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Food Safety News

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National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

More fighting over ‘the dollar’ threatens Beef Checkoff research


Fighting over “the dollar” has intensified during the past 30 days, raising questions about the future of a longtime source of food safety research funding. “The dollar” is the Beef Checkoff, the $1 added on to the transaction each time there is a bovine sale, from ranch to feedlot, or feedlot to slaughterhouse, etc. It may not… Continue Reading

USDA Ends COOL Enforcement With President’s Signature on Omnibus Bill


Effective immediately, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says,  USDA will no longer enforce the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for beef and pork products because COOL was repealed by Congress. Vilsack said labeling regulations on the books will be amended “as expeditiously as possible” to bring the beef and pork provisions into line.  It means… Continue Reading

Is Country-of-Origin Labeling a Food Safety Issue?


Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) is not a food safety issue. Except when it is. The law requires that much of our food be labeled with its source country, but the requirement that meat be labeled with the specific country where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered is currently an issue at the World Trade Organization… Continue Reading

Farm Bill: No Repeal of Country-of-Origin Labeling

Man looking at meat package label

Livestock groups are expressing disappointment that “a fix” to country-of-origin labeling (COOL) was not included in the final farm bill and warning that they plan to actively oppose its passage through Congress. “COOL is a broken program that has only added costs to our industries without any measurable benefit for America’s livestock producers,” read a… Continue Reading

Beef Research Money Tied to Record Low Cattle Population

America's cattle numbers are lower than ever, but safety research hangs on

Cattle herd

Beef lovers, you might want to make sure you’re sitting down. In 2013, the population of cattle in the U.S. hit its lowest point since the 1950s. It might not look like it from the line at the fast-food drive-through, but America’s herd size has actually been in decline since its peak in 1975, when… Continue Reading

Reagan Reflects on Food-Safety Record at Cattlemen’s Beef Association


Looking back on his time at the the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, James “Bo” Reagan tends to focus on his work within the beef industry to help beat back the threat of E. coli. In the unending war between an entire industry and a single bacterium, he has likely led more battles than anyone else…. Continue Reading

Vilsack: With Sequester, USDA Would Have “No Choice” But to Furlough Food Safety Inspectors

Cattlemen accuse administration for playing politics with meat inspection


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the White House have caused quite a stir in food and agriculture circles by warning that budget sequestration could lead to a two-week furlough of federal meat inspectors, which would effectively halt American meat and poultry processing. The meat industry has responded by arguing that the U.S. Department of Agriculture… Continue Reading

Jack in the Box and the Decline of E. coli


In 1993, 623 people in the western U.S. fell ill with a little-known bacteria called E. coli O157:H7. Ultimately, four children would die from their infections; many others suffered long-term medical complications. The bug was later traced to undercooked hamburger served at Jack in the Box restaurants. This outbreak thrust foodborne illness onto the national stage… Continue Reading

R-CALF Says Checkoff Diverted to Influence Policy

An independent cattlemen’s group is charging its larger competitor with using federal “Beef Checkoff” marketing dollars to illegally influence government actions and policies. The Billings, MT-based R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America made the charge earlier this month against the Denver-based National Cattleman’s Beef Association in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Attorney General… Continue Reading

Is the R-CALF Gang Eating Grilled Avocado?

The “Meatless Monday” campaign that urges Americans to cut their beef consumption by 15 percent suggests grilled avocado with salsa as the meat substitute of the week.   Pays Café in Billings, MT, where the leadership of the Ranchers Cattlemen Acton Legal Fund (R-CALF), is said to hang out, probably is not going to rustle… Continue Reading