Waco-Based H&B Packing Co. Recalls Boneless Beef Products … – CBS DFW

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WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Sunday that Waco-based H&B Packing Co., Inc. is recalling approximately 73,742 pounds of boneless beef products due to a possible E. coli contamination.

The FSIS said the boneless beef products were produced on March 6, 2017.

The products subject to recall are a 60-pound box containing boneless beef with case code 69029 and production date March 6, 2017 and multiple combo bins containing about 73,682 pounds of boneless beef with case code 69029 and production date March 6, 2017.

The recalled products also have the establishment number “EST. M13054” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The beef products were shipped to food manufacturers in Texas.

There have been no confirmed reports of illnesses due to the products.

The FSIS and H&B Packing Co., Inc. are urging customers to throw away or return any product that’s subject to the recall.

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Beef and Potato – Philly.com

Makes 4 servings

11/3 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled

2 medium onions

11/2 tablespoons vegetable oil or other neutrally flavored oil

14 ounces boneless rib eye steak, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Scant 1 cup dashi (See note)

4 tablespoons sake

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon mirin

4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 scant cup water

Peppercress or watercress, for garnish

1. Cut the potatoes into bite-size chunks, then rinse in water and drain. Cut the onions in half from top to bottom, then into 1/3-inch-thick slices.

2. Place a cold, damp cloth near the stove top. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil sizzles, remove the pan from the heat and place it on the damp cloth. Add the meat once the oil stops sizzling; this will help keep the meat from sticking to the pan.

3. Return the pan to the stove over medium heat; cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the beef turns lighter brown. Add the potatoes and onions; cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan continuously, until they begin to soften.

4. Stir in the dashi, sake, sugar, mirin, soy sauce, and water; increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for about 5 minutes, skimming off scum that rises to the top.

5. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Place a lid slightly smaller than your pot – so it can fit inside it – on top of the ingredients, to cover. (Alternatively, you can make a circle with vent holes in the middle with aluminum foil or parchment paper.) Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, then remove the lid, increase the heat to medium, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the liquid has reduced slightly.

6. Remove from the heat. Divide among individual bowls, garnish with the peppercress or other greens, and serve right away.

– Adapted from Cook Japanese at Home: From Dashi to Tonkatsu, 200 Simple Recipes for Every Occasion (Kyle Books, 2016)

Note: To make dashi, combine 1/2 teaspoon Ajinomoto brand HonDashi and 1 cup boiling water, stirring until the powder has dissolved.

Per serving: 410 calories, 25 g protein, 45 g carbohydrates, 13 g sugar, 13 g fat, 65 mg cholesterol, 510 mg sodium, no dietary fiber, 13 g sugar

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Trump Administration Seeks to Loosen Hiring Requirements to Beef … – Foreign Policy (blog)

Trump Administration Seeks to Loosen Hiring Requirements to Beef Up Border Patrol

The Trump administration is seeking to loosen some security requirements for hiring Border Patrol agents in order to meet a dramatic surge in immigration enforcement, according to internal memos obtained by Foreign Policy and analyzed by five current and former officials in the Department of Homeland Security.

Customs and Border Protection, part of DHS, is seeking approval to relax some stringent standards that have made it difficult for the agency to meet recruitment targets in recent years. That includes a request to potentially loosen congressionally-mandated requirements such as a polygraph, as well as an entrance exam and background check.

According to the five-page, Feb. 17 memo from CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, changes to hiring standards are urgently needed if the agency is to expand as now planned from 19,627 Border Patrol agents to about 26,370. One former DHS official said the current requirements, especially the lie-detector test, are “insanely cumbersome,” and a big reason the agency has trouble recruiting compared with other law-enforcement agencies and even other immigration bodies within DHS, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“We do face headwinds,” McAleenan allowed, in an interview with Foreign Policy on Saturday. While declining to discuss internal planning documents, he emphasized, “Secretary Kelly has made it absolutely clear we are not going to lower standards to speed up our hiring.”

The memo estimates that even with the measures to accelerate hiring, it will take five years and cost about $2.2 billion to help fill out CBP’s ranks to meet President Trump’s quota.

“The taxpayer demonstrated in the November election very clearly that border security is a very important issue for them,” McAleenan told FP. “The investments are justified to protect our communities.”

But some former officials said the plan, despite bland bureaucratic language, clearly suggests loosening requirements in order to ramp up hiring.

“Most of the measures are worded in terms that look neutral on their face,” Stephen Legomsky, former senior counsel to the Secretary of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under President Barack Obama, told FP after reviewing the memos.

“But because all of that is prefaced with how they need to make changes for the express purpose of enhancing their hiring ability, then obviously these things are meant to loosen those standards, not to tighten them,” he said.

