products are adulterated because the company made the products under insanitary conditions failing to take the steps it had determined were necessary to produce safe products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact a physician.

The recall was expanded based on evidence collected in an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) with assistance from FSIS. This evidence shows that the products subject to this recall expansion were produced in a manner that did not follow the establishment's hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) plan. A HACCP plan describes the process controls an establishment must take to prevent food safety hazards and create a safe and wholesome product. The investigation has uncovered evidence to show that the food safety records of the establishment cannot be relied upon to document compliance with the requirements. Therefore, FSIS must consider the products to be adulterated and has acted to remove the products from commerce.

The recall includes beef and veal products under the Imperial Meat Co., El Rancho Meat & Provision and Huntington Meats brands. Each box bears the establishment number "EST. 17967" inside the USDA mark of inspection on a label. The products were produced between January 22, 2009, and January 4, 2010, and were shipped to distribution centers, restaurants, and hotels within the State of California.

Source: FSIS

Indonesia lifts ban on pork and swine imports

Indonesia's Trade Ministry has lifted a ban on imports of swine, pork and derivatives that was issued last year after the initial H1N1 scare. The ban was lifted because there have been no cases of the virus spreading from swine or pork to humans, reports theJakarta Globe.

Mangku Sitepoe, a senior veterinary expert from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), said the import ban should not have been applied in the first place because it had been scientifically proven that the virus is unable to spread from swine to humans. To say that humans could be infected by eating pork or pork products was wrong, Mangku said.

“The truth is, the virus spreads only from human to human and from human to swine, not vice versa, not yet,” he told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday. “Therefore, at present people should not be afraid to consume pork and other swine products.”

Source: Jakarta Globe

NMA elects new officers, directors

Last week at the annual meeting at National Meat Association 64th Annual Convention, the NMA Board of Directors elected the following officers to serve for the year beginning July 1, 2010.

Executive Committee: Board Chairman: Bob Jensen; President: Robert Rebholtz; Vice President: Larry Vad; Secretary: Marty Evanson; Treasurer: Mike Hesse; Director at Large: Brian Coelho.

The following member representatives were elected to the Board of Directors:
General: Martin Eckmann, Alaska Sausage; Dave Wood, Harris Ranch; Mike Curry, Yosemite Meat Co.; Steven Maxey, Certified Meat Products; Ralph Danisco, San Francisco Sausage; Henry Haskell, Square H Brands; Chris Pocino, Pocino Foods; Dennis Hajjar, Goldberg & Solovy; Joe Azzaro, Jr., In-N-Out Burgers; Tom Serrato, Far West Meats; Allen Russak, Russak Cured Smoked Products; Justin Ransom, OSI Industries; John Schaller, Lopez Foods Inc.; Bill Thoni, Cargill Inc.; Ron Gross, Wimmers Meat Products; Greg Miller, PM Global; Steve VanLannen, American Foods Group.
Allied/Associate: Kelly Green, Birko; Tom Murray, DCS Sanitation

Source: NMA

Turkey patties recalled due to allergens

Daniel's Western Meat Packers, a Pico Rivera, Calif., establishment, is recalling approximately 16,290 pounds of frozen turkey patty products because they were inadvertently mislabeled and may contain an undeclared allergen, wheat, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced. Wheat is a known potential allergen, which is not declared on the label.

The product subject to recall includes: 10-pound and 10.93-pound cases of turkey patties. Each case bears the establishment number "EST. P-2896" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The frozen turkey patty products were produced on February 18, 2009, March 27, 2009, April 1, 2009, April 10, 2009, April 17, 2009, May 23, 2009, December 28, 2009, and January 22, 2010, and were distributed to distributors and restaurants in California and Illinois.

The problem was discovered by FSIS. FSIS and the company have received no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

Source: FSIS

Organic Trade Assn. applauds USDA release of final pasture rule

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) announced it welcomed the release of the USDA’s final access to pasture rule for organic agriculture.

