The Taiwanese legislature has voted to ban U.S. imports of some types of beef products over concerns of mad cow disease. The ban on U.S. ground beef and offal products reverses an agreement that the two countries had negotiated late last year.
The reversal of the ban in October led to mass protests by consumers and competing political parties. TheL.A. Timesreports that the opposing Democratic Progressive Party used the agreement and exploited fears about mad cow disease to undermine support for the government of President Ma Ying-jeou during December elections.

"Although there's scientific basis for the (beef) imports and they are in accord with international standards, the public still had its doubts and the legislature's decision reflected this," Ma said following the ban.

The American Institute in Taiwan, the equivalent to a U.S. embassy in Taiwan, said the move undermined Taiwan's credibility as a responsible trading partner. "The U.S. deeply regrets the decision to restrict U.S. beef imports," the institute said in a statement. "The legislature's decision to abrogate the bilateral protocol we negotiated in good faith disrespects both science-based standards as well as the findings of Taiwan's own risk assessment." The move, though, will not likely affect relations between the two countries including American arms sales.

Source: Associated Press, Los Angeles Times

NAMP launches new Meat Buyer's Guide

NAMP has launched a new, revised edition of its Meat Buyer’s Guide – a comprehensive meat and poultry identification manual – which may be preordered now for delivery in March. Meat Buyer’s Guide notebook charts and posters have been completely updated. Orders may be placed through the NAMP Web site,  Copies also may be ordered by calling (800) 932-0617 and e-mail

Since 1961, NAMP has authored The Guide which has been used as the premier resource publication the meat and poultry industry, foodservice purchasers, educators, and students. This new, sixth edition is endorsed by 20 industry and foodservice associations.

The scope of the new edition was broadened beyond the U.S. to include Canada and Mexico and features Canadian grading standards, terminology and cut descriptions, as well as updated language to reflect current USDA, CFIA and industry standards. It also includes Mexican Spanish translations of all meat cut names for the Mexican meat trade and U.S. and Canadian Hispanic users.

Other new features of the book include:
* 54 new items: 15 beef, seven lamb, six veal, six pork, 13 variety meats and edible by-products, and seven poultry.
* Additional, updated and clarified item descriptions in all sections.
* 78 new photographs.
* New beef value cuts, such as the Denver Cut, Chuck Delmonico Steaks, Chuck Eye Country-Style Ribs, and Western Griller.
* An expanded beef boneless chuck section with the Chuck Roll Three-Way, providing access to key single muscles for steak and processing applications.
* New lamb value cuts, including the flank steak, boneless pectoral meat, a notched and split short loin, and a semi boneless lamb leg steamship.
* New information on Australian and Canadian beef; and U.S. beef, veal and lamb.
* Updated weight ranges.
* New graphics.
* Expanded glossary.

Source: NAMP

John Morrell buys remaining stake in Premium Pet

John Morrell & Co., a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc., has purchased the remaining minority stake in Premium Pet Health LLC that it doesn't already own. Terms were not disclosed.

John Morrell bought a 49 percent interest in the company and expects the deal to complement its pork processing business and provide a strong return on invested capital. Premium Pet Health is a protein byproduct processor that supplies many U.S. pet food processors, John Morrell said.

Source: Associated Press