And some current and former DHS officials and outside experts are concerned that lowering standards could allow the influx of less-qualified candidates who may be susceptible to corruption. CBP is uniquely targeted by drug-trafficking and other transnational organizations seeking out agents they can bribe — with money or sexual favors — to allow drugs, undocumented immigrants, or other contraband across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We actually lived through this,” said Jay Ahern, a deputy CBP commissioner under George W. Bush, when the agency doubled in size. When reviewing tens of thousands of applicants, he said, mistakes are inevitable.

“If you start lowering standards, the organization pays for it for the next decade, two, or three,” Ahern said. (He did not review the memos.)

McAleenan’s memo is part of CBP’s effort to figure out how to meet the Trump administration’s increased immigration enforcement. In one of his first acts as president, Trump issued an executive order that mandated building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and beefing up enforcement by adding 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, and 10,000 additional ICE officers, tripling their number. DHS Secretary John Kelly expanded upon the executive order with directives released on Feb. 21 that dramatically expand the pool of immigrants subject to deportation.

“CBP has insufficient agents/officers to effectively detect, track, and apprehend all aliens illegally entering the United States,” Kelly wrote in the directives, released three days after the internal CBP memo was stamped. He directed DHS department heads, such as McAleenan, to immediately begin the process of hiring, “while ensuring consistency in training and standards” and “subject to the availability of resources.”

In the memo, McAleenan described some of the changes CBP is considering — waiving the polygraph for some applicants such as police in good standing, making background investigations less stringent, and easing the entrance exam — as making CBP “more competitive.”

Some officials said the steps outlined are long overdue to reduce unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and meet the staffing shortfalls at CBP; it is still 1,600 agents shy of its authorized strength, and turnover is prevalent. In the last budget cycle, CBP requested funding for 300 fewer officers than the prior year, preferring to upgrade old equipment than chase “unrealistic” hiring expectations.

In addition to the lie-detector test, CBP applicants undergo cognitive, fitness, and medical exams, as well as fingerprinting, financial disclosure, drug testing and background checks. Even veterans with security clearances have to undergo an additional security screening to be hired at CBP, the former DHS official pointed out.

McAleenan said Saturday CBP is also looking at better pay equity, incentivizing remote locations, opening up more opportunities for veterans, and continuing to streamline the hiring process. In the last two years, McAleenan said, CBP has reduced its hiring timeline from 400 days to 170.

But social changes, he added, have added to the hiring difficulty. “We’re dealing with an environment around law enforcement that’s challenging in our society right now,” he said. And marijuana legalization in some states “makes it challenging for young people to meet our standards.”

Yet the polygraph has become the biggest hurdle, officials and experts say. Two out of three CBP applicants fail — more than double the average rate for eight other law enforcement agencies, according to the Associated Press.

McAleenan observed in the memo that the lie-detector test “has been identified as both a significant deterrent and point of failure.” ICE, he noted, does not require a polygraph test, and that agency’s own drive to hire 10,000 more agents will “greatly hinder” CBP’s own staffing.

The polygraph “helps us insure our integrity,” and has helped identify cartel lackeys trying to infiltrate CBP, McAleenan said Saturday. But he’s looking for ways to ensure it’s not being used “as an investigative tool,” and to allow some applicants — such as former members of the military or other law enforcement agencies — to skip it.

“We’d like to have the flexibility to make those decisions, instead of having every single person who applies be subject to the polygraph,” McAleenan said. “But we’re going to make those decisions very carefully in balancing the risk against the benefits.”

Yet those tough standards, including a mandatory polygraph, were put into place by Congress in 2010, after Customs and Border Protection suffered acute growing pains during the Bush administration, when CBP doubled in size. Some Border Patrol agents didn’t complete background checks before they deployed to the frontlines, officials reported, and the agency saw an increase in cases of internal corruption, and questions over its use-of-force training following a spate of deadly incidents.

And problems have persisted. According to rights group Southern Border Communities Coalition, between 2010 and 2015, media reported 40 deadly incidents involving CBP, and only one agent was prosecuted. The former head of internal affairs at CBP, James Tomsheck, who declined to comment for this story, claims he was pushed out in 2014 because he fought against a “paramilitary” mindset and a culture of evading accountability for abuses. This week, the Supreme Court is hearing a case to determine whether parents of a Mexican teenager shot and killed by a CBP agent can sue.

The administration’s rush to beef up border security comes as illegal crossings into the United States from Mexico have sunk to their lowest levels in four decades; among Mexican immigrants, the flow has in fact reversed since 2009. Still, “we have not reached the level where we have more people than we need for the crossings,” McAleenan said.

The additional agents would primarily be placed in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, where the bulk of border traffic is today, as well as the Tucson and Yuma sectors in Arizona, but also at the northern border with Canada.

