Hundreds of Nash County, N.C., residents protested a proposed Sanderson Farms chicken processing plant. Residents say the plant would ruin their quality of life and could jeopardize the area’s drinking water supply and the Tar River, reports theRocky Mount Telegram.

“We do not oppose jobs and economic development,” said Con Ward, a speaker at the rally. “We oppose an industry like Sanderson Farms that preys on vulnerable rural counties promising economic growth with low-paying jobs.”

The Nash County Board of Commissioners rezoned 150 acres of land for general industrial development, and county officials say the site is a finalist for the new Sanderson Farms plant.

Along with residents of Nash and Wilson counties who are fighting the plant, the Wilson City Council has allocated $1 million to fight the project and has even threatened to cut off Wilson’s water supply to Nash County if the project moves forward.

Meanwhile, residents and officials in Kinston say they are excited about Sanderson Farms’ plans to open a new poultry processing plant there in January. City and county officials, as well as residents, are glad for new jobs to be entering an area where they are sorely needed.

Officials in other cities where Sanderson operates note that the company has been a good neighbor.

Source: Rocky Mount Telegram

RTE turkey breasts recalled

New Braunfels Smokehouse, a New Braunfels, Texas, establishment, is recalling approximately 2,609 pounds of fully cooked, ready-to-eat smoked turkey breast products that may be contaminated withListeria monocytogenes(Lm), the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced.

The products subject to recall include: 1-pound packages of “New Braunfels Smokehouse Sliced Smoked Turkey” with package code “2210” on the label; 4- to 6-pound packages of “New Braunfels Honey-Glazed Spiral Sliced Smokehouse Hickory Smoked Boneless Breast of Turkey” with package code “2180” on the label; 4- to 6-pound whole breast packages of “Stegall Boneless Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast” with package code “2210” on the label; and 4- to 6-pound whole breast packages of “Stegall Spiral Sliced Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast” with package codes “2180” or “2210” on the label.

Each package bears the USDA mark of inspection and the number “P-975” inside the mark of inspection. The fully cooked, ready-to-eat smoked turkey breast products were produced on August 4, 2010, and distributed nationwide, including catalog and internet sales. The problem was discovered through microbiological sampling by FSIS.

Source: FSIS

Cargill encouraged by preliminary results from beef cattle vaccine trial

Cargill announced encouraging preliminary results from its 2010E. coliO157:H7 vaccine trial involving 85,000 head of beef cattle. Initial results are based upon sampling both cattle at feedlots and meat at the company's Fort Morgan, Colo., beef processing facility where vaccinated cattle were harvested from May through August.

Addressing the food and feed safety committee of the United States Animal Health Association in Minneapolis yesterday, Dan Schaefer, Cargill assistant vice president for beef research and development stated, "While we are pleased with the preliminary results, we are also eager to see completed analytical work currently underway by independent researchers at Kansas State and Texas Tech universities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat Animal Research Center and the Beef Check-off, which should be available early in 2011. Because we saw a favorable immune system response to the vaccine that we were hoping for, and the cattle had no adverse reaction, we believe there is enough evidence to move forward with a second vaccine trial, and anticipate doing so in summer 2011, at a Midwest beef processing facility supplied by midsize feedlots in the region. We're determining the best way to proceed with this science-based, evolutionary process, which we hope will lead to validating the potential value of vaccine as another food safety tool for beef production."

According to Schaefer, there are numerous factors that influence the potential effectiveness of vaccine for reducing naturally, randomly occurring E. coli O157:H7 in beef cattle, including weather, geography, seasonality, animal and herd care and management, vaccine dosage and others, which creates a challenge in replicating the prior trial.

Additionally, Cargill noted a low level of E. coli O157:H7 in the beef being produced at Fort Morgan from the non-vaccinated (control group) cattle during the time vaccinated cattle were being harvested, which could potentially influence the significance of the data currently being analyzed by independent researchers. Researchers are trying to better understand the meaning and value of the reduction in E. coli O157:H7 in beef from the vaccinated animals, compared with beef from those that did not receive the vaccine. This vaccine trial was the first pre-harvest intervention trial completed that monitored activity from the time of vaccination through measurements in meat.

"The low level of E. coli O157:H7 in the beef from control cattle is something we need to take into consideration when we analyze the data to determine the vaccine's true impact and potential," explained Schaefer. "The scientist in me tells me much more research remains to be conducted before we can draw any meaningful conclusions about the long-term efficacy of vaccine use to reduce any strain of bacteria potentially found in beef that could pose health risks to consumers."

The $1 million 2010 trial involved the entire cattle supply from 10 feedlots being vaccinated and dedicated to Cargill for harvesting at Fort Morgan. Of the 85,000, nearly 60,000 head of cattle received two doses of the vaccine produced by Wilmar, Minn., based Epitopix LLC, one dose upon arrival at the feedlot and one dose approximately 90 days prior to harvesting. The remaining cattle received a single dose and served as buffers prior to and following those cycling through the feedlots that received two doses. By providing buffers, Cargill established the scientific controls required to test the effect of whole feedlot vaccination under commercial conditions.

