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Meat briefing: top stories you may have missed

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From management changes to outrage over a meat ban in schools, GlobalMeatNews​ rounds up key stories that broke over the holiday to get you up to speed on your meat news again.

South America

For starters, Brazil was back in the headlines after the meat industry hit out at government plans to ban São Paulo schools from serving meat on Mondays.

Spearheaded by Brazil’s Feliciano Filho, a politician and well-known vegetarian, the bill could prohibit public schools from serving meat and dairy products on a Monday.

Naturally, the meat industry is strongly against this.

The Brazilian Beef Exporters Association (ABIEC) has claimed implementation of meat-free Mondays could result in 250,000 job losses and leave a BRL29 billion ($8.7bn) hole in the industry’s finances. The trade association has called on São Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin, who has the final say on the policy, to veto it.

Europe

From South America to Europe, Russia was rocked by another outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza​ (AI) on 29 December. This one saw more than 44,000 birds culled in the Kostroma Oblast upon detection of the AI strain H5N2.

The source of the outbreak remains “unknown or inconclusive​”, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). But as per standard procedure, control measures, including the erection of quarantine zones and restrictions on transporting live poultry, have been set up by Russian authorities.

Over 1,200 kilometres west of Kostroma Oblast in Turku, Finland, big changes were made at Nordic meatpacker HKScan​: Mikko Forsell was appointed chief financial officer, following the resignation of Tuomo Valkonen.

Forsell, who was formerly employed at kitchen roll manufacturer Metsä Tissue, joined HKScan on 1 January 2018. He will report directly to the CEO Jari Latvanen.

On the appointment, Latvanen said: “I warmly welcome Mikko to HKScan to contribute to our group strategy implementation process and the continuous development of our common financial processes. We also look forward to his input in strengthening our sourcing and ICT (information and communications technology) functions. At the same time, I wish to extend my sincere thanks to Tuomo for all his efforts and for his valuable contribution to HKScan’s evolution.​”

US

Across the Atlantic, in the US, executives from the Colorado-based National Bison Association (NBA) told the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that demand for bison meat was rising fast.

NBA’s Stephanie Ho and Dave Carter said the lean, nutritious and sustainably reared bison meat had grown significantly over the last decade.

So big is the demand that bison producers are “scrambling​” to meet it, as it continues to “outstrip supply​”, Cater told the USDA’s radio show recently.

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