Tag Archives: USDA

WASHINGTON– Jennie-O Turkey Store Sales, LLC, a Barron, Wis. establishment, is recalling approximately 91,388 pounds of raw ground turkey products that may be associated with an illness outbreak of Salmonella Reading, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The raw ground turkey products items were produced on September 11, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]

  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 93% LEAN | 7% FAT” with “Use by” dates of 10/01/2018 and 10/02/2018.
  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O TACO SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O GROUND TURKEY 85% LEAN | 15% FAT” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.
  • 1-lb. packages of “Jennie-O ITALIAN SEASONED GROUND TURKEY” with a “Use by” date of 10/02/2018.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-190” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide.

FSIS, and its public health partners, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arizona Department of Health Services, have been conducting traceback activities for a sample of Jennie-O brand ground turkey in an intact, unopened package from a case-patient’s home. The patient tested positive for Salmonella Reading and the sample from the ground turkey matches the outbreak strain.

FSIS, the CDC, and state public health and agriculture partners, have been working together on an illness cluster involving 164 case-patients in 35 states. Patients have reported eating different types and brands of turkey products purchased from many different stores, handling raw turkey pet food and/or raw turkey, or working with live turkeys or living with someone who handled live turkeys. FSIS continues to work with the CDC and state health departments on this investigation and will provide updated information as it becomes available. Based on the continuing investigation, additional product from other companies may also be recalled.

Consumption of food contaminated with Salmonella can cause salmonellosis, one of the most common bacterial foodborne illnesses. The most common symptoms of salmonellosis are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating the contaminated product. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. Most people recover without treatment. In some persons, however, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Older adults, infants, and persons with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop a severe illness. Individuals concerned about an illness should contact their health care provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution lists will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

FSIS advises all consumers to safely prepare their raw meat products, including fresh and frozen, and only consume raw poultry product that has been cooked to a temperature of 165°F. Safe steps in food handling, cooking, and storage are essential in preventing foodborne illness. You can’t see, smell, or taste harmful bacteria that may cause illness. In every step of food preparation, follow the four guidelines to keep food safe:

  • Clean—Wash hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate—Separate raw meat from other foods.
  • Cook—Cook to the right temperature.
  • Chill—Refrigerate food promptly.

Consumers with questions regarding the recall can contact Jennie-O Consumer Engagement Team at 1-800-621-3505, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Central Time Monday – Friday and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Central Time Saturday and Sunday. Media with questions can contact media@hormel.com or 507-434-6352.

Consumers with food safety questions can “Ask Karen,” the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

The Food and Drug Administration’s investigation into a deadly E-Coli outbreak involving romaine lettuce raised in Yuma, Arizona, found no specific reason for the outbreak. However, the FDA did conclude that it’s likely from contaminated water from an irrigation canal that passes near a cattle operation.

The FDA issued documentation on the investigation, as well as notified the leafy greens industry that it will start a romaine lettuce survey program very soon. The Packer Dot Com says the agency will analyze samples from all major growing areas, and if a pathogen is found, the FDA will follow the supply chain back to the source and see if unsanitary conditions were the cause. A letter to stakeholders also says the agency will explore all regulatory options and consider appropriate enforcement actions against firms and farms that produce and pack fresh lettuce and other leafy greens under less-than-sanitary conditions.

The letter was addressed to stakeholders and agriculture departments based in California and Arizona, the two states that produce the largest amount of leafy greens in the country. The letter was also copied to the FDA website for other industry stakeholders as well. One of the things that made the investigation more difficult was that multiple records were either on paper or handwritten. FDA says one of the new requirements will be updated methods of record keeping, in order to make investigations like this easier to complete.

The Hagstrom Report says California Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala  Harris are asking Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to give extra compensation to farmers who’ve been hurt by trade disputes.

The legislators are citing a USDA study that estimates 2018 farm income will drop by $9.8 billion from 2017 income levels. The senators wrote a letter to the Secretary, saying that, “California relies on export markets for many agricultural goods, including many specialty crops that are grown almost exclusively in our state. These same goods now face steep tariffs, and farmers are experiencing severe losses.”

They say USDA assistance to farmers doesn’t make up for the drastic losses farmers face due to retaliatory tariffs imposed by some of America’s most important trading partners, including China, Mexico, Canada, and the European Union. As a more specific example, they also cite a University of California-Davis study that says the total losses for pistachio farmers due to trade actions will total $384 million. However, USDA has only announced $85.2 million in pistachio purchases as part of their trade assistance program to help farmers.

 In an effort to slow the spread of the emerald ash borer (EAB), the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), is adding three more counties to an existing quarantine on ash tree products. Otoe, Lancaster and Saunders join the counties of Douglas, Sarpy, Cass, Washington and Dodge, for a total of eight Nebraska counties regulated under the Nebraska EAB Quarantine. The revisions to the quarantine went into effect Nov. 1.

