Smithfield Foods' first-quarter estimates missed Wall Street estimates as the company reported losses of $107.7 million, compared to a loss of $13.2 million last year. Quarterly revenue decreased 13 percent to $2.72 billion.

Analysts had expected results of $2.82 billion in revenue and a loss of 55 cents per share. The actual results were a loss of 75 cents per share, according to Dow Jones news. Smithfield president and CEO C. Larry Pope said, “the hog production industry will very likely continue to incur losses until an industry-wide liquidation occurs.” Smithfield has cut its hog herd by 13 percent over the last six quarters. Smithfield's packaged meat business had earnings triple to a quarterly record, though revenue fell 1.6 percent. Hog production revenue dropped 24 percent, and fresh pork fell 23 percent.

"This first quarter loss reflects the continuing adverse business environment in the hog production segment of the company's operations. While raising costs have continued to decline and the pork processing segment continues to deliver strong profits, they were not sufficient to offset the negative impact of low hog prices on the hog production business. The sharply lower hog prices reflect the impact of the A(H1N1) outbreak at the end of the prior quarter and softer export demand," said Pope.

"We continue to execute the Pork Group restructuring plan on or ahead of schedule. Five of the six plants that were targeted for closure have been closed and the remaining plant will be closed in the third quarter. Smithfield is already benefitting from the Pork Group restructuring plan and we are on track to achieve annual cost savings of approximately $55 million, after applicable restructuring expenses, in fiscal 2010 and $125 million by fiscal 2011," he continued.

Source: Dow Jones Newswire, Smithfield Foods

USDA to buy $30 million of pork products

USDA to buy $30 million of pork products
USDA today announced that it will purchase an additional $30 million in pork products in FY 2009 for federal food and nutrition assistance programs. Altogether, USDA has purchased approximately $151 million in pork products for food and nutrition assistance programs this year through annual appropriation and Recovery Act funding.

The news comes after AMI and the National Pork Producers Council this week met with USDA officials and with key appropriators to explain the plight of pork producers, packers and processors and the need for this action.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack acknowledged the difficulty facing the pork industry, saying, "These purchases will assist pork producers who are currently struggling due to depressed market conditions … This action will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, stimulate the economy, and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA's nutrition programs."

For more information on purchase details, interested suppliers should contact Duane Williams, contracting officer, Livestock and Seed Program at (202)720-2650 or by e-mail at: The AMS Commodity Procurement Web page can be found at:

Source: American Meat Institute

Sanderson Farms launches sodium awareness program

Sanderson Farms launches “Sack The Sodium,” a program aimed to help consumers and sports fans understand the importance of reading the fine print on poultry labels. This program is helping consumers maintain a healthier diet with lower sodium tailgate recipes and also tips for how to avoid spending hard earned money on saltwater, the company says.

Sanderson notes that some chicken companies pump their chicken with sodium, saltwater and additives, even though they are allowed to label it “All Natural.” Directly out of the package, a single serving (4 oz.) of pumped fresh chicken may contain more than 440 mg of sodium, while a serving of truly natural chicken contains only about 70 mg of sodium (naturally occurring). This means pumped chicken has more sodium than a large order of fast food French fries (350 mg) or a bag of potato chips (180 mg). For the millions of Americans on a sodium-restricted diet, a serving of saltwater-enhanced chicken can unknowingly be over half of their daily limit before it’s even seasoned or prepared for cooking. Ultimately, consumers pay more than $2 billion a year for saltwater at chicken prices.

Sanderson Farms offers sodium-conscious tailgating recipes and other tips at

Source: Sanderson Farms

FSIS to Host Web Outreach Seminars

To promote a uniform understanding of FSIS regulations, the agency launched a six-part series of Web outreach seminars for plant owners and operators—especially those of small and very small plants.

The agency will host the third seminar, In-Plant Validation of Food Safety Interventions in Beef Products, on Sept. 10. This seminar will illustrate methods of determining the effectiveness of food safety interventions in small and very small beef establishments.

Three 90-minute sessions will be offered via net conferencing at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. (ET) to accommodate plant owners and operators nationwide.
To register, go to E-mail questions about upcoming outreach seminars to

Source: FSIS

Hormel upgrades Natural Choice Web site

Hormel Foods Corp. announced the launch of a redesigned Web site for its Hormel Natural Choice products at

“We redesigned the Web site to focus on how Hormel Natural Choice products are an element to living a healthier lifestyle,” said Jason G. Baskin, associate product manager for Natural Choice products at Hormel Foods. “Through recipes and tips for balanced living, we show consumers how they can feed themselves and their families natural, wholesome food and feel good about it.”

The redesigned Web site will allow consumers to have:
* Easier access to recipes, healthy living tips, gluten-free living and educational materials through streamlined searching capabilities;
* Enhanced view of product varieties and nutritional information; and
* Comparable data for reviewing ingredients and additional product information for Hormel Natural Choice products versus competing brands.

“We are excited about the new information the redesign offers and think consumers will especially enjoy the wide variety of choices within the ‘recipes’ section,” Baskin said. “Hormel Natural Choice products are a great tasting, 100 percent natural addition to every eating occasion.”

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.