Court approves 'First Day' motions for Pilgrim's Pride

PITTSBURG, Texas – Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. on Wednesday announced the approval of “first day” motions by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The court gave the company interim approval to access $365 million of the $450 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing arranged by the Bank of Montreal. The final DIP hearing is Dec. 17.

Pilgrim’s Pride also received court approval to pay pre-petition employee wages, health benefits, and other employee obligations during its restructuring under Chapter 11. Also, the company is authorized to continue to honor all of its current customer policies without interruption, including marketing development, rebate and prepayment programs, coupon programs, product replacement and customer refunds.

"The Court's approval of our DIP financing and first day motions is a positive first step toward a successful restructuring," said Clint Rivers, president and chief executive officer. "Throughout this process, we will continue to operate our business without interruption, including paying employee wages and purchasing the goods and services necessary to serve our customers.”

Pilgrim’s Pride also announced that the New York Stock Exchange has suspended trading in the company’s common stock. The stock is now quoted on the Pink Sheets Electronic Quotation Service and has been assigned the ticker symbol "PGPDQ.PK."


Source: Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.

New York company recalls sausages on allergens

WASHINGTON – DeNunzio’s Sausage of Elmira, N.Y. is recalling about 36,388 pounds of ready-to-eat Polish Kielbasa products because of an undeclared allergen, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said Tuesday.

The agency said the products may contain soy protein, which was not declared on the label.

The FSIS said that one-pound, two-pound, and four-pound jars of "DeNunzio POLISH KIELBASA, FULLY COOKED, READY TO EAT, PACKED IN VINEGAR" are subject to the recall. Each label has "Est. 18523" inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture mark of inspection.

The products were produced on various dates between March 13 and Nov. 26, and were shipped to distributors in New York and Pennsylvania for further distribution to retail establishments.

The FSIS said the problem was found during routine agency testing. There have been no reports of illness related to the products.


Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

Agriprocessors gets money to reopen plant

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A bankruptcy court on Monday approved funding to allow the reopening of the Agriprocessors Inc. processing plant in Postville, Iowa.

The court reportedly approved a $2.5 million advance from First Bank Business Capital of St. Louis to the company.

The kosher meat processor will be able to resume the processing of about 750,000 chickens through Jan. 9 and could help ease a shortage of kosher meat. Joseph Sarachek, a court-appointed trustee, reportedly said that production could start this week.

The advance will reportedly help Agriprocessors pay a deposit to its utility provider and pay for its insurance.

The budget plans for 140 production employees to work 50 hours a week through Jan. 9 and includes 10 administrative staff and four managers, plus 10 workers at the company's distribution center in New York.

The company filed for bankruptcy in November after a series if crises including a massive immigration raid and charges of labor law violations.


Source: Associated Press

Canada to consult with WTO on COOL

WASHINGTON – The Canadian government on Monday said it is seeking formal consultations with the United States about mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) under the World Trade Organization (WTO) process.

Canadian producers have reportedly said that COOL is a trade barrier because it makes it more difficult and expensive for packers and processors to handle Canadian meat. The decision follows discussions with U.S. representatives about COOL.

The law requires most U.S. retailers to have country-of-origin information on certain beef, lamb, chicken and pork products.

The consultations allow both sides to resolve a dispute through formal discussions. If the consultations don’t work, the matter can reportedly be sent to a WTO dispute settlement panel.


Source: American Meat Institute

U.S., Mexican facilities approved for meat export

WASHINGTON – The United States and Mexico have agreed on approving a significant number of meat processing plants and storage facilities for export.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Mexico’s SAGARPA food safety agency have been involved in discussions for 18 months to resolve the issue.

In the U.S., discussions have involved 109 meat industry facilities, of which 52 have now been approved for export and another 57 facilities that are expected to be approved in the coming week. In Mexico, 13 facilities have been approved, although four of those approvals are reportedly pending corrective action. This will bring the total of Mexican facilities approved for exporting to the United States to more than 30.

This action reportedly comes on the heels of approval by SAGARPA of administrative changes at 32 U.S. facilities. These administrative changes, which might involve plant name changes or other paperwork issues, could have created export delays at the border.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is reportedly hoping to schedule additional meetings to address cross-border issues, plant relisting and other technical issues.


Source: American Meat Institute