For the Week Ending February 12, 2010

February 12, 2010

Washington, D.C., February 12, 2010 

CBS IGNORES FACTS IN ATTACK ON MODERN LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION

The CBS Evening News Wednesday and Thursday aired a story that attempted to link antibiotic use in livestock and poultry production with an increase in humans of illnesses resistant to antibiotics. Despite being supplied by the U.S. pork industry with information about the antibiotic issue, CBS’s story was full of errors and innuendos that, no doubt, left viewers confused and fearful about meat from animals that receive antibiotics to keep them healthy. Particularly egregious was CBS’s use of Denmark as a model for how to raise livestock without antibiotic growth promotants (AGPs), most of which prevent disease. The story said, “Danish farmers use antibiotics sparingly, only when animals are sick,” and that Denmark’s pork production has risen by 43 percent since the country’s ban on AGPs was implemented in 1998. But Denmark’s own antibiotics use data show a marked increase in antibiotics used to treat disease, and Danish pork producers report an increase is piglet deaths, sick pigs and overall cost of production. Danish health officials say the ban has had no positive effect on human health. To read the real facts about U.S. pork production and a “rebuttal” of the CBS story, visit FactsAboutPork

 

USDA TO LOOK CLOSER AT SAFETY OF FOODS PURCHASED FOR PROGRAMS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week announced several new initiatives to ensure the safety and quality of food purchased by the agency for the National School Lunch Program and other food- and nutrition-assistance programs. Among other initiatives, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will implement new food-safety purchasing requirements for its beef suppliers and will increase information sharing with other agencies to better monitor vendor performance and identify potential food-safety issues in the process. Information on in-plant enforcement actions, positive pathogen test results, contract suspensions and recall notifications will be shared among USDA’s various departments. The Food Safety Inspection Service will work with AMS to review and evaluate meat, poultry and processed egg vendors as part of the AMS vendor eligibility process. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will review and evaluate methods currently being used by state agencies to communicate with schools and school districts regarding product recalls, and it will develop performance criteria for states that allow them to provide rapid communication to schools and school districts. FNS will provide financial assistance to states to allow them to upgrade the speed and accuracy of their food-safety messages. It also will establish a Center of Excellence devoted to research on school food-safety issues in FNS child nutrition programs. Research is needed in areas such as produce safety, proper cooling practices and evaluation of in-school food-safety programs. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) will evaluate and strengthen current requirements and, where needed, amend them to better reflect compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices and use of a verified Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points program. FSA will ensure that commercial suppliers are able to provide a qualified level of food-safety assurance for USDA programs.  To read more, visit USDA AMS.
WHAT’S AHEAD


CONGRESS IN RECESS

The Senate and House will recess next week and resume business on Feb. 22.
NPPC, NATIONAL PORK BOARD ANNUAL FORUM MARCH 4-6

NPPC and the National Pork Board will hold their 2010 annual meeting – theNational Pork Industry Forum – March 4-6 in Kansas City, Mo. For more information on the meeting, call (515) 278-8012. Media inquiries should be directed to Dave Warner at (202) 347-3600; for media registration, visit 2010 National Pork Forum.

 

NPPC WORLD PORK EXPO JUNE 9-11

NPPC’s annual World Pork Expo will be held June 9-11 at the Iowa State fairgrounds in Des Moines. Follow @NPPCWPX on Twitter at http://twitter.com/NPPCWPX for coming announcements and updates on the largest pork industry trade show and exhibition in the world.