The American Meat Institute has announced a number of award winners at the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, Ga. The winners included:

Edward C. Jones Community Service Award
Philip Jones, president of Jones Dairy Farm in Ft. Atkinson, Wis., was awarded the Edward C. Jones Community Service Award.  The award was created in memory of Jones’ grandfather Edward C. Jones.

Each year, the award is presented to honor a company that demonstrates an extraordinary level of commitment to the communities in which it operates.  Jones has served on the boards of United Way, the Fort Atkinson Community Foundation and Fort Atkinson Beautification Development. He currently serves on the Board of the Fort Atkinson Industrial Development Committee

Jones Dairy Farm supports countless local charities, including the Rock River Heritage, Dwight Foster Public Library, the Fort Atkinson Historical Museum, Rainbow Hospice Care, local schools, police and fire departments and the local Food Pantry.  The company supports the Celiac Disease Foundation to raise awareness and has certified more than 200 products Gluten-Free.

Jones’ actions are modeled throughout the company where there is a clear focus on giving back to the community. “Jones employees can be seen coaching youth programs, cooking for charity, pounding nails and helping neighbors in need,” said AMI Chairman Greg Benedict, Chief Operating Officer and President of American Foods Group.

The Jones Family has sold sausage in Ft. Atkinson since 1889 and Philip Jones represents the sixth generation involved in running the company and working to keep it “honest and real” – one of their company’s core values.

Supplier of the Year
Bunzl USA of St. Louis, Missouri, was named the American Meat Institute (AMI) 2014 Supplier of the Year.

The Institute recognized Bunzl, its outstanding products and remarkable commitment to service.  Bunzl Processor Division/Koch Supplies has been the leader in meat processing and packaging supplies for over 130 years.  The company is a member of AMI’s Supplier Committee and exhibitor at AMI’s Animal Care & Handling Conference.  In presenting the award, AMI’s Chairman Greg Benedict, chief operating officer and president of American Food Group,  described the success of the company coming from Chuck Bildstein’s leadership and Bunzl’s atmosphere of excellent customer service.

In nominating Bunzl, AMI’s Animal Welfare Committee highlighted the work of Chuck Bildstein, who is widely known in the industry for his customer service and problem-solving efforts. Bildstein delivered a highly rated talk about troubleshooting and maintaining stunners at the 2013 Animal Care and Handling Conference.

Benedict detailed how Bildstein provided assistance to a small processor who was struggling with a stunning challenge.  Benedict explained, “He did special research and provided technical advice at no charge simply because it was the right thing to do -- not because the company stood to profit from these issues.”

“Chuck Bildstein typifies the level of service and excellence this industry has come to know and expect from Bunzl, a company that truly partners with processors in ensuring that they can achieve high standards that the industry seeks to exemplify,” explained Benedict.

AMI Foundation Scientific Achievement Award
University of Wisconsin Adjunct Professor of Meat Science Andrew Milkowski, Ph.D., today received the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation Scientific Achievement Award during an awards breakfast at the International Production & Processing Expo, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Milkowski previously worked for the Oscar Mayer division for Kraft Foods where he led food safety research programs.  During his tenure there, Milkowski served on AMI’s Scientific Affairs Committee.  As one of the nation’s leading experts on nitrite functionality and safety, Milkowksi was tapped to chair AMI’s Nitrite Task Force in the late 1990s. Milkowski and the task force helped advance scientific knowledge about nitrite’s safety and benefits, efforts that contributed to the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) seminal conclusion that nitrite is not a carcinogen at the levels used. 

Milkowski served on the Foundation’s Research Advisory Committee since 1999 and was the Director of Health and Wellness at AMI for three years. He also helped lead efforts to prevent and ultimately eliminate Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products.

In presenting the award, AMI Chairman Greg Benedict, Chief Operating Officer and President of American Foods Group, said, “Dr. Milkowski is truly one of the nation’s brightest scientific lights in food safety and meat science.  His contributions are numerous and make him the very deserving winner of the of the 2014 AMI Foundation Scientific Achievement Award.”

Dr. Milkowski earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1976 from the University of Wisconsin and his BBS from the University of Illinois.  Milkowski serves on the Executive Board of the Food Research Institute.

2014 Industry Advancement Award
American Meat Institute (AMI) President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle received the Institute’s highest award, the Industry Advancement Award.  The award was given in honor of Boyle’s extraordinary contribution to the U.S. meat and poultry industry during his 24 years at the helm of AMI.  Boyle steps down as president and CEO January 31, 2014.

Boyle joined AMI in 1990 after heading the DC office of a California-based law firm, and after serving as administrator of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, as a legislative assistant to former Senator Pete Wilson (R-CA), and as legal counsel to two food trade associations

Calling Boyle a “transformative leader,” AMI Chairman Greg Benedict, Chief Operating Officer and President of American Foods Group, said Boyle led the association at a critical time as the nation’s war on fat gave way to a war on pathogens following an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in the Pacific Northwest.  

“The tragic event put AMI in the spotlight and Patrick was our industry’s voice at a very difficult time.  Rather than meet the challenge with words, Patrick met it with action, reestablishing our Foundation and launching our new Food Safety Initiative.  He asked the Board to declare food safety a non-competitive issue and they agreed,” Benedict said.  “Thanks to research and education, today E. coli O157:H7 is a fraction of what is was then and the beef industry’s response and progress has been held up as a model for others to follow.”

Benedict praised Boyle for being the face of the industry at difficult times.  “Throughout the many controversies that have challenged our industry in his tenure, Patrick has looked the media in the eye and answered their questions, long before transparency and open doors were contemporary buzzwords,” he said.   He also noted that Boyle was one of the first phone calls

USDA made when the U.S. detected its first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and one of the first industry faces on TV. 

On the animal welfare front, Boyle supported initiatives in collaboration with leading animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, Ph.D., who developed industry guidelines for AMI that helped transform the way U.S. livestock are handled in meat plants.  It was under his tenure, Benedict noted, that animal welfare was deemed a non-competitive issue among AMI members. 

“Most recently, he oversaw the effort to increase transparency around slaughter with the new Glass Walls project that has been a resounding success,” Benedict commented.

He also praised Boyle’s leadership on Capitol Hill, where AMI is well regarded and where lawmakers have given thoughtful consideration to the industry’s perspective on critical issues.

“I could take the entire morning to detail Patrick’s many accomplishments that make him worthy of the Industry Advancement Award,” Benedict closed.  “We thank you for your contributions. You will be sorely missed and we congratulate you as the 2014 Industry Advancement Award Winner.”

Source: AMI