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BEEF RETURNS TO THE BOSTON MARATHON

Boston, Mass., April 24, 2007 – A volunteer beef brigade learned that many consumers will find and enjoy beef, even in the middle of a wild Nor'easter storm. The Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI), a project of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and several northeast state beef councils, braved what Boston media called “Monsoon Monday” to serve 4,000 barbecue beef samples and promote lean beef during the nation's most famous foot race, April 16.

The severe weather kept all but 200,000 of the race's heartiest fans on the sidelines. But that proved to be a blessing in disguise for reaching consumers with samples and information about healthy beef, said Kelly Dietrich, director of public relations for the beef checkoff initiative. Representatives of the Beef Checkoff Program's National Beef Ambassadors assisted at the beef booth.

“A lot of spectators came back for seconds and thirds, and we were able to spend a lot more time answering questions and talking about beef nutrition with them than we would have had the weather been better,” added Emilie Miller, director of retail and foodservice for the project. The smaller crowd allowed the beef team to survey consumers one-on-one and promote the beef checkoff-funded Healthy Beef Cookbook. Spectators consumed 18 pans of shredded, fully cooked beef in BBQ sauce, compliments of Lloyds Barbeque Co.

“We had lots of positive consumer comments, especially on the taste and ease of serving. We heard ‘I can't believe it only takes minutes!' quite a lot during the day,” added Dan Conner, of the Vermont Beef Council.

The NEBPI focuses on beef promotion in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Virginia, with participation of state beef councils in the region, as well as the Cattlemen's Beef Board. The project is funded by the beef checkoff in a coordinated effort to promote beef in states with heavy consumer populations but smaller cattle numbers, Dietrich explained.

The beef industry even had its official protein-powered runner, Lucinda Harnish, daughter of a Pennsylvania veal producer, wearing a beef and veal runner's jersey.

“I could hear some people cheering for ‘beef' and several others made comments about the veal tagline, ‘Explore the Possibilities.' The shirt did not go unnoticed,” Harnish said.

“By talking to people one-on-one, I got a firsthand look at the importance of lean beef in an athlete's diet,” said Chris Molinaro, a National Beef Ambassador. “One man told me he always ate a steak before running the marathon!”

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