When you shop for turkey burgers for dinner tonight, you may be buying more than meat.
Find yourself befuddled at the butcher counter by terms like "top loin chop" and "pork rump"? A new consumer-friendly universal meat labeling system is about to help cut through the confusion.
Two of the country's largest meat councils, the National Pork Board and the Beef Checkoff Program, have unanimously agreed to implement a more uniform and descriptive labeling system for commercially-sold cuts. The revised Uniform Retail Meat Identification Standards or URMIS was developed in conjunction with the with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service and Food Safety Inspection Service, and introduces a new common name standard designed to help consumers make more informed shopping decisions.
The system, which will apply to 350 cuts of beef and pork (with lamb and veal to join later) introduces a label that includes:
Is the United States closer to allowing horse meat production? On Friday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed the Oklahoma Meat Inspection Act, ending the prohibition on horse meat processing for export in Oklahoma. House Bill 1999, sponsored by state legislators Rep. Skye McNeil and Sen. Eddie Fields, passed 82-14 in the House and 32-14 in the Senate.
While the sale of horse meat for human consumption would still be off the table in Oklahoma, on November 1, 2013, the state will join the 46 others that allow equine slaughter. However, no states have processed horse meat since federal action in 2007, and bills pending in Congress would prohibit horse slaughter.
Advocates for the Oklahoma legislation said it's in the best interest of animals that would otherwise be abused, neglected, starved or sent to Canada and Mexico to meet a painful end in an unregulated plant.
Dying to try lion? If you live in Illinois, you'd better get your fix quickly before proposed legislation would make the "mane" course a Class A misdemeanor.
Illinois State Representative Luis Arroyo proposed HB 2991 to the state's General Assembly last month. If the Lion Meat Act passes, Illinois will become the first U.S. state to forbid lion slaughter, or for any person to possess, breed, import, export, buy or sell lions for the purpose of slaughter - making it illegal to serve or sell lion meat at restaurant, hotel or other commercial establishment. Offenders would face a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 if convicted.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, lions are not currently protected as an endangered cat in the U.S., and there are no laws prohibiting its sale. It also falls outside the USDA's inspection parameters and under those of the Food and Drug Administration, which categorizes lion as a "game meat."
Still, the king of the jungle doesn't exactly abound on American menus, so why is Arroyo mounting an attack?
Food recalls are coming in fast and furious and it's often hard to keep track. In this series of recall round-ups we share the most up-to-date information on the foods you should be scrutinizing right now.
Editor's note: Roly Owers is chief executive of World Horse Welfare and a qualified veterinarian with a lifetime of involvement with horses. He is active in working with governments, sport regulators, veterinary bodies and non-profit organizations to improve horse welfare worldwide.
A welcome spotlight is now being shone on the murky trade in European horsemeat, but the public are still being left in the dark about the brutal treatment and needless suffering of the horses destined for their plates.
Every year around 65,000 horses are crammed into trucks and transported across Europe to the slaughterhouse for what can be days on end in hellish conditions.