Pilgrim's Pride files for Chapter 11

PITTSBURG, Texas – Chicken producer Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. announced on Monday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company, which has been dealing with its purchase of Gold Kist Inc. and spiraling commodity prices, said the filing was an effort to address short-term operational and liquidity challenges. Pilgrim’s Pride expects to continue operating as normal through out the reorganizing process.

The company said its operations in Mexico and certain U.S. operations were not included in the filing.

"Over the past year, Pilgrim's Pride has faced a number of significant challenges including high feed-ingredient costs, an oversupply of chicken, weak market pricing and softening demand," said Clint Rivers, president and chief executive officer. "After careful consideration of all available alternatives, the Company's Board of Directors determined that a Chapter 11 filing was a necessary and prudent step and the best way to obtain the financing necessary to maintain regular operations and allow for a successful restructuring.”

Pilgrim’s Pride also said it is seeking approval to enter into a $450 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility arranged by Bank of Montreal as lead agent. If approved by the court, the 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.

Suppliers should expect to be paid for post-petition purchases of goods and services in the ordinary course of business, the company said.


Source: Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.

Mass. company recalls beef sandwiches on Listeria

WASHINGTON – Home Market Foods Inc. of Norwood, Mass. has recalled about 5,250 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) frozen beef sandwiches that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) said Friday.

The agency said that the products being recalled are 3.5-ounce individually wrapped packages of "Blimpie FULLY COOKED SEASONED BEEF SHAVED STEAKS Thinly Sliced with Onions." Each label bear the establishment number "EST. 2727" inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a printed Julian date of "3198," "3228" or "3238," on the products available for consumer purchase.

The sandwiches were produced on Nov. 14, 17, 18 and 20. They were sent to retailers in the Atlanta area, California, Florida, Illinois and New York, the FSIS said.

The issue was found by company testing. The FSIS said it had received no reports of illness related to the sandwiches.


Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

FDA reports progress in food supply protection

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday released a report detailing its accomplishments in implementing its Food Protection Plan.

“Science and 21st century technologies help drive the FDA's efforts to transform our food safety efforts from the Food Protection Plan into a reality," said Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach, commissioner of food and drugs. "Every day, the FDA is working with foreign countries, state and local governments, regulated industry and consumer groups to ensure the safety of the food supply.”

The FDA’s accomplishments include establishing offices in five regions that export food and other FDA-regulated products to the United States: China, India, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. The FDA has already hired staff for its offices in China and India; releasing the CARVER self-assessment tool for industry, to minimize the risk of intentional contamination of food, and conducted training seminars for industry on how to use the tool; completing inspections of 5,930 high-risk domestic food establishments during the fiscal 2008; and enhancing the agency's ability to coordinate a comprehensive response to foodborne illness events by authoring tools used to track emergency response resources and other locations of interest.

The entire one-year summary of progress under the plan is posted at www.fda.gov/oc/initiatives/advance/food/progressreport1108.html.


Source: Food and Drug Administration

USPOULTRY accepting applications for Clean Water Awards

ATLANTA – The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association announced last week that it is accepting applications for the 2009 Clean Water Awards.

According to the industry group, the awards recognize outstanding water treatment plant performance in the poultry industry. The winners will be announced at USPOULTRY's Environmental Management Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee, March 3 and 4, 2009.

"One of the things we've learned over the eight years of this award competition is that there are a number of great water treatment facilities in our industry with very dedicated staff," said John Starkey, USPOULTRY president. "They reclaim over 90% of the water we use to process poultry and return it to the environment in a state fit for others to use and enjoy. We always look forward to this award process, and the special touch these facilities bring to the competition."

There are two categories for the award: one for full treatment facilities and one for pretreatment facilities. Any USPOULTRY member company is eligible to submit one nominee in each category. Applications must be submitted by December 31, 2008.

For more information on the award, contact Paul Bredwell by emailing pbredwell@poultryegg.org.


Source: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association