A report by the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management calls for an overhaul of world farming and move vegetarianism. The U.N.-backed report states that food production and fossil fuel use causes pollution, greenhouse gases, diseases and forest destruction, Reuters reports.

"How the world is fed and fuelled will in large part define development in the 21st century," said the 112-page report.

"Agricultural production accounts for a staggering 70 percent of the global freshwater consumption, 38 percent of the total land use and 14 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions," said Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Program.

The report said consumers could help by cutting down on meat consumption and use of fossil fuels in heating or travel. "Animal products are important because more than half of the world's crops are used to feed animals, not people," it said. "A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products."

The report noted that increasing wealth in developing countries led to more meat consumption. China, for example, increased meat consumption by 42 percent between 1995 and 2003.

Source: Reuters

Florida Ag Dept., Pilgrim's Pride team up for local chicken

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is teaming up with Pilgrim’s Pride, a North Florida poultry processor, to let Florida consumers know they can choose chicken that is fresh and local, produced right here in the Sunshine State. Shoppers at Sam’s Clubs across Florida can now look for the colorful “Fresh from Florida” logo and be assured that the chicken they are buying is the freshest they can get.

“The logo will help Floridians easily identify a safe, wholesome, fresh Florida product,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson said. “When shoppers see the logo, they’ll know they’ve found a product they can trust.”

“Fresh from Florida” chicken is chicken of the highest quality, Bronson said. Raised antibiotic-free on an all-vegetable diet, it is processed in a state-of-the-art facility in Live Oak that features advanced air-chilling technology to ensure quality and freshness. Poultry producers and processors in Florida must comply with strict food-safety regulations.

Poultry producers in North Florida also meet rigorous environmental standards. The Suwannee River Partnership is a coalition of state, federal, and regional agencies, local governments, and private industry representatives working together to reduce nitrate levels in the waters of the Suwannee River Basin. Since 1999, when the partnership began, 99 percent of poultry farmers in the Suwannee watershed have agreed to use “best management practices.” These farming techniques significantly reduce the amount of animal waste and other pollutants that enter water resources.

Poultry production and processing are economic mainstays for rural North Florida, where over 80 percent of the state’s chicken production takes place. In Suwannee, Lafayette, and Madison counties, the poultry industry has an overall economic impact of $347 million annually. It supports nearly 100 farms and creates 3,700 jobs.

“Choosing ‘Fresh from Florida’ chicken helps ensure those jobs will be here to stay,” Bronson said.

Source: Florida Dept. Of Agriculture & Community Services

NAMP Center of the Plate training course set for September

Registration is now open for the Center of the Plate Training Short Course offered by the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP). Center of the Plate Training is NAMP’s popular short course that teaches participants about standards and specifications by demonstrating how the cuts commonly found in foodservice and retail are fabricated. Participants also learn about variations in quality and how standards can impact the consistency of meat products.

This day-and-a-half course will be held at Kendall College in downtown Chicago starting Thursday morning Sept. 23, and ending in the early afternoon of Friday, Sept. 24.

NAMP is offering free registration: register three people – your staff or those of your customers – and the fourth registration is free. Many companies took advantage of this offer for the COP course last month at Texas A & M.

This is the second year NAMP has hosted this short course in Chicago, which covers beef, veal, lamb, and pork. Steve Olson, NAMP’s Standards and Specifications Advisor, will be the primary instructor, with additional input from representatives from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Pork Board, and American Lamb Board.

The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) and the Chicago Mid-West Meat Association (CMMA) are co-sponsoring the course, making their members eligible for the lower member-only rate.

For more information and details, please visit www.namp.com, or contact Ann Wells, NAMP Director of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, at awells@namp.com or (800) 368-3043 x103.

Source: NAMP