Pilgrim's Pride files for Chapter 11 protection

PITTSBURG, Texas – Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. announced on Monday that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Northern Texas.

Pilgrim’s Pride spokesman Ray Atkinson said the majority of the company’s U.S. divisions were part of the filing. Those listed included PFS Distribution, Pilgrim's Pride Corp., PPC Transportation Co., To-Ricos Ltd., To-Ricos Distribution Ltd., PPC of West Virginia Inc. and PPC Marketing Ltd. The company’s Mexican divisions will continue to operation outside of the Chapter 11 process.

“We intend to move through the Chapter 11 process as quickly as possible, however, we must spend adequate time in Chapter 11 to ensure that we address certain short-term operational and liquidity challenges we are currently facing, as well as to restructure our debt in order to position the Company for future success,” Atkinson said.

Pilgrim’s Pride said it was asking the court to approve the company’s entry into a $450 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility arranged by Bank of Montreal as lead agent. If approved by the court, the DIP financing will provide an immediate source of funds to the company, enabling it to satisfy the customary obligations associated with the daily operation of its business. The company said in a statement that it had has asked the court for additional authorizations, including permission to continue paying employee wages and salaries, to provide employee benefits without interruption, and to continue with its various customer programs.

The filing is the Pilgrim’s Pride’s latest step after a year of difficult times. The company had announced its third extension at the end of November and had hired a chief restructuring officer two weeks earlier.

The company has been among the hardest hit by the summer’s spiraling commodity and fuel prices. Coupled with an oversupply of poultry in the market and last year’s merger with rival poultry producer Gold Kist Inc., Pilgrim’s profits have been down sharply in the second half of the year.

Media reports said that shares of Pilgrim's Pride fell 52.6 cents, or 46 percent, to 62.4 cents before trading was halted on Monday. The New York Stock Exchange reportedly said Monday it was suspending trading of the company's stock


Source: Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Associated Press

FSIS wants comment of avian flu assessment

WASHINGTON – The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Tuesday requested comments on a draft food safety risk assessment for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus from consumption of poultry products.

The assessment was reportedly done in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

The risk assessment was designed to evaluate the relative effectiveness of strategies to reduce or prevent exposure to HPAI virus from consumption of poultry meat, shell eggs and egg products. The FSIS said it may also be used to target risk communication messages, identify and prioritize research needs, and provide a framework for coordinating efforts with stakeholders.

The risk assessment is available on FSIS' Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Science/Risk_Assessments/index.asp.

Comments on the assessment can be e-mailed to fsis.regulationscomments@fsis.usda.gov or submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. All submissions received by mail or electronic mail must reference the Food Safety and Inspection Service and include the docket number FSIS-2007-0001.


Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

AMI, IDFA hold trade briefing

CHICAGO – The American Meat Institute (AMI) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) said Tuesday they had held an educational briefing and luncheon at the Mid American Club in Chicago.

The topic of the briefing was the 2009 Worldwide Food Expo for the benefit of the the Chicago International Trade Commissioners Association (CITCA).

Representatives from AMI and IDFA reportedly shared information about their associations, the U.S. meat and dairy markets and potential opportunities for participation in the Worldwide Food Expo, to be held Oct. 28 through 31, 2009, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

Thirty-two commerce representatives from more than 20 countries attended the briefing. Countries represented included Pakistan, Croatia, France, Spain, Thailand, Egypt, Canada, Mexico, Egypt and Austria.


Source: American Meat Institute

Calif., Ore., inventors create internal temp device

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Two inventors have developed a device for measuring the temperature distribution in a product, such as meat, poultry or fish, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office said Tuesday.

The office said that the device is an inexpensive reusable device for measuring the temperature distribution in a substrate, such as meat, poultry, or fish. The device is reportedly easy to read, fast and convenient and low in cost without the use of batteries. The device, which utilizes thermochromic materials mounted on one or more metal carriers, can be inserted into or placed in contact with the substrate for determining the temperature gradient across the substrate."

The inventors, Robert Parker of Bend, Ore., and Robert Burton of Los Angeles, were issued U.S. Patent No. 7,451,722 on Nov. 18.

The original application was filed on Sept. 27, 2006, and is available at: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=7,451,722.PN.&OS=PN/7,451,722&RS=PN/7,451,722.


Source: U.S. Patent & Trademark Office