Stealing meat, bartering with bacon: It’s a NZ thing too

Following word of growing meat thefts in Melbourne, reports nearly $10,000 worth of meat was stolen from grocery and specialty food stores in Auckland in April with tactics ranging from lamb legs stuffed down trousers to coordinated gang thefts with getaway vehicles. 

1280423493-stealing_meatStatistics from crime prevention company Auror showed meat was the most stolen grocery item of the stores they monitored with at least 20 thefts of more than $200 worth of meat. 

Auror chief executive Phil Thomson said the company had become aware meat was being stolen in large quantities then sold online through social media.

“We’ve even seen reports where items like bacon have been used as currency by criminals to barter.”

In an attempted theft on April 15 a particularly persistent offender tried to nab $300 worth of lamb legs, chicken kebabs and other assorted meats over the course of three visits to an Auckland grocery store – all in one day. 

Auror’s incident report said the first time the man entered the store, he picked up two legs of lamb before heading to the next aisle and attempted to stuff them down his trousers.

When both lamb legs fell out of his trouser legs he ditched one on the ground, and continued on his way through the supermarket whilst executing a second attempt to hide the second lamb leg down his pants.

“The duty manager saw the lamb on the floor, picked it it up and saw the offender, and approached him as she saw the other leg of lamb still attempting to be put down trousers,” the report read.

The offender left without complaint, but apparently wasn’t deterred. 

stealing.meatHe returned twice the very same day. The second time he attempted to steal chicken kebabs with a side of batteries and the third time, expanding his horizons, with a basket filled with assorted meats. 

In a separate incident on April 26 two woman attempted to ram their way out of a central Auckland supermarket with a full trolley of meat worth $840. 

A Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) spokesman said MPI anyone selling meat to the public needed to be registered for sale.

“Consumers buying from an unregistered or black market source have no guarantee that correct food safety measures have been taken with storing or handling the product.”

Guidance on study design for drugs to reduce STEC in cattle

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published guidance on study design and criteria that the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) thinks are the most appropriate for the evaluation of the effectiveness of new animal drugs that are intended to reduce pathogenic Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) in cattle.

cow-faceSection II discusses general considerations regarding the development of protocols, study conduct, animal welfare, substantial evidence of effectiveness, experimental parameters, nutritional content of experimental diets, and the assessment of drug concentrations in experimental diets. Section III discusses the studies and analyses CVM recommends for sponsors to substantiate the effectiveness of pathogenic STEC reduction drugs.

The guidance is not a comprehensive source of information on conducting clinical effectiveness studies. Alternative study designs for providing substantial evidence of effectiveness may be acceptable. Sponsors should contact CVM to discuss their development plan prior to initiating any studies. Sponsors and clinical investigators should consult the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR Parts 511 and 514) for information on the proper shipment, use, and disposition of investigational new animal drugs, as well as submission of the results of clinical investigations. This guidance does not address the evaluation of human food safety with respect to microbial food safety and/or concerns related to antimicrobial resistance. CVM encourages sponsors to discuss any related concerns in their project plan with CVM as early as possible in the development process.

FDA’s guidance documents, including this guidance, do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, guidances describe the Agency’s current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited. The use of the word should in Agency’s guidances means that something is suggested or recommended, but not required.

Racetrack drugs put Europe off U.S. horse meat

For decades, American horses, many of them retired or damaged racehorses, have been shipped to Canada and Mexico, where it is legal to slaughter horses, and then processed and sold for consumption in Europe and beyond.

But according to the N.Y. Times, European food safety officials have notified Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses of a growing concern: The meat of American racehorses may be too toxic to eat safely because the horses have been injected repeatedly with drugs.

Despite the fact that racehorses make up only a fraction of the trade in horse meat, the European officials have indicated that they may nonetheless require lifetime medication records for slaughter-bound horses from Canada and Mexico, and perhaps require them to be held on feedlots or some other holding area for six months before they are slaughtered.

In October, Stephan Giguere, the general manager of a major slaughterhouse in Quebec, said he turned away truckloads of horses coming from the United States because his clients were worried about potential drug issues. Mr. Giguere said he told his buyers to stay away from horses coming from American racetracks.

“We don’t want them,” he said. “It’s too risky.”

Some 138,000 horses were sent to Canada or Mexico in 2010 alone to be turned into meat for Europe and other parts of the world, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Organizations concerned about the welfare of retired racehorses have estimated that anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the population sent for slaughter may have performed on racetracks in the United States.

“Racehorses are walking pharmacies,” said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a veterinarian on the faculty of Tufts University and a co-author of a 2010 article that sought to raise concerns about the health risks posed by American racehorses. He said it was reckless to want any of the drugs routinely administered to horses “in your food chain.”

Horses being shipped to Mexico and Canada are by law required to have been free of certain drugs for six months before being slaughtered, and those involved in their shipping must have affidavits proving that. But European Commission officials say the affidavits are easily falsified. As a result, American racehorses often show up in Canada within weeks — sometimes days — of their leaving the racetrack and their steady diets of drugs.

In October, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Health and Consumers found serious problems while auditing the operations of equine slaughter facilities in Mexico, where 80 percent of the horses arrive from the United States. The commission’s report said Mexican officials were not allowed to question the “authenticity or reliability of the sworn statements” about the ostensibly drug-free horses, and thus had no way of verifying whether the horses were tainted by drugs.

“The systems in place for identification, the food-chain information and in particular the affidavits concerning the nontreatment for six months with certain medical substances, both for the horses imported from the U.S. as well as for the Mexican horses, are insufficient to guarantee that standards equivalent to those provided for by E.U. legislation are applied,” the report said.

Horse meat remains a delicacy in Paris and in other countries for an older generation of Europeans. Henri-Previen Chaussier, a butcher who sells exclusively horse meat in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris, said demand from individual customers was still strong, but he had only one restaurant on his client list, the Taxi Jaune in the First Arrondissement.