According to a US judge, chickens are not “livestock” and are therefore not subject to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

A lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) against the Agriculture Department has argued that the USDA had misinterpreted the 50-year-old Act, reports Cattle Network.

“The court finds the legislative history strongly demonstrates unambiguous congressional intent that livestock, as used in the HMSA, does not include poultry,” US District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel reportedly wrote in her opinion. Read the rest of this entry »

USDA News Release, Class I Recall,  Health Risk High

(Class 1 USDA recalls are the most serious and involve a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death.)

Following Sunday’s announcemenet that Meijer Distribution Center was voluntarily recalling approximately 2,184 pounds of frozen chicken entrées that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, Costco Wholesale, an Issaquah, Wash. firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 10,368 pounds of frozen chicken entrées that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Four-pack of 12-ounce packages of “Discover Cuisine ™ Red Curry Chicken & Jasmine Rice.” Each package bears the Canadian establishment number “Est. 302” inside the Canadian Food Inspection Agency mark of inspection as well as a “Best By” date of “12 18 08.” The item number “2880” also appears by the UPC code on the package. Read the rest of this entry »

WHAT DOES THE USDA GRADE SHIELD TELL ME?

About one-third of the nation’s table eggs are packed under USDA’s voluntary grading service.  This service provides consumers qualified third-party assurance that the eggs they buy are the grade marked on the carton at the time the eggs are packed and that the plant processing equipment, facilities, sanitation, and operating procedures are continuously monitored by a USDA grader.  This assurance is available at little or no additional cost to consumers — eggs graded by USDA (eggs identified with the USDA grade shield) cost essentially the same as eggs without the USDA grade shield.

Only eggs graded by USDA may be packed into cartons that bear the shield-shaped USDA grademark shown here.  USDA graders constantly monitor quality, size, and packaging of these eggs.

USDA CARTON STAMPING TELLS WHEN AND WHERE THE EGGS ARE PACKED

When the USDA grade shield is present on the carton, the carton must also be labeled with the date and location of where the eggs were packed.  Consumers can also use this information to learn more about the eggs they are buying.   This information is typically stamped onto one end of each carton of eggs.  An example of a date and location code is shown in the picture below:

Cartons that have the USDA grade shield are marked to identify the company and location where the eggs were packed, and the date that the eggs were washed, graded, and placed into the cartons. In addition, most packers also provide consumers with a code date, which indicates the last date the eggs should be sold at retail, or used by the consumer.

1.   CODE DATES: 
Egg processors typically print dates commonly called “Code Dates” on cartons for purposes of rotating stock or controlling inventory.  “EXP”, “Sell By”, “Best if Used Before” are examples of terminology used for code dating.  Use of code dates on USDA graded eggs is optional, however, if they are used, certain rules must be followed.

If an expiration date is used, it must be printed in month/day format and preceded by the appropriate prefix.  “EXP”, “Sell By”, “Not to be sold after the date at the end of the carton” are examples of expiration dates.  Expiration dates can be no more than 30 days from the day the eggs were packed into the carton. Read the rest of this entry »

USDA News Release, Class I Recall,  Health Risk High

(Class 1 USDA recalls are the most serious and involve a health hazard situation in which there is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause health problems or death.)

Meijer Distribution Center, a Grand Rapids, Mich. firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 2,184 pounds of frozen chicken entrées that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced.

The following product is subject to recall:

  • 12-ounce packages of “Discover Cuisine ™ Red Curry Chicken & Jasmine Rice.” Each package bears the Canadian establishment number “Est. 302” inside the Canadian Food Inspection Agency mark of inspection as well as a “Best By” date of “12 18 08.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Agriculture Department suspended with pay Friday an inspector and a supervisor who monitored the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company plant responsible for the 143 million pounds of beef that were recalled, a union official said.

Stan Painter, chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, said the department told him it “had obtained information warranting placing” the two employees on administrative leave.

The suspensions are the USDA’s latest response to rules violations at the Chino, Calif., plant that led to the largest beef recall in U.S. history, on Feb. 17. Today, Secretary Ed Schafer told senators the agency was increasing random checks and is considering installing video cameras in holding pens for added surveillance.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-beef0229,0,1085176.story>

The nation’s largest meat recall could grow into its largest food recall as companies destroy products with any amount of the 143 million pounds of beef recalled last week.

The recall’s scope is unprecedented, says the Grocery Manufacturers of America. The value of foods affected — including soups, sauces, burritos and bouillon cubes– could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, a senior GMA official says.

“It’s going to be very, very sizable,” says Craig Henry, the group’s senior vice president. “We’ve never had a recall like this.” He says it will take weeks to find out how many products the recalled beef went into. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro has called for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be stripped of its responsibility for food safety in the wake of the nation’s largest-ever meat recall. The agency’s twin mandates of promoting the nation’s agriculture and monitoring it for safety have become blurred, said U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro.

“Food safety ought to be of a high enough priority in this nation that we have a single agency that deals with it and not an agency that is responsible for promoting a product, selling a product and then as an afterthought dealing with how our food supply is safe,” said DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat who chairs the House subcommittee responsible for the USDA’s funding. Read the rest of this entry »

Regarding today’s USDA beef recall and the serious health risks associated with processing “downer cows,” Dr. Richard Raymond, under secretary for the Office of Food Safety in a “Technical Briefing” responds:

“In July of 2007 the Food Safety and Inspection Service did issue a final rule called Prohibition of the Use of Specified Risk Materials for Human Food and Requirements for the Disposition of Nonambulatory Disabled Cattle.

This rule states very clearly that nonambulatory disabled cattle are not allowed in the food supply and would not pass ante mortem inspection. Read the rest of this entry »

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today ordered the recall of 143 million pounds of frozen beef from a California slaughterhouse, the subject of an animal-abuse investigation, that provided meat to school lunch programs.

Officials said it was the largest beef recall in the United States, surpassing a 1999 ban of 35 million pounds of ready-to-eat meats.

The recall will affect beef products dating to Feb. 1, 2006, that came from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., the federal agency said.

Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer said his department has evidence that Westland did not routinely contact its veterinarian when cattle became non-ambulatory after passing inspection, violating health regulations.

“Because the cattle did not receive complete and proper inspection, Food Safety and Inspection Service has determined them to be unfit for human food and the company is conducting a recall,” Schafer said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) compiles data for the per capita consumption of *high fructose corn syrup (hfcs). They estimate 2006 consumption was 41.5 lbs per year (other studies report a much higher annual use – anywhere from 50-62 pounds). The USDA also reports per capita sugar consumption in 2006 was 44.5 lbs per year.

Using their numbers, the combined per person intake of hfcs and sugar per year in the US is 86 pounds! Does anyone wonder why we have an obesity problem? Is the USDA partly responsible for this epidemic? How much of that corn is genetically modified?

If you haven’t already, read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” You’ll never look at corn (or food for that matter) the same.

*Introduced in the 1970’s, high fructose corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn. It is used in tens of thousands of processed food products, especially soft drinks and fruit juices.

Source: http://www.hfcsfacts.com/WhatIsHFCS.html