Beef, pork exports still show strong growth

WASHINGTONU.S. pork and beef exports continued to show strong growth in the January to October 2008 period, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Total pork exports through October 2008 were reportedly $3.6 billion compared to $2.1 billion in 2007, up nearly 68 percent. U.S. exports to China/Hong Kong are up 209 percent in this same time period to $618 million compared to $200 million in 2007, though they have slowed down considerably compared to the pre-Olympic flurry of purchasing activity.

Beef exports through October 2008 totaled $2.6 billion, an increase of 46 percent over $1.78 billion of 2007, the USDA said. Canada and Mexico account for 52 percent of exports, with Mexico at $835 million in 2008 compared to $697 million in 2007. In 2003, before BSE was found in a cow in Washington state, Mexico imported $674 million.


Source: American Meat Institute

DHS makes changes verification form

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently submitted a interim final rule that makes changes to Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

An announcement from DHS says that rule revises the list of documents deemed acceptable for Form 1-9.

The rule was reportedly published this week, but changes will not take effect until Feb. 2, 2009. To see a copy of the rule, go to

Starting Feb. 2, it will be necessary for all employers to use the new Form I-9 to verify all new employees as well as employees with expiring employment authorization. Also during this time, the new Form I-9 will be available for download from the USCIS Web site,

Two major changes are the elimination of expired U.S. passports as an acceptable form of identification for employment eligibility as well as a change in attestation. With regard to the change in attestation, employers would now need to attest that to the best of their knowledge the “employment authorization” status instead of “employment eligibility” status of the employee to work in the United States.


Source: American Meat Institute

Pierre Foods appoints new board members

CINCINNATI – Pierre Foods Inc. on Friday announced that it had appointed Dean Hollis and Margaret Cannella as new members of its board of directors.

The company said that Hollis was formerly the president and chief operating officer of ConAgra Foods Consumer Foods and International division. Cannella serves as the global head of credit research and U.S. corporate strategy at JPMorgan. The addition of Hollis and Cannella expands Pierre's Board from three directors to five directors.

"Dean and Margaret are highly qualified directors who have proven their leadership in the food and financial industry, respectively," said Bill Toler, chief executive officer of Pierre. "The addition of two new directors to the Board is an important step for the Company as we continue to develop our growth strategies.”

The new members will join Toler and Oaktree Capital Management directors, Steven Kaplan and Matthew Wilson effective immediately.


Source: Pierre Foods Inc.

Food Safety Summit announces education program

DEERFIELD, Ill. – The Food Safety Summit announced Friday that the eleventh annual event will be held in Washington, D.C. on April 27 through 29.

"Today consumers are witnessing the globalization of the entire food chain, bringing new challenges as well as renewed efforts to improve food safety and food defense in North America and around the world," said Scott Wolters, CEM, director of tradeshows and conferences for BNP Media. "At the Summit growers, manufacturers, food service operators, retailers, distributors, regulators and non-government agencies will gather to share science-based information regarding food safety, quality assurance and crisis planning."

Speakers at the conference will represent the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Food Marketing Institute, National Restaurant Association, Institute of Food Technologists and the Association of Food and Drug Officials. Also executives from Wal-Mart, Kraft, Costco, Tyson Foods, McCormick & Company, Cargill, YUM! Brands, U.S. Foodservice and Earthbound Farms will present.

For information, call (847) 405-4000 or visit


Source: BNP Media

Ruby Tuesday to close 40 locations

MARYVILLE, Tenn. – Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday announced Thursday that it will close about 40 locations in the third quarter with about 30 other locations anticipated to close in the next few years.

The company said that it will incur restructuring charges in the second and third quarters of fiscal 2009 in relation to the closures. It will also take a non-cash impairment charge related to approximately 35-40 surplus properties which are marketed for sale. The third quarter restructuring expense will include costs associated with lease terminations and future lease obligations related to the 40 third quarter closures. Any lease charges related to additional closures will be recorded in the quarter that the locations are actually closed.

Ruby Tuesday said the pre-tax charges are expected to include about $30 to $40 million of non-cash asset impairments to be recognized in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 as well as a projected $10 to $15 million for the lease-related costs to be recognized in the third quarter of fiscal 2009.

Also during the second quarter, the company has concluded its goodwill was impaired. Due to the poor overall economic conditions, declines in fair value, declining sales at Company-owned restaurants and a challenging environment for the restaurant industry, the Company will record a pre-tax, non-cash charge in the second quarter of approximately $19 million.


Source: Ruby Tuesday