Tyson Foods, Inc. has completed the sale of its Lakeside operations in Canada, to XL Foods Inc. Lakeside, based in Brooks, Alberta, is a diversified agribusiness involved in cattle feeding, slaughtering and processing, as well as retail fertilizer production and farming. It has been part of Tyson Foods since 2001, when Tyson bought IBP, Inc. However, in June 2008, Tyson officials announced plans to sell the business to XL Foods, indicating Lakeside no longer fit Tyson’s long-term, international business strategy.

“We extend our appreciation to the employees of Lakeside for their hard work over the years and for their patience as we sorted through the details of the ownership change,” said Leland Tollett, interim president and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods. “We’re also grateful to the community of Brooks and the province of Alberta for their support of Lakeside and the Canadian beef industry.”

While Tyson will no longer own a beef plant in Canada, the company plans to continue buying Canadian cattle to supply some of its U.S. beef operations.

The C$105.5 million sale of Lakeside includes C$55.5 million in cash, which was paid today. The remaining C$50 million, plus interest, will be paid over a five-year period following today’s closing. XL also purchased cattle, feed, fertilizer and packaging inventories as part of the transaction.

Lakeside currently employs 2,300 people. The beef operation has the capacity to slaughter and process 4,700 cattle per day. The commodity boxed beef produced by the plant is primarily sold to customers in Canada and the U.S.

Tyson also announced it will take a minority stake in Freshpet, a maker of fresh, refrigerated dog food and treats.

“The $17 billion pet food market, which has become one of the top 10 packaged-goods categories, has seen significant growth in recent years. One of the key growth trends has been the humanization of pets, as more consumers treat their pets as part of the family,” Tyson said in a statement.

Freshpet, is a New Jersey-based start-up. It supplies about 3,000 stores across the United States and has secured commitments for over a thousand more.

“The alliance between Tyson and Freshpet will meet changing consumer needs by providing real food for pets -- not ‘pet food,’” said Scott Morris, Freshpet co-founder. “We believe these products will redefine the category and change the way people think about feeding their pets.”

Source: Tyson Foods, Reuters Inc.

Poultry plant supervisor sentenced in ID theft

John Jairo Johnson-Amaya, a former supervisor at the Columbia Farms poultry plant in sentenced to two years in federal prison after he had earlier pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft. Amaya said in court that he had provided a stolen Social Security number on employment forms, reports theGreenville (S.C.) News.

Last October, federal agents raided the Columbia Farms South Carolina plant, which is a subsidiary of House of Raeford. Approximately 330 workers were rounded up in the raid, and 825 copies if I-9 forms were confiscated. A U.S. attorney stated that 94 percent of those forms were found to have been falsified.

Amaya, 51, said that he used false documents to portray himself as a legal worker named John J. Johnson. He will be deported after his release.

Source: The Greenville News

Chicken manure may help spread of “superbugs”

Flies may help spread drug-resistant “superbugs” from chicken droppings, according to researchers studying poultry barns in the Delmarva Peninsula region of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. They matched antibiotic-resistant enterococci and staphylococci bacteria from houseflies and the litter found in poultry barns. The findings, according to Reuters reports, may help explain the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, as flies have been known to spread viral and bacterial infections, Reuters reports.

“Our study found similarities in the antibiotic-resistant bacteria in both the flies and poultry litter we sampled. The evidence is another example of the risks associated with the inadequate treatment of animal wastes,” said researcher Jay Graham of Johns Hopkins University in a statement.

“Although we did not directly quantify the contribution of flies to human exposure, our results suggest that flies in intensive production areas could efficiently spread resistant organisms over large distances,” said Ellen Silbergeld, another of the researchers.

Source: Reuters

NCAA Tournament upset = free Arby's

Arby’s, which recently gave away free Roastburgers in honor of the recent time change, is at it again. This time, if a Number 16 seeded team in the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament defeats a Number 1 seed, Arby’s will give away an All-American Roastburger on March 23.

“Each year at this time, people crave that Cinderella story – the team that takes everyone by surprise,” said Jason Abelkop, senior vice president, marketing and national media, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. “Our new Roastburgers offer an unexpected change from standard greasy burgers.” The company’s Roastburgers feature Arby’s thinly sliced roast beef with a variety of toppings on a toasted specialty roll.

Source: Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc.