After closing its borders to Canadian and U.S. beef in 2003 after outbreak of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), China has agreed to reopen its borders to Canadian beef. China will resume importing Canadian beef in a "staged approach," Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last week night following bilateral discussions with Chinese President Hu Jintao, reports theVancouver Sun.

"This visit by President Hu confirms that the Canada-China strategic partnership is gaining momentum as we mark 40 years of diplomatic relations and chart a course for the future," Harper said in a release.

The announcement is "very welcome news" for the Canada Beef Export Federation, which has long advocated for the reopening of the Chinese border to Canadian beef since the country's first case of BSE in 2003.
The National Cattleman’s Beef Association issued a statement that pointed out China is the only major market completely closed to U.S. beef imports, despite the fact that the United States and Canada share the same international BSE risk status.

“China is thwarting us almost across the board on animal agriculture trade issues, while the level of U.S. engagement has been poor at best,” said NCBA President Steve Fogelsong. “Over the past three years, and two administrations, we’ve seen little progress in opening the Chinese market to U.S. beef. While the Administration has said this is a priority, they have failed to take action, despite the fact that China represents one of the largest potential growth markets for our industry, worth in excess of $200 million.

“In addition, Congress’ attitude of ‘do as we say, not as we do,’ when it comes to science-based trade protocols — as we’ve seen in the case of the cooked poultry issue with China — is continuing to hurt our reputation with international trading partners. This is further hindering our ability to move forward on trade deals that could open up the doors for U.S. beef overseas. We’re now in the position of being outpaced and outhustled by competing nations, putting American jobs and market share at risk.

“With ninety-six percent of the world’s consumers living outside U.S. borders, it’s absolutely critical that we expand our opportunities to sell beef in the international marketplace if we want to keep American family farms in business.”

Source: Vancouver Sun, NCBA

Pizza with BBQ chicken and possible foreign materials recalled

Great Kitchens Inc., a Romeoville, Ill., establishment, is recalling approximately 109,800 pounds of BBQ chicken pizza products that may contain foreign materials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

The products are subject to recall include 14-pound, 4-ounce cases of "MARKETSIDE, 16" BBQ CHICKEN PIZZA, 8-16" Pizzas," bearing case codes of "11016611," "11016621," "11016711," or "11016721" as well as 28.5-ounce "Marketside™, 16" BBQ RECIPE, Thin Crust, CHICKEN PIZZA." Each box bears the establishment number "P-2539B" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The BBQ chicken pizza products were produced on June 15 and 16, 2010, and were shipped to distribution centers and retail stores nationwide.

The company discovered small pieces of plastic during production of the product. FSIS has not received any consumer complaints or reports of injury at this time.

Source: FSIS

Iowa Pork Producers aim for record burger

An Iowa city will try to grill the world's largest pork burger during its Fourth of July celebration. Organizers of the event in Humboldt say they're aiming for the pork burger to weigh 240 pounds, be 40 inches in diameter and 10 inches thick. A special 42-inch bun will be baked, and a special grill will be used to cook the burger.

The burger will take about 12 hours to fully cook, reports the AP. Grilling is set to begin July 3. When it's done, the burger will be cut up and shared with those at the Independence Day celebration.

The Downtown Humboldt Enrichment Group is organizing the event and hopes the burger is worthy of the Guinness Book of World Records. Harold Trask of the Iowa Pork Producers Association says "we hope this one does the job."

Sources: AP, WQAD