“In many ways, you know, the border is more secure than it’s ever been, we have fewer people trying to cross,” McAleenan said of the southern line. “But we still have significant risks, and we need to address them across the entire border.”

The moves, especially the staffing plans, have made Mexico nervous, even beyond the public pronouncements of President Enrique Peña Nieto and other officials, who rejected the new directives as “unilateral” and “inappropriate.”

The Mexican government reached out to CBP immediately after Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order with a number of questions over how carefully the agency selects, recruits, and trains agents, according to a separate series of emails obtained by FP.

While some former officials said Mexican and American counterparts frequently communicate over new directives, others described the correspondence as atypical, and indicative of increased tensions between the U.S. and Mexico over Trump’s rhetoric.  

“It’s a bit unusual, but it’s a really unusual transition,” said David Martin, a former counsel for DHS and the Departments of State and Justice, and now a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia law school. “Particularly with the focus on immigration so early and so vehemently in the new administration.”

Photo Credit: John Moore / Staff

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Bank of England to keep five pound note despite protests over beef fat ingredient – CNBC

The Bank of England said on Wednesday it plans to keep the new five pound note despite acknowledging that it contains an “extremely small amount of” beef fat.

Vegan-led protests last November prompted the U.K.’s central bank to launch a detailed investigation into whether there was a better substitute for the ingredient.

However, according to a statement from the Bank, it has now concluded “that it would be appropriate to keep the £5 ($6.25) polymer note in circulation and to issue the £10 polymer note as planned, in September.”

A variety of issues in addition to animal rights concerns and including quality and security of the banknotes, the Bank’s legal obligations, the needs of firms that process, handle and supply cash and taxpayer value for money were analyzed by the institution in reaching its decision.

Despite the decision, the Bank has confirmed that it is “continuing to work closely with banknote polymer suppliers to determine what alternatives might be available.”

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ATF looks to 'beef up' presence in Chicago: CNN – Crain's Chicago Business

CNN is reporting that the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives is looking to transfer approximately 20 agents to Chicago in an effort to “beef up” the federal presence in the city, citing two unnamed federal law enforcement officials.

The additional agents will form a new task force, which the ATF referred to in internal documents referenced by CNN as the “Chicago Crime Guns Strike Force.” The mission: To stem the city’s gun violence.

The increase, one official told CNN, has been in the works for some time and is not in response to President Donald Trump tweeting last week that “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on … I will send in the feds.”

CNN reports that the second official, however, could not say for sure Trump’s comment had nothing to do with decision, considering its timing.

There are currently more than 40 agents assigned to the Chicago area, CNN says, so the surge would increase that force to more than 60 agents.

Click here for the complete report at CNN.com.

7:45 P.M. UPDATE:

“We have received no word from the federal government to confirm these reports,” wrote Adam Collins, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in an email, “but it would be welcome news if the administration has indeed agreed to one of Mayor Emanuel’s requests for federal resources. We remain hopeful that they will also provide added DEA and FBI agents, that they will boost the prosecution rate for federal gun crimes in Chicago, and that they will provide funding for successful violence prevention efforts.”

• So Chicago gets a new police oversight board. What now?
• Rhymefest to Trump: You don’t know Chicago at all
• Donald Trump and the real state of U.S. inner cities

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Vietnamese beef stew blends flavors of multiple spices and cultures – Christian Science Monitor

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Christian Science Monitor

Vietnamese beef stew blends flavors of multiple spices and cultures
Christian Science Monitor
The other day the taste I wanted was a particular combination of beef and lemongrass and spice. And I wanted sauce, and plenty of it. This is a recipe we've been tinkering with for years. The basic elements are aromatic and reassuring in a very

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McLaren Named to National Beef Board – The Missourian

Local businessman Bill McLaren, owner of Crooked Creek Beef, was appointed Dec. 23 to the Cattlemen’s National Beef Promotion and Research Board by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

McLaren, one of 39 appointments, will serve a three-year term on the 100-member board.

The Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board consists of domestic beef, dairy and veal producers, as well as importers of beef and beef products.

McLaren is a fourth-generation beef producer. His family has raised beef just west of St. Louis, in Franklin County, for more than 125 years.

He has served the beef industry in several roles to date, including Missouri Farm Bureau Beef Committee chairman, American Farm Bureau National Beef committee member and Missouri Cattlemen’s Association member.

He also is the co-owner of McLaren Grading, a large St. Louis grading company, and Haue Valley, a rustic wedding venue located in Pacific on one of his family’s century farms.

McLaren and Haue Valley have hosted the Missouri Beef Industry Council’s State Chefs Tour for the last three years.

McLaren raises beef on two family farms in Franklin County totaling approximately 700 acres. The farm’s proximity to St. Louis and urban areas provides him with a perspective different than that of many farmers.