“While we can’t completely eliminate EAB, quarantines can help slow the spread of this destructive insect into non-infested areas,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “That gives homeowners and municipalities across the state additional time to consider their options and make decisions about the future of their ash trees.”

The additional quarantines come after EAB was discovered in a tree in Lincoln and after a tree exhibiting signs and symptoms of EAB was discovered in Fremont in August.  EAB is an invasive metallic-green beetle that attacks ash trees by disrupting the flow of water and nutrients causing the tree to die.  The insect was first discovered in Nebraska in June, 2016.

The quarantine order prohibits distribution of ash nursery stock from within or out of the quarantine area, and regulates the movement of hardwood firewood and mulch, ash timber products and green waste material out of quarantined areas. NDA staff, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, work with the public and impacted industries to ensure compliance of the quarantines.

Each summer, NDA and USDA staff set and monitor EAB traps across the state to look for additional infestations. They also monitor and inspect trees, nursery stock and firewood checking for EAB.

The Nebraska EAB Working Group, which includes NDA, USDA, Nebraska Game and Parks, and the Nebraska Forest Service encourage the use of locally-sourced firewood.  EAB can easily travel in firewood, so burning it in the same county where it is purchased or purchasing heat-treated firewood is recommended.

If you feel you have located an EAB infestation, please report it to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at (402) 471-2351, the Nebraska Forest Service at (402) 472-2944, or your local USDA office at (402) 434-2345.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement regarding the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to extend the registration of dicamba for two years. The extension is for “over-the-top” use to control weeds in fields for cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist dicamba.

Perdue’s statement is as follows:
“It is important that the EPA has decided to renew the registration of over-the-top use of this important weed control technology on dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans, because it presents farmers with options. This represents the conclusion of a very thorough scientific review, in conjunction with stakeholders, involving site visits and careful consideration of facts. Producers who use this weed control method should review the label, understand why changes have been made, and ensure that all requirements of the label are met when the 2019 use season begins.”

The nation’s soybean harvest picked up speed last week, while the percentage of corn harvested ended the week equal to the five-year average, USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service said in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

As of Sunday, Oct. 28, 72% of the nation’s soybeans were harvested, up 19 percentage points from the previous week but still 9 percentage points behind the five-year average of 81%. That was an improvement from the previous week when harvest lagged the average pace by 16 points.

“Judging by the slower pace of harvest, several states appear to have troubled areas, including Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin and the Dakotas,” said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman. “Soybean crop quality remains a concern in late 2018.”

Corn harvest ended the week at 63% complete, up 14 percentage points from the previous week but equal to the five-year average of 63%. That compares to the previous week when harvest was 2 percentage points ahead of normal.

“Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri and Ohio are above their five-year average paces,” Hultman said. “Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas are below their five-year paces with Iowa corn 49% harvested.”

NASS is no longer reporting condition ratings for corn and soybeans for the 2018 growing season.

Meanwhile, winter wheat planting was 78% complete as of Sunday, behind 83% last year at the same time and also behind the five-year average of 85%. Winter wheat emerged, at 63%, was equal to last year’s pace but behind the average pace of 67%.

“Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas remain below their usual planting paces at 76%, 78% and 67% planted, respectively,” Hultman said. “Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota are all in the mid-90s, nearly finished.”

NASS reported winter wheat condition for the 2019 crop for the first time on Monday, estimating 53% of wheat nationwide in good-to-excellent condition. That’s 1 percentage point above last year’s rating at the same time of 52% good to excellent.

Fifty-three percent of the sorghum crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind 57% last year and 13 percentage points behind the five-year average of 66%.

Ninety-six percent of rice was harvested as of Sunday, behind last year’s 99% and also behind the five-year average of 98%.

Ninety-one percent of cotton had bolls opening as of Sunday, behind the average of 94%. Forty-four percent of cotton was harvested, near last year’s 45% and also near of the average pace of 43%.

Cotton condition improved slightly from 34% good to excellent the previous week to 35% last week.

To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov/…. Look for the U.S. map in the “Find Data and Reports by” section and choose the state you wish to view in the drop-down menu. Then look for that state’s “Crop Progress & Condition” report.