“It clearly defines access to pasture for organic ruminant livestock and sets a mechanism into place for strict regulation and enforcement. This will help enable producers and certifying agents to consistently implement National Organic Program regulations. As a result, consumers can be assured that the U.S. organic program for organic livestock remains the most stringent in the world,” according to OTA’s Executive Director Christine Bushway.

She added, “We are thrilled that USDA has issued this final rule and that it goes into effect in 120 days, which means it will be in place for this year’s grazing season. The organic community had been eagerly awaiting this important rule.”

The final pasture rule requires that organic ruminants receive proper feed, access to fresh air and sunshine, and well-managed living conditions, all practices that most organic farmers have used for years. The organic industry had asked for clarification of the pasture rule in order to facilitate compliance and enforcement of stringent federal organic regulations in place since 2002.
New rules announced Friday say organic milk and meat must come from livestock grazing on pasture for at least four months of the year, and that 30 percent of their feed must come from grazing. The old rules said only that animals must have "access to pasture."

It took years to craft the new regulations, which offer clarity for ranchers, food companies and consumers, who have forked over billions of dollars for organic food without a crystalline standard for livestock.

“Consumers increasingly are placing high value on organic principles that safeguard animal welfare and avoid confinement,” Bushway noted.

Bushway added that the long-awaited rule substantially refines the requirements for pasturing animals (ruminants) and has been crafted to recognize the diversity of crop and grazing zones in the United States.

Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said the pasture rules are the first step in sharpening that definition.

"This is an industry that's come to Capitol Hill and wants tough, strict regulations, because they know that's what consumers want," Merrigan said on a conference call with reporters. "They want clear, consistent, tough enforceable rules."

The new rules take effect in June, and farmers and ranchers will have one year to comply. The rules also say 30 percent of animals' feed must come from grazing and that ranchers must have a plan to protect soil and water quality.

The rule also provides an additional 60 days’ comment period for how it will affect livestock raised for meat, a provision that OTA had sought.

Source: OTA, Associated Press

T.G.I. Friday's adds Angus to menu

T.G.I. Friday's restaurants announced it is adding an upscale selection of premium indulgences, including premium black Angus steaks, Norwegian salmon and shell-on tiger shrimp, to its menu. The seven new items are part of more than 20 overall menu enhancements.

"T.G.I. Friday's is excited to announce an abundance of new food and beverages and exciting upgrades to our menu including black Angus steak entrées," said Ricky Richardson, global chief concept officer for T.G.I. Friday's. "Just in time for Valentine's Day and beyond, Friday's guests can now bring someone special and treat someone special with the best quality steaks and seafood in casual dining and great new drinks at an incredible every day value."

Aged for a minimum of 21 days, Friday's new Angus steaks are generous cuts with just the right balance of lean, choice beef and succulent marbling, perfectly seasoned and fire-grilled to order, the company says. The seven new menu additions include the following:
* Jack Daniel's Sirloin & Shrimp – a 10-oz. Black Angus strip-style sirloin and Cajun-spiced shrimp.
* 10 oz. Sirloin & Grilled Shrimp Scampi – a Black Angus strip-style Sirloin paired with skewered jumbo butterflied shrimp served char-broiled and shell-on in a scampi sauce and topped with maison butter.
* Petite Sirloin & Half-Rack of Ribs – a 6 oz. Black Angus filet-style cut sirloin steak matched with a half rack of baby back ribs, slow-cooked in-house and generously basted with a smoky Jack Championship BBQ sauce, topped with maison butter.
* 10 oz. Sirloin – a lean Black Angus strip-style sirloin topped with maison butter.
* Petite Sirloin & Salmon – a 6 oz. Black Angus filet-style cut sirloin steak coupled with a fresh 7 oz. fillet of fire-grilled, seasoned Norwegian salmon, topped with maison butter.
* Flat Iron – a tender, flavorful 8 oz. Black Angus steak topped with maison butter.
* Grilled Shrimp Scampi & Salmon – skewered jumbo butterflied shrimp char-broiled shell-on and topped with scampi sauce along with a seasoned 7 oz. fire-grilled Norwegian salmon fillet.

Source: T.G.I. Friday's