Category Archives: News

Foodborne Illness Statistics can be Misleading

Nelson GaydosBy Nelson Gaydos, Outreach Specialist

I recently read an article in The National Provisioner by Andrew Lorenz from We R Food Safety! titled: “Foodborne Illness Estimates: Fascinating and Misleading” (thank you Darla Kiesel for pointing it out to me) and I felt the need to comment on it.

The article explains how even correct statistics relating to foodborne illness can be manipulated and, in turn, used incorrectly. Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) base their budgets and the focus of their work on the estimated occurrences of illnesses and deaths from food consumption. The articles goes further to question the validity of the estimated numbers used by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and concludes that the numbers they use are much greater than the actual numbers.

Though the CDC may be using overestimation of the actual statistics, it is important to recognize that we as an industry have come a long way and have significantly decreased both illnesses and deaths associated with foodborne illness in meat and poultry products. We need to continue to focus our time and resources on having proactive food safety plans; to prevent foodborne illness from occurring instead of reacting to it. Controlling the temperature of your products throughout the entire process and preventing cross-contamination from occurring are just two ways you can drastically increase both the shelf life and safety of your products. By doing this we can decrease foodborne illness even greater and provide to our customers the most safe and wholesome products we can make.

I encourage you to read the entire article here (email sign up is required).

Iowa State’s Cordray, Sebranek Named to Meat Industry Hall of Fame

Dr. Joe Sebranek, and Dr. Joe Cordray
Dr. Joe Sebranek, and Dr. Joe Cordray

Two Iowa State University professors have been named 2016 inductees to the national Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

Joseph Cordray and Joseph Sebranek, professors in the Department of Animal Science, were honored last night, along with five other industry leaders, at the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE17) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Cordray, who has a PhD in meat science from Auburn University, has spent the last 20 years as Professor-in-Charge of the Iowa State Meat Laboratory and its extension courses. Dr. Cordray, a long-time member of AAMP, has also served for more than a decade as an American Cured Meats Championship Technical Advisor.

Dr. Sebranek, who has a PhD in meat science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been engaged since 1975 in teaching, extension, and research at Iowa State involving processed and cured meats. Dr. Sebranek was named a Distinguished Professor in 2008.

The Meat Industry Hall of Fame was founded in 2008 and currently has 77 members, including Dave Thomas, Frank Perdue, Ray Kroc, Don Tyson, and Jimmy Dean. To be nominated for membership, candidates must have “contributed significant innovation, achieved notable business success or otherwise positively impacted their organization, institutions or larger industry segment” and also have “undertaken noteworthy community service.”

AAMP congratulates Dr. Cordray and Dr. Sebranek for this great accomplishment.

AAMP Remembers Jim Peterson

PetersonLong-time AAMP member James Larry Peterson, age 71, passed away on Sunday, January 22, 2017 at the rehab at Good Samaritan Society-Lodi, in Lodi, WI. He was born on September 1, 1945, the son of Lawrence and Eunice (Thompson) Peterson, Fairview, Wisconsin.

Jim graduated high school in Richland Center. Jim and his wife Mary were united in marriage on March 23, 1973 in Lodi, Wisconsin. In 1964, Jim purchased the Lodi Locker Market and during the next 25 years he expanded the business and developed new products. Jim sold the Locker Market in 1989 and accepted a position in sales and technical service with Alkar-Rapid Pak Inc.

Jim was very active in the the American Association of Meat Processors, serving multiple times as a director and on several committees. AAMP honored Jim as its 4th inductee into the ‘Cured Meats Hall of Fame’ in 1997 and with its highest honor, ‘The Outstanding Service Award’, in 2006. In an excerpt from the introductory speech by Steve Krut, AAMP’s former executive director, Krut said, “Jim may be the single most honored person in the history of AAMP.” He attended nearly every national and state association convention. Jim served for decades on the board of the Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors and is a member of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Meat Industry Hall of Fame

Jim was known as “The Sausage King”. Jim was in the Army and active in the Lodi American Legion Post #216. He was a member of First Lutheran Church of Lodi. He was a Badger Booster, a hunter and collected antique fishing lures.

Jim is survived by his daughter, Megan (fiancé Joe); sister, Connie and numerous nieces, nephews and other family members. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary and his mother and father. Funeral Services will be held at FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH, 206 Pleasant St., Lodi, at 3 p.m. on Sunday, January 29, 2017 with Pastor Mike Lee presiding. Burial will be in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.  Visitation will be held at the GUNDERSON LODI FUNERAL HOME, 157 S. Main St., Lodi from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 28, 2017 and again on Sunday from 2 p.m. until the time of the service at the church.

