Entries in Meat (4)


Ethanol Waiver Sought Amid Drought

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Groups representing the livestock and poultry industry are petitioning the Obama administration to waive requirements for gasoline refineries to blend ethanol into their fuel production for one year.

The groups have asked the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the practice in order to curb the rising cost of grain as extreme drought conditions spike feed costs for Midwestern farmers. In a conference call with reporters, industry representatives said the price of meat will continue to rise for consumers unless the waiver is granted.

“We're worried about having enough corn, soybeans, and other crops at any price to feed our animals,” said Tom Super of the National Chicken Producers Council. “These aren't unfounded fears.”

Citing USDA statistics, Super says a poor corn yield this year could result in an increase to food prices of 4 percent for consumers. The drought has forced the price of turkey alone up 50 percent.

John Burkel of the National Turkey Federation suggested the holiday season could see a disproportionate effect.

“You will see a drop in production across all the meats and prices that just put the consumer in a position where they can't afford to buy meat anymore, or very little of it,” he said, adding, “At Thanksgiving they'll splurge, but they're not going to put the extra bird in the freezer.”

The petition comes little over a week since poultry groups lost a challenge to the mandate in federal court, the latest in the spat between some farming organizations and the ethanol industry. Opponents of the biofuel contend the federal mandate for its inclusion in gasoline is a form of non-competitive subsidy.

But not all agricultural groups are on board. On Friday the National Farmers’ Union, which represents both ranchers and produce growers, questioned the practicality of eliminating the mandate.

“NFU stands by the belief that concerns from the livestock sector and some members of Congress are unwarranted,” it said in a written statement, adding “eliminating the [Renewable Fuel Standard] would reduce corn prices less than five percent.”

The stat is referencing a study released by Iowa State University on the impact of the drought. On the call a meat industry spokesman said that seemingly small figure translated into roughly $1 billion in revenue for meat distributors.

Bob Dineen of the Renewable Fuels Association says while they understand the farmers’ plight, the only beneficiary to an ethanol suspension would be oil companies.

“Waiving the RFS won’t bring the type of relief the livestock groups are seeking, nor will it result in significantly lower feed prices,” Dineen maintains, “In fact, because ethanol plants also produce a high protein feed, limiting ethanol production will only further complicate drought related feed issues and costs.”

The NFU and other groups have called for the creation of a federally owned grain reserve, similar to the one in place for petroleum. When questioned on the subject, a livestock representative on the conference call said their organizations were focused on more “immediate relief.”

This week Congress expects to vote on a number of measures aimed at disaster relief for the drought, particularly for beef, pork, and poultry farms -- sectors that are not partially shielded by government subsidies.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Pink Slime’ Maker AFA Files For Bankruptcy

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- AFA Foods, a company that produces beef products, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday and announced it’s selling some assets because of a decrease in demand attributed to the recent media coverage of “pink slime.”

The company, based in King of Prussia, Pa., said it secured $56 million in financing to continue operating during the bankruptcy process.

AFA Foods, which according to Bloomberg employs about 850 full-time employees, said in the bankruptcy filing that the media’s reporting on “pink slime” has created “changes in the market.”

Beef Products Inc., one of AFA’s competitors, has also experienced a dramatic decline in sales and closed three of its four plants last week.

Until recently, the lean finely textured beef, known to critics as “pink slime,” was added to America’s fast food chains, school lunches and 70 percent of all ground beef sold at grocery stores.

Due to consumer complaints following recent media reports several fast-food chains and many of the nation’s largest grocery chains have stopped purchasing beef that contains the filler. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also announced that schools that are part of the government’s lunch program will be able to choose whether they purchase lean finely textured beef.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Where's the Beef? Taco Bell Launches Campaign to Counter Critics

Photo Courtesy - Joe Raedle/Getty Images(IRVINE, Calif.) -- Taco Bell is fighting back against critics who say the company's beef product is less than normal.

A new, multimillion dollar advertising campaign features representatives from the company explaining that the seasoned ground beef -- used in Taco Bell's tacos and burritos, among other products -- is "88 percent premium ground beef" and "12 percent signature recipe."

A lawsuit filed Jan. 19 in California claims Taco Bell's beef filling is 65 percent binders, extenders, preservatives, additives, and other ingredients, and wants the company to stop calling it "beef."

Taco Bell president Greg Creed responded to the claim, calling the class-action lawsuit "bogus and filled with completely inaccurate facts."

"There is no basis in fact or reality for this suit, and we will vigorously defend the quality of our products from frivolous and misleading claims such as this," Creed said in a statement on the company's website.

The company has listed what it says is a full list of ingredients on its website.

Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Taco Bell Combats Meat Lawsuit With Full-Page Rebuttal

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thank you for suing us. That's the headline on full-page ads from Taco Bell in newspapers across the country Friday.

“I think when someone sullies your reputation you have to be swift and you have to be decisive,” Taco Bell President Greg Creed told ABC News. “We think our reputation has been sullied and we wanted to put out a headline that certainly drew attention and enables us to tell the story about our beef,” which Creed says is “88 percent USDA inspected, and not the 35 percent that’s being claimed.”

Taco Bell is retaining outside council, Creed said, and they will take whatever legal action is available.

“I think attacking our brand is like attacking a person. It’s just unacceptable when there aren’t any facts to support it,” Creed said Friday on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Taco Bell claims they use 88 percent beef, three percent water, four percent seasoning and a five percent combination of other ingredients.  But the attorneys filing the lawsuit against the fast food chain told ABC News that the ingredients in the beef contain things “regular people do not use in recipes cooked at home.”

When asked why the taco chain's beef contains “isolated oat product,” Creed said “I’m not a food scientist. But what I can assure everybody is that every ingredient is in there for a purpose.”

“There are no fillers. There are no substitutes. There are no extenders. I can absolutely assure you of that,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio