The U.S. Cattlemen's Association petitioned the USDA to establish label requirements for laboratory-grown meat and alternative proteins, said the weekly Tri-State Livestock News, of Belle Fourche, S.D. "We look forward to working with the agency to rectify the misleading labeling of 'beef' products that are made with plant or insect protein or grown in a Petri dish," said USCA president Kenny Graner.
The Government Accountability Office urged federal regulators, in the words of Harvest Public Media, "to better protect meatpacking workers, who are often exposed to dangerous chemicals, not allowed bathroom breaks and refused medical treatment." The GAO report said workers sometimes decide not to report problems for fear of retaliation, making it harder for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to get a clear picture of conditions.
Maple Leaf Foods, Canada's largest distributor of packaged meats, says it will buy Field Roast Grain Meat Co. in an expansion of its role in the North American market for alternative proteins. Based in Seattle, Field Roast produces grain-based "meat" and vegan cheese products, such as plant-based roasts, sausages, burgers and sliced cheese. It also makes a frozen vegan mac-and-cheese.
The USDA’s acting chief scientist, Chavonda Jacobs-Young, has publicly criticized the World Health Organization’s updated recommendations for curbing antibiotic use on farms, citing poor science.
Memphis Meats, a San Francisco Bay–area company that is developing technology to grow meat from self-reproducing cells, raised $17 million in funding from investors that included Cargill, one of the largest U.S. meatpackers. “Cargill’s investment is the first by a traditional meat company in to the ‘clean meat’ sector,” said Drovers CattleNetwork.
The world's largest meat company, JBS, entwined in a corruption scandal in its home country of Brazil, hired as its global food security Al Almanza, who just retired as head of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The Organization for Competitive Markets, which focuses on agricultural antitrust issues, called the hiring "the latest of the scandalous job swapping between government and the meat industry."
The United States needs a comprehensive approach to red meat and poultry safety that begins at the farm levels, says a report released today by Pew Charitable Trusts. Titled, "Food safety from farm to fork," the report says on-the-farm "interventions," such as using vaccines and other treatments, "can significantly reduce the risk" of harmful bacteria.
Activism around the contentious issue of giving antibiotics to meat animals is moving from the farm to the plate by putting pressure on restaurant chains. Last week, a coalition of 30 consumer and environmental groups pressed the cult California burger chain In-N-Out to change its antibiotics-related buying policy. At the same time, a shareholder group pushed McDonald’s to increase its antibiotic-free buying — and while the measure did not pass, 30 percent of shareholders voted for it.
JBS chairman Joesley Batista and chief executive Wesley Batista resigned from senior posts "in a corruption scandal that threatens to topple Brazil's president Michel Temer," said Reuters. The brothers, who own the world's largest meat producer, which has operations in the United States, admitted to paying $150 million, mostly in bribes, to nearly 2,000 politicians in Brazil, including its past three presidents, said the Wall Street Journal.
Brazil's environmental regulator says that meatpacking giant JBS "for years knowingly bought cattle that were raised on illegally deforested land," says Reuters. JBS denied the allegation, which comes at the same time the Brazilian meat industry is reeling from a meat-inspection scandal.