"The potential success of a vaccine should be viewed as another possible measure in the beef industry's food safety toolbox that better ensures a safe food supply for consumers," stated Schaefer, who added, "We believe people have the right to expect safe food, and while additional research is required to better understand vaccine's potential value in controlling E. coli O157:H7 from farm and feedlot to consumers, we're committed to that pursuit. We continuously strive to provide the safest food possible, every serving, every time. Doing so is critical to the continued success of our business."

Source: Cargill Inc.

Hormel releases 2010 Hunger Survey

More than one in four (28 percent) Americans say that in the past year they or someone they know has had to make a choice between providing food for their family or paying their bills, and one in 10 Americans say they personally went to bed hungry at least once in the past year. These and other surprising figures were revealed in The 2010 Hormel Hunger Survey, released by Hormel Foods Corp.

The percentage of Americans very concerned about the number of people in the United States who do not have enough to eat rose from 46 percent in 2009 to 54 percent this year, suggesting consumers are aware of the personal toll the recession has been taking on many Americans.

"It is a tragedy that people around the world and in our country still suffer from hunger," said Julie H. Craven, vice president of corporate communications at Hormel Foods. "We hope this survey provides facts about hunger and makes clear that it is still a problem both in the United States and abroad."

In this fifth annual study on hunger, a majority (52 percent) of Americans said their ability to pay their bills has not changed in the past year. However, five times as many Americans say it has become more difficult to pay bills (38 percent) than said it has become easier (8 percent) compared to a year ago.

About nine out of 10 Americans have been forced to spend more carefully these days, including almost one in five (18 percent) who say they are struggling to pay essential bills or cannot pay those bills without borrowing. Only about one in 10 Americans say they do not have to worry much about how they spend their money.

When answering questions about fresh food options, a majority of Americans said having large grocery stores where only small stores with limited choices are currently available would have a beneficial effect on six social problems, especially reducing malnutrition (71 percent) and hunger (69 percent). Other problems that most believe would be alleviated include the cost of healthcare (58 percent), obesity (53 percent), reduced life expectancy (60 percent) and low school test scores (56 percent). According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 2.3 million Americans live more than a mile from a supermarket that offers many food choices and do not have access to a vehicle to get there.

Additionally, about two-thirds (65 percent) of Americans have donated food to a food bank or other food collection charity in the past year, and a smaller majority (57 percent) have donated money to one of these organizations. Slightly less than one in four (23 percent) volunteered their time to a food bank, shelter or organization providing food for the hungry in the past year.

Despite this demonstrated commitment to eradicating hunger, a majority (61 percent) of those surveyed do not think the hunger problem in the United States will be solved in the next 20 years.

"It is disheartening to see most Americans feel the hunger problem in the U.S. will not be solved in the next 20 years," said Jean Kinsey, a professor emeritus of applied economics at the University of Minnesota, and director emeritus of The Food Industry Center. "However, Americans and U.S. companies are still working hard to end hunger despite this belief, and their commitment will help solve the problem."

The survey also uncovered attitudes toward hunger abroad. Nine out of 10 Americans agree that children should receive hunger relief first, no matter where they live. More than four out of five (84 percent) respondents agree that growing hunger around the world is linked to political unrest.

Survey findings also highlighted additional attitudes among Americans:
* Americans are divided on how we as a nation ensure people in this country do not go hungry. Slightly more (50 percent) believe we are unsuccessful than believe we are successful (47 percent).
* Nine out of 10 (91 percent) Americans agree that reducing the number of hungry children benefits our communities.
* More than three out of four (78 percent) Americans agree even in our free market economy, the government should ensure everyone in America has enough to eat. A majority (54 percent) strongly agree.
* More than three out of four (78 percent) Americans agree the hungry in the United States are in that position due to circumstances beyond their control rather than lack of effort.

A majority (57%) of Americans say if they would qualify for food aid, they would apply to get it. More than one-third (38%), however, said they would not apply citing reasons such as "I do not want a government handout," "I would be embarrassed to use the benefits," and "I do not know how to apply."

As part of the company’s commitment to hunger causes, Hormel Foods donated more than 480,000 pounds of protein to various charitable organizations during the past year.

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.

U.S. again urges Japan to open beef market

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk urged Japan to open its markets to U.S. beef from cattle older than 30 months, as well as insurance, during a meeting with Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara on Sunday. His remarks suggested that the elimination of non-tariff barriers will become a prerequisite for Japan joining the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, reports Nikkei News.

Tokyo and Washington have long been working on a bilateral free trade agreement, but little progress has been made due to Japan's reluctance to open the farming sector and allow the entry of foreign firms into the postal services market.

Kirk also met with Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akihiro Ohata, who called for close cooperation with the U.S. in discussing the TPP. Kirk expressed a positive stance on forging close ties on this matter.

Source: Nikkei