McDonalds announces strong 2008 results

The economic troubles that have affected many foodservice operators don’t seem to have touched McDonalds, as the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company announced positive results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year on Monday.


Global corporate sales increased 6.9 percent in 2008, including 4.0 percent in the United States. Operating income increased 8 percent in the United States, 33 percent in Europe, and 22 percent in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. Overall, the company has revenues of $23.5 billion and an operating income of $6.4 billion.


Jim Skinner, McDonalds CEO, announced that the average number of customers served per day increased to more than 58 million in 2008, and the company had double-digit growth in operating income for the fourth quarter and the year.


“I am pleased with McDonald’s 2008 results, which were achieved through the dedication of our owner/operators, suppliers and employees who provide an exceptional restaurant experience for our customers each and every day,” he said. The company is planning on adding about 1,000 stores this year.


The company’s Dollar Menu was a big part of the company’s overall success and accounted for about 14 percent of its sales, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The McDouble, a double cheeseburger with only one slice of cheese, replaced the double cheeseburger on the Dollar Menu last month, and it already accounts for about 40 percent of value burger sales in U.S. stores.


Sources: McDonald’s, Chicago Sun-Times

Ag Secretary says food safety system needs to be modernized

New Agriculture Department Secretary Tom Vilsack said that the country needs to first modernize its food safety system before it decides on reorganizing agencies that inspect food.


“A modernized system would have as a goal prevention, early detection if it can’t be prevented, and mitigation of any adverse impacts if something occurs,” he said. He also saud that the USDA should focus meat inspection on prevention and containment of dangerous pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses, Reuters reports.


He also discussed ethanol production and helping to keep ethanol producers in business. “I think it's going to be important for us to recognize that there are a number of challenges to the way in which ethanol is being produced today, and we have to respond to those challenges,” he said. “And one way we respond is by accelerating significantly the research that will allow us to be more efficient with the feedstocks that we have today—which is also going to help ethanol producers survive difficult times—at the same time, working on promoting second and third generation feedstocks that may be even more beneficial from a climate change perspective or could complement the current system.”


Vilsack noted that finding an undersecretary for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection System is a top priority.


Sources: Reuters, USDA

Beef, poultry trade shows starting tomorrow

The 2009 National Cattle Industry Annual Convention and NCBA Trade Show will draw thousands of cattle producers to the Phoenix Convention Center this week. At the same time, poultry producers and processors are heating to the Georgia World Congress Center for the International Poultry Expo/International Feed Expo in Atlanta.


The IPE Show rune from January 28-30 and will attract thousands of poultry industry professionals. Sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the American Feed Industry Association, the show routinely attracts many of the top broiler and turkey processors, as well as the top egg producers. Along with a trade show featuring the latest equipment and services for producers and processors, several industry leaders will be featured speakers.


The Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA show will also run from January 28-30 and will include demonstrations on low-stress cattle handling and animal processing hygiele techniques. Cable station RFD-TV will air a live two-hour show on January 28, featuring interviews from NCBA officers and information on NCBA legislative efforts.


Sources: National Cattleman’s Beef Association, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association

NAMP announces new poultry science advisor

Dr. Manpreet Singh, associate processor of Food Microbiology in the Poultry Science Department of Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., has joined the North American Meat Processors Association as a science advisor. He will serve as an additional resource for NAMP members, said Phil Kimball CAE, executive director.


His research focuses on the safety of meat and poultry products, including control of food-borne pathogens in food processing environments. He is involved currently in projects focused on control of Salmonella spp., spores of Bacillus spp. and Clostridium spp in poultry-processing environments.


Source: North American Meat Processors Association

Domino's introduces American Legends pizzas

Domino’s Pizza has introduced a new line of six specialty pizzas, featuring a variety of toppings and 40 percent more cheese than a regular pizza. They are available at $12.99 for a large or $10.99 for a medium.


The varieties include:

Honolulu Hawaiian -- Sliced ham, smoked bacon, juicy pineapple, and roasted red peppers with provolone and mozzarella cheeses on a cheesy parmesan crust. Customers can make this pizza "fiery" by adding Tabasco(R) brand Pepper Sauce and jalapenos.


Cali Chicken Bacon Ranch(TM) -- Chicken breast, white sauce, smoked bacon, tomatoes and parsley with provolone cheese and mozzarella cheeses on a cheesy provolone crust.


Pacific Veggie -- Roasted red peppers, spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and black olives, with feta, mozzarella and provolone cheeses on a cheesy parmesan crust.


Memphis BBQ Chicken -- Chicken breast, barbeque sauce, onions, and parsley with provolone, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses on a cheesy cheddar crust.


Buffalo Chicken -- Chicken breast, Buffalo hot sauce, onions and parsley with provolone and American chesses on a cheesy cheddar crust.


Philly Cheese Steak -- Steak, onions, green peppers and mushrooms with provolone and American cheeses on a cheesy provolone crust.


The company is expected to deliver move than 1.1 million pizzas this Super Bowl Sunday.


Source: Domino’s Pizza