Study links cured meats, leukemia

A study from the Harvard School of Public Health that was recently published in the BioMed Central Cancer journal indicates that eating cured meats may lead to an increased risk of leukemia in children and young adults. The study found an association between consuming smoked or cured meat and fish more than once a week and an increased risk of acute leukemia, according to The Harvard Crimson. Conversely, researchers concluded that subjects who ate vegetables and tofu regularly along with cured meats showed a reduced risk for leukemia.

The study was conducted in Taiwan from 1997 to 2005 and looked at the dietary habits of 515 people, from two to 20 years old. David Christiani, professor of Medicine, says that nitrates added in the curing process transform into N-nitroso compounds – which are known carcinogens – in the acidic stomach.

“These are some very active compounds in your body,” he said. Christiani added that while the correlation from the study is strong, it does not point to a casual relationship between eating cured meats and leukemia. Researchers would have to look into how extracts from cured meats affect bone marrow at the cellular level to show causation.

“These results need to be confirmed in other studies before doctors can make strong recommendations,” he said. “We don't want the cured meat and sausage industry on our tails.”

Source: The Harvard Crimson

Pilgrim's pride reports $228 million quarterly loss

Pilgrim's Pride reported losses of $228.8 million for the quarter ending Dec. 27. Sales fell to $1.9 billion, down from $2 billion last year.

The company said that during the quarter, it fired 265 corporate-level workers and plans to let go 505 plant workers as it slows production. It said that chicken prices have stabilized after falling in 2008 but that the price still remains below historical levels and are not high enough to offset feed-grain costs.


McDonald's cuts prices by 33 percent in China

McDonald's has cut some prices in its Chinese restaurants by as much as one-third, as the formerly booming Chinese economy has been affected by the global financial downturn. The restaurant chain cut about 40 percent of prices, and half of its products are now selling at the same level as 10 years ago, if not lower.

Among the discounted food items, Reuters reports, are the Filet-O-Fish, Double Cheeseburger, McNuggets, McPuff and the Mala Pork Burger. The company announced it is still planning to open 175 restaurants in China and hire about 10,000 workers this year. McDonald's currently has 1,050 restaurants and more than 60,000 employees there.

Source: Reuters

Chicago Meat Authority names COO

Chicago Meat Authority has introduced Tom Perlstein as chief operating officer. He has more than 30 years of experience in marketing and advertising and more than 20 years specifically running food businesses.

Previously, Perlstein has held senior leadership positions in support of brands such as Butterball, Healthy Choice and Chef Boyardee. “We are very pleased that Tom has joined Chicago Meat Authority,” said Jordan Dorfman, president of the processor of pork and beef products to the foodservice, retail and private label markets. “His versatile skill set and many years of experience will greatly aid in CMA realizing its growth expectations and reinforcing our unique position as 'Your Authority on Quality Meats.'”