National Crop Progress Summary
This Last Last 5-Year
Week Week Year Avg.
Corn Harvested 63 49 52 63
Soybeans Harvested 72 53 81 81
Winter Wheat Planted 78 72 83 85
Winter Wheat Emerged 63 53 63 67
Cotton Bolls Opening 91 88 92 94
Cotton Harvested 44 39 45 43
Sorghum Mature 94 89 95 95
Sorghum Harvested 53 46 57 66
Rice Harvested 96 90 99 98


National Crop Condition Summary
(VP=Very Poor; P=Poor; F=Fair; G=Good; E=Excellent)
This Week Last Week Last Year
Cotton 18 16 31 27 8 13 20 33 26 8 5 10 30 41 14
Winter Wheat 3 11 33 45 8 NA NA NA NA NA 4 8 36 43 9

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will award additional priority points to Solid Waste Management Grant Program applications proposing innovative projects to promote the safe disposal of prescription drugs in rural communities. Hazlett made the announcement in observance of the 16th annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

“Under the leadership of President Trump, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to local leaders in combatting the opioid epidemic in rural America,” Hazlett said. “Helping rural families with local options to dispose of unused medications is an important first step in building healthy rural communities.”

USDA Solid Waste Management Grants support the planning and management of solid waste sites. Rural communities, non-profit organizations, federally recognized tribes and academic institutions can apply.

The application deadline for the Solid Waste Management Grant Program is Dec. 31, 2018. Applications can be submitted electronically at Grants.gov or in hard copy to: USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Programs, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 5168, STOP 1522, Washington, DC 20250-1597.

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.

The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that nearly 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017. More than half of those deaths involved opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin.

In May 2018, the White House Office of National Drug Control policy (ONDCP) stood up the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group to help address the opioid crisis by improving coordination and reducing potential overlap among federal agencies responding to the crisis in the Nation’s rural communities.

The Working Group is co-chaired by ONDCP and USDA. The departments and agencies represented on the Rural Opioid Federal Interagency Working Group include the departments of Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing, Justice, Labor, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs; the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

The Trump Administration has no plans in place for 2019 to give any more aid to farmers hurt by tariffs. Bloomberg says that’s based on assumptions that markets will recover even if the trade war with China keeps going. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue made that announcement last week. Back in July, the administration announced it would deliver $12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by the tit-for-tat tariff war with China.

Last month, farmers were able to apply for the first round of aid that totaled $4.7 billion. Perdue didn’t disclose when a second round of aid would be distributed. Perdue says, “The trade war impacted farmers after they made planting decisions for 2018. The market will equilibrate over a period of time.” He told farmers at a stop in Illinois last week that there is not an expected or anticipated market facilitation program for 2019. Perdue didn’t offer any guesses as to how much longer the trade war with China would continue, saying only that “the onus is on China.”

Grassley: No Trade Aid for Smithfield Foods
When it comes to just who is eligible for trade aid, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said Smithfield Foods shouldn’t be one of the companies which are eligible help. Smithfield is owned by Chinese conglomerate WH Group. Grassley took to Twitter and says, “Smithfield seems to be in a ‘can’t-lose’ situation thanks to American taxpayers.” A spokesman for the Iowa Republican, who’s also a member of the Senate Ag Committee, says Grassley is looking into the matter.

Early last week, the Washington Post reported that Smithfield does qualify for trade aid assistance. The Post says the idea of a bailout program helping out Smithfield has angered small hog producers across the country. The Post report says the situation shows how difficult it is to craft relief programs and keep the payments exclusively in the hands of domestic companies. Companies that have long international reach make it difficult to ensure U.S. dollars stay in U.S. hands, regardless of their intended target. In an email, a USDA spokesman says the agency doesn’t have the ability to make sure relief money doesn’t eventually filter into Chinese hands.



The National Milk Producers Federation this week asked the Department of Agriculture to better support dairy farmers who are experiencing losses stemming from the Trump trade agenda.

The Federation says in a letter to USDA that the agency needs to better reflect the dairy-farm incomes lost to tariff retaliation when it calculates its next round of trade mitigation payments. NMPF Chairman and dairy farmer Randy Mooney cited four studies illustrating that milk producers have experienced more than $1 billion in lost income since May, when the retaliatory tariffs were first placed on dairy goods in response to U.S. levies on foreign products.

In contrast, the first round of USDA trade mitigation payments, announced in August, allocated only $127 million to dairy farmers. The expected impact of the retaliation may result in roughly $1.5 billion in lost revenue for producers during the second half of 2018.

The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration is inching towards a joint regulatory approach for cell-cultured, or so-called lab-grown meats.

Agri-Pulse reports Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb “drew no lines in the sand” throughout a two-day meeting on the subject. Gottlieb told reports that FDA and USDA have worked together in the past, adding “I think this is going to be another one of those cases.” Memphis Meats, a company producing lab-grown meats, along with the North American Meat Institute, filed a joint letter as the first to suggest a joint regulation between USDA and FDA.

The letter suggested that FDA handle pre-market safety approval, and then oversight can be shifted to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. There is no timeline reported for the regulation, but Perdue said if it can be done in 2019, “that would be probably pretty fast for federal purposes.”