Cargill Meat Solutions Corp., a Wyalusing, Pa. establishment, is recalling approximately 8,500 pounds of ground beef products that may be contaminated withE. coliO26, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

The product subject to recall includes 42-pound cases of "Ground Beef Fine 90/10," containing three approximately 14-pound chubs each. These products have a "use/freeze by" date of "07/01/10," and an identifying product code of "W69032." The products subject to recall bears the establishment number "EST. 9400" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These products were produced on June 11, 2010, and were shipped to distribution centers in Connecticut and Maryland for further distribution.

FSIS became aware of the problem on August 5, 2010 when the agency was notified by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources of an E. coli O26 cluster of illnesses. In conjunction with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, the New York State Department of Health, and New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, two case-patients have been identified in Maine, as well as one case-patient in New York with a rare, indistinguishable PFGE pattern as determined by PFGE subtyping in PulseNet. PulseNet is a national network of public health and food regulatory agency laboratories coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Illness onset dates range from June 24, 2010, through July 16, 2010.

FSIS determined that there is an association between the ground beef products subject to recall and the cluster of illnesses in the states of Maine and New York.

Source: FSIS

Vilsack concerned by falling livestock producer numbers

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said that he is concerned by the falling numbers of livestock producers in the United States, a problem he believes may be related to increased concentration in the meat industry. Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder chaired a public hearing in Fort Collins, Colo., which drew proponents and opponents to the proposed GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration) rule.

"We have lost hundreds of thousands of (cattle) producers. We see the same thing in hogs, we see the same thing in dairy," Vilsack said during a Friday press conference, reports Reuters.

Large producers in attendance opposed the proposed rules, claiming they would dismantle marketing agreements that reward them for producing the size and quality of cattle and hogs that meat packers want.

"The GIPSA rule assumes all the cattle are the same." said James Herring, chief executive of Friona Industries in Amarillo, Texas. Herring and others argued there can be differences of $100 to $400 per head in the same pens of cattle.

Smaller producers want the rules, claiming they would make marketing agreements public and would give leverage to GIPSA to prosecute violators.

The comment period on the GIPSA rules ends on November 22.

"I can't tell you today that I know what the solution is, but I know we can't continue this trend because if we do, we will end up with a handful of farmers, a handful of packers, a handful of processors, and a handful of grocery stores." Vilsack said of the decline in rural populations.

Source: Reuters, CNBC

Poultry companies to announce new Oklahoma plant

Poultry companies in Oklahoma and Arkansas say they'll be announcing plans for a chicken processing plant in Ponca City with 350 new jobs, reports the Associated Press.

Oklahoma City-based Lopez Foods and Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods released a statement Friday saying a formal announcement is planned for Monday in Ponca City. The release says Dorada Poultry, a joint venture between the two companies, will occupy a former Tyson plant in Ponca City and provide chicken products to McDonald's restaurants. The plant, which closed in March, 2009, is to begin operating in mid-2011.

Source: Associated Press, Business Week,

Some chicken products destroyed after ammonia leak

Millard Refrigeration Services, which last week experienced an ammonia leak that sent about 130 people to the hospital, was required to destroy some of the frozen chicken products at its plant in Theodore, Ala.

A spokesman for FSIS said that the company was required to dispose of an unspecified amount of meat located on a dock outside the plant as well as in the hold of a ship being loaded at the adjacent industrial canal leading to Mobile Bay, reports Business Week.

Regulators determined that frozen chicken in four of the facility’s five coolers was safe and could be sold. Lingering ammonia inside the plant have prevented inspectors for looking at the fifth, a three-story cooler where the leak occurred. OSHA investigators are investigating the cause of the leak.

Source: Business Week, Associated Press

JBS may sell three Argentine meat plants

An industry source has said that Brazilian meatpacker JBS Group could sell three of its plants in Argentine, where falling cattle stocks has hurt the industry.

According to Reuters, Guillermo Moreno, Argentina’s domestic commerce secretary, made the announcement at a meeting of industry executives, said the source on condition of anonymity. The three plants, located in Pontevedra, Berazategui and San Jose, are currently operating at a reduced capacity due to a decline in the number of cattle being sent to market. JBS did not comment on the report.

Source: Reuters

“Temple Grandin” actress wins Emmy Award

Claire Danes, the actress who portrayed meat scientist Temple Grandin in the HBO movie “Temple Grandin,” won an Emmy Award for her work. The award for best actress in a miniseries or a movie was the actress' first Emmy.

"You are the most brave, intrepid person I've ever known, and you've dedicated your life to helping those who are misunderstood and underrepresented," Danes said, thanking the real-life Grandin during her acceptance speech, CNN reports. "This is in service of your work,"

"Temple Grandin" won five Emmys overall, including best miniseries or movie.

Source: CNN