Criminal charges to be filed in Iowa turkey workers case

Iowa’s Department of Inspections and Appeals said it plans to file criminal charges against the party responsible for keeping 21 meat-processing workers in an unsafe building with no central heating. Suspects have yet to be determined, however, according to AP reports.


The state removed 21 mentally disabled workers from a boarded-up building over the weekend. The building, which has been closed, contained only space heaters and was reportedly infested with roaches. The men were employed by Henry’s Turkey Service and were contracted to work for West Liberty Foods. Many of the men had worked at West Liberty for more than 20 years, state officials said.


Charges of operating a health care facility without a license can be filed, but it’s unclear who can be charged. State officials from Texas, which is where Henry’s is headquartered, are participating in the investigation as well. Representatives for Henry’s and West Liberty have not commented on the case.


Sources: Associated Press, Houston Chronicle

USDA reports meat sales falling

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that meat consumption is declining in the economic recession, along with decreases in sales of cotton and dairy products. The USDA’s most recent estimation of meat consumption showed that Americans will consume an average of 215.6 pounds of red meat, down 0.8 pounds from its January forecast.


The USDA said “weakness in red emat demand” overseas and domestically outweighed smaller beef, pork and chicken meat output this year compared with 2008, Reuters reports.


“It’s going to be a tough situation for everybody,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who stated the importance of having President Obama’s stimulus package passed through Congress. “We need to put people back to work. As soon as people go back to work, they start buying, they start consuming.”


Sources: Reuters, Forbes

New chicken-powered electricity plant to be built in North Carolina

Fibrowatt, a Pennsylvania builder and operator of electrical power plants run on poultry litter, is building a $150 million plant in Montgomery County, North Carolina. The plant will be built in Biscoe and will employ approximately 100 people.


Montgomery County has an unemployment rate of about 10 percent, according to the News & Record. It is the largest industrial project in the county’s history, said Judy Stevens, executive director of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. “It couldn’t have come at a better time for us,” she said.


Fibrowatt built its first plant in Minnesota and also has projects in Arkansas, Mississippi, Maryland and elsewhere in North Carolina. The plants burn poultry litter, which is manure from chickens and turkeys along with the bedding, usually wood shavings.  The Minnesota plant was completed in 2007 and uses more than 500 tons of litter and other biomass annually, generating enough electricity to power about 40,000 homes. The power is then sold to larger energy companies.


Sources: News & Record, Fibrowatt

Quiznos adopts animal welfare policies

Quiznos announced it has adopted a new animal-welfare policy for the eggs, pork and turkey it buys, developed in conjunction with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


The company will buy 4 percent of its eggs from cage-free chickens (up to 10 percent in five years), 1 percent of its pork raised in crate-free environments (up to 15 percent by 2012) and 5 percent of turkeys that are killed using controlled atmosphere stunning by 2010, a method that PETA described as more humane.


“We are always trying to find new ways to be better corporate citizens, and we'll continue to seek those ways,” Quiznos spokesman Joe Hodas said. Purchasing preference will be given to suppliers who use cage- or crate-free systems.


Bruce Friedrich, PETA Vice President, says his group still prefers that diners buy Quiznos’ vegetarian sandwich, but he praised the chain for the new standards.


Source: Associated Press

The Colonel's Secret Recipe to stay secret

KFC’s upgraded, high-security measures should keep Col. Sanders’ secret recipe safer than ever. The hand-written recipe, containing the eleven secret herbs and spices in the company’s Original Recipe chicken, was placed in a new electronic safe after months of upgrading the security measures.


The sheet of paper, written and signed by Harland Sanders, was kept in an undisclosed location for five months while the electronic safe, motion detectors and cameras were put in place. The vault is encapsulated by concrete blocks and has its own backup generator, which will keep the security system operating during power outages. Previously, the recipe was kept in a filing cabinet equipped with two combination locks in the vault.


Source: Associated Press