Westlake Food Corp., a Santa Ana, Calif., establishment, is recalling approximately 140,000 pounds of fully cooked assorted meat products because they contain an undeclared allergen, wheat starch, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced. Wheat is a known allergen, which is not declared on the label.

The products subject to recall include packages of meat loaf wrapped in banana leaves, meat balls, pork hock sausages and fried pork patties, under a variety of brand names. Each package bears the establishment number "EST. 1627A" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The assorted meat products were produced between January 1, 2010 and April 14, 2010, unless otherwise noted above. These products were distributed to restaurants and retail establishments nationwide.

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

Source: FSIS

WinCo Foods ground beef recall expands

WinCo Foods expanded its hamburger recall to include ground beef sold at its 70 stores in California, Nevada, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Utah.

The original recall, announced a week ago, was for ground beef purchased at its Modesto store on Plaza Parkway from April 3-9. An independent lab involved with a survey of supermarket ground beef found that two samples purchased from the Modesto store were tainted with an E. coli bacteria that causes foodborne illness, reports the Modesto Bee.

WinCo announced over the weekend that "new information has come to light that potentially implicates WinCo's ground beef suppliers." The time frame for the recall has been expanded to include fresh hamburger packed in trays with a sale date of March 28 through April 9. The recall was consistent with an ongoing USDA investigation, the company said.

Besides investigating whether WinCo violated food safety regulations, "we are investigating the suppliers of the ground beef and attempting to determine how the contamination occurred and the point of contamination," said Neil Gaffney, a spokesman for FSIS.

Source: Modesto Bee

JBS wins largest quota of Argentine beef exports to EU

The Argentine unit of Brazil's JBA SA has won the largest share of an Argentine quote to export premium beef at a special tariff to the European Union. It will be allowed to ship 3,000 tons of beef under the Hilton Quote before June 30, representing the most of the of the 70 Argentinian companies. Marfrig Alimentos SA's Quickfood SA was awarded 1,241 tons, according to Bloomberg reports.

There were a total of eight countries who are exporting beef as part of the 58,000-ton quota. Argentina received about 50 percent of the quota, with Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Paraguay, New Zealand and Australia getting the rest. The Hilton Quota system was designed to help exporters from other nations after European agricultural subsidies were introduced in 1979.

Source: Bloomberg, Business Week

Taiwan to adopt strict measures on U.S. beef imports

Taiwan will adopt strict measures based on the existing law to ensure that imports of U.S. beef products such as tongues and testicles are safe for consumption, Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang said Monday.

In response to lawmakers' questions at the Legislative Yuan, Shih said the measures will be implemented based on the principles of "three controls and five certifications." The measures set controls on beef imports at the source, at borders and in markets, while the five certifications refer to verifying certification documents, checking that shipments are marked with detailed product information, opening a high percentage of cartons of imported beef to check the product, conducting food safety tests and being able to get information on suspected problem products immediately.

Asked about the U.S. government's announcement that beef exports to Taiwan will include tongues, testicles and tails, Shih cited Department of Health data as explaining that these products are not categorized as "internal organs" that are not allowed to be exported to Taiwan according to a Taiwan-U.S. protocol signed last year.

The Bureau of Foreign Trade will decide whether or not to allow the import of such U.S. beef products based on the existing standard, Shih said, according to Focus Taiwan News.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Aril 16 that exports of beef products to Taiwan will include bone-in meat, hanging tenders, tongues, penises, testicles, tails, tendons, and diaphragms derived from cattle less than 30 months of age slaughtered on or after April 1.

The beef parts are technically allowed to be exported into Taiwan under the category of bone-in beef, which does not require special permission and is subject only to random checks, according to ministry officials.

Legislator Ting Shou-chung of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) suggested that the government take immediate action to prohibit the beef parts from entering Taiwan to prevent public outrage.

Source: Focus Taiwan News