Russia ended a ban on pork imports from a Tyson Foods Inc. plant in Iowa, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

The Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. plant in Columbus Junction, Iowa, is allowed to export pork that was produced as of today to Russia, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said in a report on its website. Pork produced before today is ineligible for shipment, the USDA said, without providing a reason for the ban.

Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Turkey hatchery accused of animal abuse

A member of the Humane Society of the United States working undercover at the Willmar Poultry Co. plant in Willmar, Minn., has recorded several incidents of alleged animal abuse. A video on the HSUS website appears to show employees at the plant cutting toes off poults and tossing them down a chute to a bloody conveyor belt. An employee is seen scooping up poults and tossing them in a bin, leaving ones that fell onto the floor, as well as an employee throwing injured birds into a grinder, reports CNN.

"Our latest investigation exposes a callous disregard for animal welfare in the turkey industry, including practices such as grinding alive sick, injured and even healthy but unwanted turkeys," said Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the United States president and CEO. "It's unacceptable for workers to leave injured and nonambulatory animals to suffer on the floor for hours on end, only to then send them to their deaths in a grinder."

Willmar Poultry Co. President Richard VanderSpek defended the company's animal welfare practices and policies and said in a statement that the video depicted "the actions of some employees that violate the company's animal welfare policies."

"We condemn any mistreatment of the animals in our care and will take swift action to investigate and address these issues. Willmar Poultry will also review its policies, procedures, employee training and site monitoring to help ensure that our employees understand and follow company animal welfare policies and procedures," VanderSpek said in a statement.

VanderSpek said the company was committed "to meeting or exceeding" industry standards for animal welfare practices and policies, including the National Turkey Federation's Animal Care Guidelines.

"The No. 1 priority for our turkey industry is to provide the safest, highest quality products possible. Therefore, it is essential for the industry to ensure the well-being of the turkeys it raises. Whether it is on the farm or in the processing facility, the turkey industry acts responsibly in the raising, breeding, transporting and processing of all turkeys," he said.

Source: CNN

Cloned cattle meat safe -- probably

An advisory committee to Britain’s food safety regulator reported that meat and milk from cloned cattle show no difference in composition from that of traditionally bred cows and are unlikely to pose a food safety risk, Reuters reports.

The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes, following an open meeting on Thursday, said that consumers still may want to see effective labeling of products from clones and their offspring partly due to animal welfare concerns.

The European Commission has recently recommended introducing a five-year ban on the use of cloned animals for food production in the European Union. EU member states and the EU parliament are currently debating the proposal. Meat or milk from the descendants of clones would not be subject to the ban.

Earlier this year, food safety watchdog the Food Standards Agency (FSA) said it had found that meat from the offspring of a cloned cow had entered the UK food chain and had been eaten without required authorization.

Source: Reuters, ABC News

Pork producer accused of causing fish kill

A pork producer who raises hogs for Maxwell Foods is accused of spraying 200,000 gallons of hog manure onto a field upstream of a major fish kill. Approximately 106,000 fish died in Indiana’s Bear Creek and Mississinewa River in June, reports theStar Press.

Aaron Chalfant allegedly spread the manure during rainy weather in June, which then polluted the Creek, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. In addition, Chalfant allegedly filed a written spill report as required by law but did not provide adequate information in the report. Chalfant also is accused of failing to notify the nearest affected downstream water user of the spill as required by law.

In inspection reports, IDEM claims the manure was applied at a rate that did not comply with Natural Resources Conservation Service standards. When state inspectors returned to the field in mid-August, they found no row crops growing there.

Chalfant, who raises finishing hogs for North Carolina-based Maxwell Foods, could not be reached for comment. But he told state inspectors that no rain was forecast when the manure was applied. Nearly an inch of rain fell that night, and more rain fell in the following days.

Source: Star Press

Golden Island jerky maker to expand

Universal Food Co., makers of Golden Island jerky, has expanded its footprint and leased 8,000-square-feet of office space. The manufacturer also plans to expand its workforce and hire 10 to 15 more employees.
“We outgrew our current 22,000-square-feet of production and office space; expanding the size and capacity of our facilities just made sense,” Universal Food Co. President Anna Kan said. “Our uniquely flavored jerky has fueled our recent triple digit sales growth.”

The added space is located next to Universal’s current operations in Rancho Cucamonga. The company will be investing over $500,000 in new renovations and equipment to keep up with projected growth.

“Moving our administrative staff from our current facility into this new space gives us extra capacity to manufacture our products,” Kan added. “We’re really excited about ramping up production.”

Universal Food also anticipates hiring 10 to 15 additional employees in the next few months so it can meet increasing demand for its Asian flavored snacks and jerky. So far this year, Universal Food has hired 20 more employees.

“We’re really on a growth spurt,” Kan continued. “Our unique jerky flavors – which include Chile Lime, Honey Chipotle, Grilled BBQ Pork and more – have captured the attention of foodies across the nation."

Universal Food’s Golden Island brand of jerky can be found on Costco, Central Markets, and various local Asian stores. The manufacturer also recently opened an online store at

Source: Universal Food Co.