NSF International, a not-for-profit public health and safety organization, announced the 2009 recipients of the sixth annual Food Safety Leadership Awards. Among the winners is Dr. Phillip Minerich, Vice President of Research and Development for Hormel Foods, who won a Lifetime Achievement Award in Packaging and Distribution.

Minerich oversees product development, regulatory compliance and food safety. For more than 32 years, he has worked within food production committed to improving the safety of our food supply. Minerich and his team have initiated a new food safety project that explores new applications for existing technologies, including researching all types of food safety interventions internationally, analyzing and validating scientific claims, and identifying how it would be useful for Hormel Foods product lines. During this time, his team applied the science that involves using high pressure processing (HPP) to package protein products. This resulted in the development of Hormel Natural Choice meats. Today, because of his contributions, public health and food regulation agencies have better methods for contamination detection and communicating events happening at a rapid rate.

A member of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Dr. Minerich holds three patents for development of a pressure indicator for high hydrostatic pressure processing of foods, packaging methods and products, and a container for active microwave heating.

NSF International's Food Safety Leadership Awards (FSLA) Program recognizes influential individuals that have demonstrated outstanding leadership in the food industry. The 2009 recipients of NSF International’s FSLA Program will be announced at the 2009 Food Safety Summit, the largest food safety and defense exposition where the entire focus is on food safety. The awards ceremony will take place on April 27, 2009, at 5:30 pm EST, at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center.

Source: NSF International

Kayem enters into agreement with Red Sox

Kayem Foods and the Boston Red Sox announced today that they have entered into a multi-year sponsorship and licensing agreement to manufacture and distribute the iconic Fenway Franks line of hot dogs and make market-leading Kayem Franks the Official Hot Dog of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Park.

As part of the agreement, Kayem reformulated the world-famous line of Fenway Franks, and will introduce a new and improved product on Opening Day 2009 at the ball park and in retail stores across New England. Like the newly redesigned Red Sox uniforms for 2009 and a new look for Fenway Park through improvements over the past several years, Fenway Franks will have a new look and an improved quality product that befits the legendary Red Sox brand.

“For the past 100 years, Kayem Foods has guided historic brands and a partnership with the Boston Red Sox franchise continues this time-honored tradition,” said Matt Monkiewicz, Vice President of Marketing at Kayem Foods Inc. “As Kayem celebrates its Centennial anniversary in 2009, we cannot think of a better way to begin our second century than by partnering with baseball’s greatest franchise and its legendary nation of loyal fans. Kayem is privileged to deliver high quality, delicious franks that will enhance the fan experience for millions of hot dog connoisseurs at Fenway Park and throughout the region. ”

Monkiewicz said that Kayem and the Red Sox are planning a number of joint marketplace activities -- such as product promotions and special events -- that will move the relationship out of the Park and into the minds of consumers throughout the region.

"You won't have to be at America’s Most Beloved Ballpark to know that Kayem is the Official Hot Dog of the Red Sox," Monkiewicz said.

“We are thrilled about opening our 2009 season with Kayem,” said Red Sox Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Sam Kennedy. “We cannot imagine a better group of folks to take the helm of Fenway Franks and reinvigorate the brand for us and Red Sox Nation. We welcome our new partners with great anticipation knowing that this relationship will have tremendous advantages for the Boston Red Sox and its fans throughout New England and beyond, as well as for Kayem, the Official Hot Dog of Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox.”

Source: Kayem Foods Inc.

Grocery official wants USDA to expand inspection system

A Supervalu executive believes that the USDA should expand its risk-based inspection system to include products that have been neglected by the Food and Drug Administration to help reduce recalls. John Hanlin, vice president of food safety, said, “We must look beyond the meat and poultry divide and focus on food safety systems across all categories of commodities using a risk-based approach,” Reuters reports.

This would help “commodities that today receive minimal inspection due to budget challenges at FDA,” he said. He included spinach and other leafy greens, tomatoes, nuts, grains and other raw agricultural commodities as products that should be inspected by the USDA.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson said he was willing to consider the plan he said "has some merit."

Source: Reuters

Bagel chains to add poultry products to Lighter Fare menu

Einstein Bros. Bagels and Noah’s Bagels are introducing an all-new Lighter Fare menu, with three lunch items and two breakfast items, each containing less than 400 calories. The limited-time lunch menu will be available from April 1, 2009 through June 30 and the breakfast menu beginning July 1, 2009 through September 29 at participating Einstein Bros. and Noah's restaurants nationwide.

“For people who want to eat better, it’s often difficult to do so and can be full of compromises,” said Jeffrey O’Neill, chief executive officer, Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc. “Our Lighter Fare menu gives consumers a variety of items full of fresh ingredients that deliver on bold taste and contain fewer calories.”

The lunch menu includes:
* Ancho Chicken Wedge - A wheat tortilla filled with chile rajas, jalapeno salsa cream cheese and marinated ancho chicken.
* Mediterranean Turkey Sandwich - Fresh baked Harvest Grain bread with sliced turkey, balsamic pepper relish, reduced-fat sun-dried tomato cream cheese, lettuce and red onion.
* Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad - Mixed greens with balsamic pepper relish, tomatoes, red onions and marinated ancho chicken with a light balsamic vinaigrette.

The Lighter Fare breakfast menu, served all day, includes:
* Einstein Bros. Egg White Sandwich with Turkey Sausage - An egg white sandwich with turkey sausage and ancho salsa, served on a Good Grains bagel, baked fresh daily in the restaurant.
* Noah’s Egg White Sandwich with Turkey Sausage - An egg white sandwich with turkey sausage and ancho salsa, served on a plain bagel, baked fresh daily in the restaurant.
* Egg White Florentine Wedge with Turkey Sausage - A wheat tortilla filled with egg whites, sausage, spinach, mushrooms and jalapeno salsa cream cheese.

Source: Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc.