meat

USDA aims to isolate, exhaust H5N1 virus in dairy herds

The USDA's strategy against bird flu in dairy cattle is to identify infected herds and wait for the virus to die out within the herds, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. "I'm confident we have a good understanding of the virus and how it is being transferred," he added.

USDA proposes base pay rule for poultry-grower contracts

Poultry processors would be barred from making deductions from the base prices that they list in contracts with growers under a rule proposed by the Agriculture Department on Monday. The USDA said the proposal aims to curb abuses of the so-called tournament system that determines a farmer's revenue and processors' demands for growers to make additional investments in their facilities.

H5N1 virus particles found in meat from dairy cow

Meat from a dairy cow sent to slaughter contained particles of the H5N1 avian influenza virus — the first such finding since the virus jumped to cattle from birds a few months ago, said the Agriculture Department. The USDA also confirmed infections in five additional herds — three in South Dakota and two in Colorado — raising the U.S. total to 63 herds in nine states.

USDA is testing ground beef for bird flu virus

Agriculture Department scientists are conducting three beef safety studies following the first-ever discovery of bird flu in dairy cows a month ago, said a USDA spokesperson on Monday. The studies include tests of ground beef purchased at grocery stores in states with infected herds.

USDA restricts use of ‘Product of USA’ label to U.S.-grown meat, poultry, and eggs

Under a new rule, food processors will be able to put "Product of USA" on packages of meat, poultry, and egg products only if the animals were born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the United States, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. Until now, the labels could be pasted on foreign meat that was processed in America.

USDA issues fair play rule on livestock marketing, part of White House competition drive

Farmers will have stronger protections against deceptive contracts and retaliatory tactics from meat processors under a new USDA rule on market integrity, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The new rule, which takes effect on May 6, is part of a USDA initiative for transparency and fair play in livestock marketing.

Senate resolution would block import of Paraguayan beef

Two senators from the Plains filed a resolution on Monday to overturn USDA approval of imports of chilled or frozen deboned beef from Paraguay. Sens. Jon Tester, Montana Democrat, and Mike Rounds, South Dakota Republican, said they were worried about the possible transmission of foot and mouth disease.

Fewer cattle and lower U.S. beef production in the near term

Despite market prices that could reach record highs, the cattle industry is unlikely to expand herd numbers for the next year or two, said analysts, pointing to high feed costs, lingering drought, and a limited labor supply. As a result, Americans are forecast to consume nearly 3 percent less beef per person this year than in 2023.

USDA has spent $1 billion fighting bird flu

Since bird flu outbreaks began nearly two years ago, the USDA has spent slightly more than $1 billion to compensate farmers for lost flocks and to suppress the spread of the viral disease, said a spokesperson for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service on Monday. The largest outlay was $715 million to producers, growers, and integrators in indemnities for depopulated birds and eggs.

With new year, animal welfare standards take effect in California and the United States

Six years after voters approved it in a landslide, California's Proposition 12 animal welfare law, which requires farmers to provide more room for egg-laying hens, veal calves, and breeding sows, is fully in effect with the start of 2024. A USDA regulation setting welfare standards for livestock on organic farms will take effect on Jan. 12, creating a rare convergence of starting dates for significant livestock regulations.

With new outbreaks, bird flu toll nears 59 million fowls

Ending a five-month hiatus, highly pathogenic avian influenza was confirmed in commercial flocks in two states — turkey farms in Utah and South Dakota — said the Agriculture Department. Some 58.97 million birds, mostly egg-laying chickens and turkeys being raised for human consumption, have died in bird flu outbreaks that began in February 2022.

Vocal opponents aim to defeat EATS Act

The campaign by farm-state lawmakers for a federal override of California's Proposition 12 animal welfare law, derided as a "bacon ban," has run into back-home opposition. Activist farm groups say the override, known as the EATS Act, imperils small farmers and must be kept out of the farm bill.

Tipping point for plant-based proteins, says CoBank

Sales of plant-based alternatives to red meat, poultry, and seafood are down 20 percent from their peak in 2020 and the industry "faces something of a tipping point," said a report by agricultural lender CoBank on Monday. "Consumers remain interested in the concept of plant-based meats, but concerns about highly processed products and higher prices have put off many prospective regular consumers," wrote CoBank senior economist Billy Roberts.

Vilsack urges Brazil ‘in the strongest terms’ to speed up mad-cow testing

In stern terms, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told his Brazilian counterpart that beef trade between the nations hinges on prompt reporting of cattle diseases, especially mad cow disease. Earlier this year, Brazil reported two cases of atypical mad cow disease two months after they occurred, while most nations report the findings within days.

New Jersey law bans sow crates and veal-calf stalls

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law legislation banning sow crates and veal-calf stalls that severely restrict the movements of the animals in New Jersey, saying it would ensure humane farming practices. New Jersey is the 15th state to ban sow crates, veal stalls, or "battery" cages for egg-laying hens, said the Humane Society of the United States, which fought for the legislation for years.

Massachusetts animal welfare law is delayed again

With a lawsuit still unresolved, Massachusetts officials agreed in court to wait until Aug. 23 to enforce a state law that requires farmers to provide enough room for veal calves, breeding sows, and egg-laying hens to stand up, lie down, turn around or fully extend their limbs.

Summer cookout costs ease a bit

Chicken breasts and pork chops cost less at the supermarket than a year ago, and that will slightly bring down the price of a summer cookout, said the largest U.S. farm group on Tuesday. Still, the price tag for the groceries needed to feed 10 people lemonade, ice cream, burgers, potato salad, and other cookout fare would be the second-highest in the 11 years of the unofficial survey conducted ahead of Independence Day.

End of OTC sale of medically important antibiotics for use in livestock

Beginning this week, livestock owners will need a prescription from a veterinarian before they can buy medically important antibiotics for use on their animals, announced the Food and Drug Administration on Monday. The new restriction is part of a multiyear campaign to preserve the efficacy of the antimicrobials in treating disease in humans.

USDA suggests tighter rules for ‘Product of USA’ label on meat

Closing a loophole, the Agriculture Department proposed on Monday to allow packages to carry the "Made in the USA" or "Product of USA" label only if the meat, poultry and eggs in them were born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States. Consumer and activist farm groups applauded the proposal while the meat industry said it may violate trade rules.

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