The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service may issue new proposed rules in the fall that would change what constitutes “natural” chicken, after a disagreement among poultry producers on whether chicken injected with salt, water and other ingredients can be promoted as "natural."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture had maintained that if chicken wasn't flavored artificially or preserved with chemicals, it could carry the word "natural" on the package, reports the Associated Press. But the agency agreed to take another look at its policy after some producers, politicians and health advocates noted that about one-third of chicken sold in the U.S. was injected with additives that could represent up to 15 percent of the meat's weight, doubling or tripling its sodium content.

Perdue, one of the poultry producers that favors a stricter requirement for the “natural” label, joined a group called the Truthful Labeling Coalition.

"Our labels say natural or all natural only if there is nothing added," Perdue spokesman Luis Luna said. "Under no circumstances is it acceptable to label poultry that has been enhanced with water or broth or solutions as natural, or all natural."

Foster Farms has also been outspoken in its anti-plumping campaign against injecting chicken with extra water. It offers both injected and non-injected products but labels them differently.

"One of the issues we face as a nation is how to eat healthy," said Foster Farms spokesman Ira Brill. "To the degree you like salt, you should be able to add it. But you should be able to make that decision for yourself. "

Tyson Foods and Pilgrim’s Pride, the country’s two largest producers, do label “natural” chicken that have been injected with extra salt and water. Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said the company sponsored a national study that found most consumer didn't mind those labels if the ingredients added were deemed natural.

Gary Rhodes, a spokesman for Pilgrim's Pride, said the company simply wanted to offer its customers a choice.

"We offer both 100 percent natural enhanced and non-enhanced fresh chicken," Rhodes said. "It really depends on what the customer wants. It's all about choice."

Source: AP

Sustainable Beef Resource Center formed

At the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver, beef-industry leaders learned about the new Sustainable Beef Resource Center (SBRC) and its mission to provide useful, science-based information to the entire food chain. The SBRC currently is working with third-party experts to create an environmental-impact model and economic analysis of technologies used to help produce wholesome, affordable beef. It also maintains the library of data previously assembled by the Growth Enhancement Technology Information Team (GET IT).

“SBRC members clearly see our organization’s role as that of a go-to resource for associations, coalitions, academia and other industry stakeholders — organizations that already are trusted information sources regarding how beef is produced,” says Paul Parker, SBRC chairman. “This allows us to zero-in on research that can fill information gaps as the industry continuously improves its ability to produce safe, wholesome beef affordably while using fewer natural resources.”

SBRC’s library of research includes six white papers on topics ranging from the 50-year impact of pharmaceutical technologies on beef provided to consumers, to the economic and environmental benefits of current-day beef-management practices. The organization’s website at also features beef-production facts, and talking points about the environmental and economic benefits of beef technologies.

“Until this research about pharmaceutical technologies as a whole had been done, there was a gap in science-based information about how those innovations bring tangible value to consumers,” says Jacque Matsen, executive director, issues management, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “Just as important, SBRC provides a forum for NCBA to coordinate with the technology providers on efforts like creating easy-to-understand key messages that we can use when talking to a variety of target audiences.”

The SBRC website also highlights materials used in a recent “eco-friendly and eco-nomical” marketing campaign. This outreach focused on two topics of interest to consumers: food affordability and environmental sustainability. Organizations interested in using talking points from this campaign can get started by visiting

SBRC has commissioned two respected academic authorities that have expertise in beef life-cycle assessment modeling and global agricultural economics to develop a new white paper. Their focus is to answer two key questions: 1) what are the productivity and environmental effects of removing growth-enhancing technologies from the U.S. beef-production system? and 2) what are the global economic, land-use and environmental implications of the corresponding loss in productivity of the U.S. beef herd if growth-enhancing technologies are not used? The resulting data will be available in early 2011.

“Accurate, fact-based information is the cornerstone of what organizations like the Iowa Beef Industry Council need to be a credible and trusted resource for our constituents — from the media to consumers to beef producers, themselves,” says Nancy Degner, executive director, IBIC. “That’s why the SBRC materials — which are backed by research conducted by independent experts, presented in an easy-to-use format and updated regularly — are so valuable in our ongoing education about beef’s role in a healthy, affordable diet.”

Knowing how important it is to stretch precious industry resources, SBRC invites other organizations and individuals to join its current core membership of representatives from leading U.S. animal-health companies.

“As consumers face higher food costs and have increased interest in environmentally friendly food solutions, their need for good information has never been greater,” says Parker. “Our goal for the Sustainable Beef Resource Center is to help bridge gaps with fact-based information that, in turn, can help the industry speak with one well-informed voice about the effects of sustainable beef-raising practices and technologies. That’s why we hope industry associations and other organizations will feel free to use SBRC materials in their ongoing outreach.”

Source: SBRC

2011 AMI Show announces speakers

Two renowned leaders with global insights will headline general sessions at the 2011 Meat, Poultry & Seafood Convention and Exposition, to be held April 13-16, 2011, at McCormick Place, Chicago, Ill.

Michael Hayden, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and former director of the National Security Agency (NSA), will headline the first general session, scheduled for Wednesday, April 13, from at 10:30 a.m. Hayden will discuss the political situations in the hot spots in every corner of the world, analyze the tumultuous global environment and what it all means for the American people and America’s interests.

After nearly 40 years in the U.S. Air Force, General Hayden became director of the CIA in May of 2006, capping a career in service to the United States. Originally appointed by President Bill Clinton to the post of director of the National Security Agency (NSA), General Hayden became the longest-tenured NSA director, serving from 1999-2005.

From April of 2005 to May of 2006, General Hayden was the number one military intelligence officer in the country, serving as deputy director of National Intelligence. In this capacity, he oversaw the entire intelligence community, including the CIA, NSA, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. He directed all four agencies to make them work as a unit while maintaining the specialties and unique qualities that made them successful.

Carlos Gutierrez, former CEO and chairman of the board at Kellogg Company and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is scheduled to address attendees during the second general session on Friday, Friday, April 15 at 10:30 a.m. Gutierrez will share with attendees the challenges facing global business and the ways in which leadership, diversity, innovation, values, and education are integral to international success.

The son of Cuban immigrants who began his career selling Kellogg’s cereal to small grocery stores in Mexico City, he eventually rose to become the youngest CEO in the 100-year history of Kellogg Co.

In 2005, he was tapped by President George W. Bush to be the 35th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. During his tenure as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Gutierrez made it a top priority to open global markets for U.S. companies, ensuring continuous innovation and competition to build a stronger American economy. Resuming his international outreach, now in the service of his country, he regularly traveled to visit with foreign government and business leaders to discuss ways to enhance trade and promote U.S. exports.

Gutierrez played a key role in the passage of CAFTA-DR, a landmark agreement that strips away trade barriers, expands export opportunities and boosts hope and opportunity throughout Latin America.

Gutierrez’s current role is as founder and chairman of Global Political Strategies (GPS), an international strategic consulting service and a division of APCO Worldwide, a Washington-based global communications firm. He also serves on the boards of Motorola, Occidental Petroleum and United Technologies.

Source: AMI