Frozen chili beef with foreign objects leads to recall

Windsor Quality Food Co. dba Windsor Foods is recalling approximately 676,500 pounds of frozen chili beef products that may contain foreign materials from an ingredient source. The company has received 16 reports of consumer complaints from finding small stones or pebbles in the product, with four injury reports.

The products were produced between Nov. 8, 2008, and Jan. 13, 2009 and were distributed to foodservice and limited retail establishments nationwide. The products that were recalled were 5-pound bags and 20-pound cases of frozen “Whitey's Chili with Beans, Premium, no MSG.”

Source: USDA Food Safety And Inspection Service

Restaurant Performance Index falls to record low in December

The National Restaurant Association's index of restaurant activity fell to a record low of 96.4. The Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) was down 0.2 from November and was the 14th consecutive month below 100. The RPI is based on responses to the association's Restaurant Industry Tracking Survey, which is fielded monthly among restaurant operators nationwide on a variety of indicators, including sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures.

The December decline in the Restairant Performance Index was the result of a drop in the current situation component,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Information Services for the NRA. “Same-store sales were the softest in the history of the Restaurant Performance Index, with nearly two-thirds of restaurant operators reporting lower sales in December.”

The RPI is constructed with an industry-steady level of 100. Numbers above 100 indicate the industry is in a period of expansion, while values below 100 indicate contraction. Restaurant operators reported negative same-store sales for the seventh consecutive month, and only 23 percent reported same-store sales increases.

Source: National Restaurant Association

NCBA elects new officers

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association elected its new officers during the 2009 Cattle Industry Annual Convention in Phoenix, which was attended by 5,300 people. Gary Voogt of Michigan was officially elected to succeed Andy Groseta as NCBA president. Steve Foglesong (Illinois) was chosen as president-elect, and Bill Donald (Montana) was elected as vice president.

Cattle producer discussions during the convention resulted in policy directives and recommendations for 2009. Members engaged with representatives from the USDA and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regarding an updated and workable approach to animal disease programs, particularly bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis. Members also resolved to increase the age restriction for trade with Japan from 20 months to 30 months. That restriction is limiting American producers to about 25 percent of their potential sales in Japan.

Some of Voogt's priorities for the coming year include growing domestic beef demand, expanding access to foreign markets and protecting the U.S. Beef industry from actions that could impede a favorable business climate.

Source: NCBA