The National Cattleman’s Beef Association is criticizing a recent proposal by the U.S. Envronmental Protection Agency that could disrupt farming activity due to the dust it creates. In the latest step in its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), the EPA established the foundation for unprecedented regulation of dust. According to EPA’s Second Draft Policy Assessment for Particulate Matter (PM), issued late last week, EPA may consider regulating coarse PM at levels as low as 65-85 μg/m3, twice as stringent as the current standard.

“It would be virtually impossible for many critical U.S. industries to comply with this standard, even with use of best-management practices to control dust,” said Tamara Thies, NCBA chief environmental counsel. “All of us certainly want healthy air for our communities, but this is nothing more than the everyday dust kicked up by a car driving down a dirt road, and it has long been found to be of no health concern at ambient levels.”

Because of the high dust levels found in arid climates, many critical western industries have a difficult time meeting the current standard of 150 μg/m3. In some of these areas, “no-till” days have already been proposed for agriculture, severely hindering farmers’ ability to maintain productive operations.

“Farmers could be fined for everyday activities like driving a tractor down a dirt road or tilling a field,” said Thies. “It would effectively bring economic growth and development to a halt in many areas of the country.”

If EPA regulates dust at the level of 65-85 μg/m3, areas across the country would be classified as “nonattainment,” forcing states to impose extreme dust-control requirements on businesses across the board.

“The current PM standard was set conservatively low based on historically flawed health studies,” Thies continued. “EPA itself acknowledges the current standard was based on a desire to be cautious, and not on clear evidence that this very stringent level was necessary to protect against adverse public health effects. This is especially true for the type of rural dust predominantly found in agricultural and other resource-based operations.”

The policy assessment is the latest step in EPA’s ongoing review of the PM NAAQS, as required every five years under the Clean Air Act. The document will serve as the basis of EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee’s (CASAC) consideration about whether to revise the current PM standard. CASAC is scheduled to discuss the document on July 26.

Source: NCBA

U.S. Foodservice website offers cooking demos, articles

U.S. Foodservice, one of the nation's largest food distributors, is gearing up for the grilling season by providing restaurants with tips on how to make their grill and business sizzle. Restaurant operators can visit foodsight ( to learn new ways to incorporate pork and poultry into their menu through helpful articles and recipes, and by viewing videos of cooking demonstrations.

"Restaurant operators need to keep up with current trends to grow their business," said Pat Mulhern, president, Monarch Food Group, U.S. Foodservice. "The foodsight website provides foodservice professionals the information they need to maximize their menu potential, keep their menu fresh and entice new customers."

This quarter, foodsight is focusing on the hottest trends in pork and poultry. Restaurant operators can learn how to increase sales by incorporating popular trends like ethnic accents, chili peppers and fruit notes into their pork and poultry dishes. Foodsight also features information on how to spice up dishes by:
  --  Increasing the culture of your barbecue: While barbecue will always be America's favorite flavor for pork and chicken--it has evolved into a whole family of tastes. Attention has shifted to barbecue variations from other cultures ranging from Caribbean/Latin flavors to Korean.
  --  Incorporating small plates: Americans are moving away from "three square meals" and toward more snacking, leading to a proliferation of bar and snack menus. Smaller-bite menus offer diners what they want while bringing in additional between-meals revenue for operators.
  --  Re-thinking chicken dishes: As consumers expand their culinary horizons to include bolder and more nuanced flavors, operators are rethinking familiar chicken entree salads with smoky-hot chipotle, piquant fruit notes or new Asian accents.

"Foodsight focuses on some of the most intuitive research in the food industry, and is based on our 150 years of experience helping our customers succeed," added Mulhern. Visitors also have access to the latest in sustainable packaging, fresh produce options and sell sheets as well as various rebates.

Source: U.S. Foodservice

Oscar Mayer finds freshest chef

Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh recently hosted the Sandwich Showdown, a challenge between Boston Chef Chris Schlesinger of East Coast Grill and New Orleans Chef Brian Landry of Galatoire's to prepare a sandwich recipe with regional flair using Deli Fresh meats. To create the sandwich, the two chefs had to visit their local farmers market and find the freshest ingredients to pair with their choice of Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh meats. Though competition was close, Chef Brian emerged victorious as the Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh meats "Freshest Chef," winning America's votes with his Creole Madame Sandwich recipe.

Videos featuring Chef Schlesinger and Chef Landry creating their signature sandwiches were posted to with a call for America to vote for their favorite from July 7 - July 14.

"I'm honored to be named the Oscar Mayer "Freshest Chef," said Chef Brian. “The array of fresh, local ingredients and the variety of Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh meats inspired me to create my winning sandwich.”

Source: Kraft Foods