Crooked Creek Beef is a provider of locally raised and processed beef in the St. Louis area.

“It is a great honor to serve the Missouri cattle industry in this capacity,” said McLaren. “I look forward to working with other board members to advance the beef industry in the United States.”

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SW Beef Symposium set for Jan. 11-12 – Deming Headlight


ROSWELL, N.M. – The Southwest Beef Symposium, a two-state educational program jointly hosted by New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, is set for Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 11-12, at the Roswell Convention Center, 912 N. Main St. in Roswell.

This year’s theme will be “What’s to Follow Historic Times?” said Dr. Bruce Carpenter, AgriLife Extension livestock specialist in Fort Stockton, Texas. “After several years of very favorable cattle prices for cow-calf and stocker producers, the drastic drop we’re seeing in the cattle market now has various segments of the industry wondering what to do for income, production and profit. The goal of this symposium is to provide answers to those questions.”

Individual early registration is $75 and includes a steak dinner on Jan. 11, lunch on Jan. 12, refreshments and symposium proceedings. Early registration is required by Jan. 6. To register, and for more information, visit the symposium website, http://swbs.nmsu.edu, or contact Carpenter at 432-336-8585, BCarpent@ag.tamu.edu.

The opening session from 1-5 p.m. on Jan. 11 will address emerging big-picture issues in the global beef industry.

Issues and speakers will be:

  • Global Factors Affecting U.S. Beef Demand and What Are Others Expecting from the U.S.,  Leann Saunders, IMI Global president.
  • Sustainability, What Is It? What Does It Really Mean?,” Dr. Ted McCollum, AgriLife Extension beef specialist, Amarillo.
  • What Happened to the Calf Market?”  Dr. Derrell Peel, Oklahoma State University professor of agricultural economics and agricultural business, Stillwater, Oklahoma.
  • Key Performance Indicators for Cow-Calf Producers, Bill Thompson, AgriLife Extension economist, San Angelo.  

The second day will focus on cow-calf and stocker ranching and production operations.

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Recommended article: The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral and Was Completely False.

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White House has beef with EU trade rules – Washington Examiner (blog)

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced Thursday that this office was moving against the European Union over the bloc’s ban on U.S. beef.

Froman said the EU’s ban on U.S. beef was “not based on sound science and discriminates against American beef farmers, ranchers and producers” and violates World Trade Organization standards. He said that if the ban stands, the U.S. would reinstate “industry-supported tariffs” on a variety of EU imports.

“The EU has failed to live up to assurances to address this issue, and it’s now time to take action. Today’s action holds the EU accountable and is an important step in encouraging the [European] Commission to come back to the table to ensure that American ranchers have access to Europe’s market and that European consumers have better access to high-quality U.S. beef,” Froman said. The office will hold hearings and solicit public comments on the ban and how to respond, he said.

The U.S. beef industry exports an average $6 billion per year and employs an estimated 50,000 people, according to the trade representative’s office. Europeans have said that use of hormones in the U.S. industry raises questions about the safety of the stock and acted to restrict imports in 1998. The U.S. has dismissed those concerns, pointing out that no reputable study has shown any harm.

“There is no doubt that American beef products are safe. The 20-year EU ban has been in effect far too long. It is not based on fact and should be lifted,” said Rep. Collin Peterson of North Dakota, the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee. “The beef industry is an important contributor to our nation’s economy, especially rural economy. This announcement is welcome news for America’s beef producers.”

Trump names press secretary, more senior White House roles

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“I am excited they will be leading the team that will communicate my agenda.”

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Beef Wellington recipe – fox4kc.com

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Beef Wellington recipe

2 Pound Beef Tenderloin

Salt, Black pepper to taste

2 T Butter

¼ C Dijon Mustard

1 Sheet Puff Pastry

1 Egg Yolk

1 T Milk

For the Duxelles:

  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms
  • 1 T Butter
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • ½ Tsp Black Pepper

Add mushrooms to a food processor and process until well chopped, very small diced.

In a pan over medium heat, add mushroom paste, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture evenly over the surface and cook on a medium-low heat until the moisture in the paste has reduced and the mixture has the consistency of a spreadable pâté. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add butter and some olive oil to a skillet. Pat beef dry and season with salt and pepper. When the fat is hot add the beef to the skillet and sear on all sides to golden brown. 1-2 minutes per side. Cool the filet and brush with Dijon mustard

On a cutting board put the puff pastry down and roll out to ¾ original thickness. Spread Mushroom mixture over the pastry. Place filet over the center and carefully wrap in the pastry. Enclosing the ends.

Chill the wellington down in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. Brush the outside with egg and milk mixture. Place on a parchment paper lined sheet pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the wellington reaches 120 degrees. Remove and let rest 10 minutes.

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