Memorials may be made to First Lutheran Church in Lodi or the Lodi American Legion Post #216. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.

Gunderson Lodi
Funeral & Cremation Care
157 S. Main Street
(608)592-3201

FSIS Notice on Humane Handling and Slaughter – Is it Worth the Hassle?

CowsBy Chris Young, Executive Director

ASSESSMENT AND VERIFICATION REVIEWS OF AN OFFICIAL LIVESTOCK ESTABLISHMENT’S ROBUST SYSTEMATIC APPROACH PLAN FOR HUMANE HANDLING AND SLAUGHTER
This notice provides instructions to FSIS Public Health Veterinarians (PHVs), inspection program personnel (IPP) and District Veterinary Medical Specialists (DVMSs) about assessing and informing official livestock establishments whether their written systematic approach for humane handling and slaughter meets the criteria for being a robust plan or not. This notice also indicates the expected frequency for PHV and DVMS verification reviews of an existing robust systematic approach to humane handling and slaughter.
In 2004, FSIS recommended that establishments develop and implement a systematic approach for humanely handling and slaughtering livestock by effectively addressing the four aspects of a systematic approach; those are: assessment, design, evaluation and response.
The industry was told that if we developed and implemented a robust systematic approach then this would be taken into consideration along with other factors when deciding whether to issue a Notice of Suspension (NOS) or Notice of Intended Enforcement (NOIE) action. Experience tells me that this has not been the case. The over enforcement and inconsistency of enforcement of humane handling and slaughter regulations over the last few years has been an ongoing issue for processors. This issue will be at the forefront of AAMP’s efforts in Washington in 2017 once the dust settles on the transition of a new administration. The enforcement of humane handling has been all over the spectrum, and not just between districts, but also within districts. It appears that there are different sets of rules depending on where you are in the country. One district may receive an NOIE and under the same set of circumstances may receive a Notice of Suspension in another district.
If having a robust humane handling program is recommended and not a requirement, and there does not appear to be any difference in the level of enforcement between those who have and those who don’t, why would you open yourself up to the increased scrutiny of this notice? Here is what will be required of you if you choose to have a robust plan. When the establishment management wants to implement an animal-handling program it believes to be a robust systematic approach, it is to request an FSIS review. Once an establishment has a program in place, the associated plan, corrective actions and records produced will be subject to monthly verification reviews by PHVs. DVMSs are to evaluate establishments’ robust systematic approach plans during their Humane Handling Verification visits, which are performed every 12-18 months.
AAMP and its members are fully supportive of humane handling and slaughter regulations. We support having a robust plan in place to make sure we are paying attention to the details and handling animals in our facilities correctly. My opposition to it is that FSIS should get their own house in order and have a clear set of rules and a decision tree in place so that inspectors and DVM’s are responding to incidents in the same way. If a plant has a plan in place and there is a mis-stun and they follow their plan with a follow up stun, then there should be no action taken by FSIS. FSIS cannot continue to enforce from a zero tolerance point of view; that is not reality and they know that, which is why they are requiring a robust plan.
I trust all of our members will continue to do the right thing and handle the animals in their facilities to the best of their ability to ensure a safe, humane kill. A formal response will be sent to Washington explaining AAMP’s position on this and it will be followed by a visit.

Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture Quarles Named Keynote Speaker for AAMP Convention

Quarles-Bio

Ryan F. Quarles has been selected as the keynote speaker for the 2017 AAMP Convention in Lexington, Kentucky, July 20-22. 

Ryan grew up on his family’s farm in Scott County, coming from a family that has lived in central Kentucky for over 200 years. Ryan completed three undergraduate majors and two graduate degrees in just four years at the University of Kentucky, graduating in 2006.

In 2008, Harvard University awarded Ryan a full scholarship with the Zuckerman Fellows Program, which enabled him to continue his studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Kennedy School of Government, and Harvard Law School.

In 2009, he graduated from Harvard with a Master’s degree in higher education before moving back to Kentucky to finish his last year of law school. Ryan was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly in 2010, representing Scott, Owen, and Fayette counties.

Ryan served as vice-chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and served on the Agriculture and Small Business Committee, the Tobacco Master Settlement Oversight Committee, and the Banking and Insurance Committee.

In 2015, Ryan was elected Kentucky’s Commissioner of Agriculture. At 33, Commissioner Quarles is currently the youngest statewide elected official in the United States.