Lucy's Enterprises, Inc., a Kent, Wash., establishment, is recalling approximately 13,776 pounds of frozen, ground chicken products that may contain foreign materials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today.

The products involved in the recall are 16-ounce packages of “Trader Joe's, Chile Lime Chicken Burgers,” with the date code “3158” embossed on the side of the box. Each package contains four chicken burgers. Each label bears “P-8276” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The products were produced on Nov. 10, 2008, and were distributed to Trader Joe's supermarkets nationwide.

The problem was discovered after the company received consumer complaints about finding pieces of plastic and bone material in the product. FSIS has not received any consumer complaints or reports of injury at this time. Anyone concerned about an injury from consumption of the products should contact a physician.

Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

Wendy's/Arby's report FY 2008 results

Wendy's/Arby's Group, which completed the merger of the two foodservice companies last September, reported a net operating loss of $393.2 million in the fourth quarter and $479.7 million in 2008. Wendy’s North America systemwide same-store sales increased 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter, while Arby’s North America systemwide same-store sales declined 8.5 percent. Consolidated revenues were $896.5 million for the fourth quarter and $1.823 billion for the year of 2008.

Roland Smith, president and CEO of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, said, “During the fourth quarter, our initial period of ownership of the Wendy’s brand, we produced strong same-store sales despite an extremely tough competitive and economic environment. We also launched initiatives at Wendy’s targeting future transaction improvement and margin growth. During the brief time since the merger was completed, the Wendy’s brand is already producing more effective marketing, improving restaurant operations and rebuilding the new product pipeline.

“The Arby’s brand experienced same-store sales declines in the quarter as our sandwich competitors continued to discount at unprecedented levels,” said Smith. “Arby’s long-established marketing strategy has been to provide premium quality, hand-carved sandwiches with fresh ingredients as the foundation for our premium brand positioning of “Something Different, Something Better”. Our introduction this month of the unique, new Roastburger™ line is aimed at attracting core roast beef customers more often and growing sales.”

The new Roastburger line from Arby's combines the company's thinly sliced roast beef with a variety of fresh toppings.

Source: Wendy's/Arby's Inc.

Utah budget cuts spare state meat inspectors

The Utah House and Senate Republican majority agreed to restore $136 million of proposed spending cuts for the start of the fiscal year, June 30. Among the programs that were kept in the tentative budget was Utah's state meat inspection agency, which keeps a dozen inspectors on the job.

Leonard Blackham, Utah's agriculture commissioner, said many of the small meat packers and processors who are state-inspected said they would rather pay higher fees for the state program rather than deal with federal inspectors. He added that many might have chosen to go out of business rather than deal with the new federal involvement, AP reports.

“We've got a lot of small operators, and that's why it was critical that we keep the state program, from a rural perspective,” he said. “Our small business people like working with the state instead of federal government - we're a little more friendly.”

Source: Associated Press

Stuffed chicken breasts recalled over undeclared allergen

Weis Markets, Inc., of Sunbury, Penn., is recalling approximately 2,852 pounds of stuffed chicken breast products because they may contain an undeclared allergen, wheat, the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced today. Wheat is a known allergen, which is not declared on the label.

The products subject to recall are 1-pound packages of Weis Quality Premium Meats, “Simply Delicious Chicken Cordon-Bleu.” Each label bears “P-8821” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The chicken cordon bleu products were produced on various dates between Jan. 8 and Feb. 26, and were shipped to retail stores in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The problem was discovered by a routine product inspection conducted by the production establishment. FSIS has received no reports of illness due to consumption of these products.

Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

By Sam Gazdziak