Three U.S. importers of Irish pork issue recalls

WASHINGTON – Companies in Florida, New York and Massachusetts on Thursday issued recalls of pork products after Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) notified the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that tests showed the presence of dioxin in products shipped to the United States.

Rupari Food Services of Deerfield Beach, Fla. is recalling about 41,020 pounds of fresh pork products. The products, 44-pound approximate weight boxes of "ROSDERRA MEATS, ROSCREA, Pork Loin Back Ribs, KEEP FROZEN,” were sent on to restaurants in California. The shipping label bears the Irish establishment number "EST NO. 355."

Tommy Moloney's Inc., a Long Island City, N.Y. company, is recalling about 4,041 pounds of fresh pork products. The products are eight-ounce packages of "Tommy Moloney's Traditional Irish Breakfast Bacon, Made from imported Irish Pork." The label bears the establishment number "EST. 33789" inside the U.S. mark of inspection as well as a "sell by" date between "Dec. 15, 2008" and "Jan. 31, 2009." The bacon was sent on to stores in California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Dawn International of Action, Mass. is recalling about 33,880 pounds of fresh pork products. The products are listed as 30-pound cartons of "DAWN PORK & BACON, PORK LOIN BACK RIBS, PRODUCT OF REPUBLIC OF IRELAND." The shipping label bears the Irish mark of inspection "IRELAND 332 EC." They were sent to distribution centers in Florida.

The pork products were produced in Ireland between Sept. 1 and Dec. 7, 2008, and were then exported to the United States, according to the FSIS. The agency said it believes the probability of adverse health effects related to consumption of these pork products to be low, and concurs with the conclusions of a risk assessment conducted by FSAI.

The recalls are the latest in a global recall of Irish pork products after tests found dioxins, considered carcinogens, in some pork at Irish processors. Irish and European Union scientists have said that the levels of contamination don’t pose immediate health risks to consumers.


Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

Smithfield workers vote for union at Tar Heel plant

TAR HEEL, N.C. – Smithfield Packing Co. and the United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW) late Thursday announced that workers at the company’s Tar Heel, N.C. pork slaughtering plant voted to join the union.

The voting results came after a long dispute between the union and the company on organizing workers at the plant, the world’s largest slaughtering facility.

Workers voted 52 percent to 48 percent to join the union in a secret-ballot election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

"From the beginning, our goal was to give employees the opportunity to vote on this issue in a fair, secret-ballot election. This has now been accomplished, and we will abide by the results of the election. We respect the decision and look forward to working with the union to negotiate a fair labor contract for our employees," said Tim Schellpeper, president of Smithfield Packing.

UFCW leaders said they were looking forward to negotiating contracts with the company, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc.

“The UFCW has constructive union contracts with Smithfield plants around the country. Those union contracts benefit workers, the company and the community,” said Pat O’Neill, the union’s director of organizing. “We believe the workers here in Tar Heel can achieve a similar agreement.”


Sources: Smithfield Packing Co., United Food and Commercial Workers International

Pilgrim's Pride loses almost $1 billion in fiscal 2008

MILWAUKEE – Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. reported on Thursday that it lost almost $1 billion in fiscal 2008.

The company reportedly said in a filing with the SEC on Thursday that it posted a loss of $998.6 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 27. That compared to earnings of $47 million for the year before. This was despite sales rising 13.7 percent to $8.53 billion, from $7.5 billion last year.

The results included a loss on discontinued operations. The company took a charge in the fourth quarter of $501.4 million, mostly related to the declining value of Gold Kist Inc., which Pilgrim's Pride acquired in 2007.

The company also posted an income tax valuation allowance of $35 million against its net operating losses. Pilgrim’s Pride posted a loss of $155.7 million on feed ingredient derivative contracts.

Pilgrim’s Pride filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the beginning of December.


Source: Associated Press

CKE reports net income drop for fiscal 3Q

CARPINTERIA, Calif. – CKE Restaurants Inc. on Wednesday reported that its third quarter net income was $5.4 million, compared to $6.2 million for the same period in 2007.

The company said that blended company-operated same-store sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 increased 0.9 percent. Same-store sales increased 0.5 percent and 1.3 percent at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s company-operated restaurants, respectively.

Andrew F. Puzder, CKE president and chief executive officer, said that the decrease in net income and diluted earnings per share is in part attributable to the impact of refranchising 118 Hardee’s restaurants over the past year and a $3.1 million increase in interest expense resulting from higher mark-to-market adjustments related to interest rate swap agreements.

The company also said that consolidated restaurant operating costs increased to 82.1 percent of company-operated restaurants revenue. Occupancy and other costs increased, primarily due to higher utility costs and depreciation expense increases mainly related to a remodel program at both brands.


Source: CKE Restaurants Inc.

Deadline nears for Listeria workshop

WASHINGTON – The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) said Thursday that the deadline for special rates at the Advanced Listeria Intervention and Control Workshop is approaching.

The workshop will be held at The Allerton Hotel in Chicago from Feb. 3 through 4. A special rate at the hotel is available until Jan. 12. The AMIF said that after this date, rooms will be on a space and rate available basis. Attendees need to mention the AMI to receive the special group rate of $160 per night for single or double occupancy rooms, $180 per night for triple and $200 per night for quad rooms. Hotel reservations must be cancelled by 6 p.m. 24 hours prior to day of arrival to receive a full refund.

For more information on the workshop, go to the Events/Education section of


Source: American Meat Institute