America's meat and poultry industry, comprised of packers and processors, wholesalers and retailers, directly and indirectly contributes $832.4 billion dollars to the U.S. economy annually, roughly 5.8 percent of total GDP, according to a new Economic Impact Study unveiled today by the American Meat Institute. The analysis of direct, supplier and induced impact also illustrates the industry provides nearly 6.2 million jobs, generating almost $200 billion in wages and benefits.

"Companies and individuals in America that produce, process, distribute and sell meat and poultry products continue to be a vital part of the U.S. economy," said J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO of AMI. "During this uncertain economic climate when we are experiencing the highest unemployment rate in 25 years, every job is important. Our industry can be proud that we provide millions of quality jobs in every state and every sector of the U.S. economy."

According to the study, the meat and poultry industry directly employs 1.8 million people, paying $45.5 billion in wages and benefits. An estimated 524,000 people have jobs in production and packing, importing operations, sales, packaging and direct distribution of meat and poultry products. Wholesaling directly employs an estimated 63,000 individuals in every state in the country, and 1,227,600 employees' retail jobs depend on the sale of meat and poultry products to the public.

In addition to the direct economic impact, the study also captures the economic impact of suppliers to the industry and the total induced impact, or multiplier effect, on the economy of spending by employees of the direct industry and supplier firms.

"While meat and poultry plants are not located in every American city, our products are sold throughout the country, thereby creating millions of jobs and economic impact nationwide," noted Rod Brenneman, CEO of Seaboard Foods in Guymon, Oklahoma, and chairman of AMI. "These are real people, with real jobs, working in industries as varied as banking, retail, accounting, government, metalworking, even printing, that all depend on the meat and poultry industry for their livelihood."

An important part of the analysis is the calculation of the contribution of the industry to the public finances of the community. Not only does the meat and poultry industry create jobs, it also generates sizeable tax revenues in two forms. First, the traditional direct taxes paid by the firms and their employees provide over $81.2 billion in revenues to the federal, state and local governments. In addition, the consumption of meat and poultry generates $2.4 billion in state sales taxes.

"This is tens of billions of dollars that the meat and poultry industry and our employees contribute to national defense, medical research, education, transportation infrastructure, benefits for veterans and even the government regulation of our own industry," Boyle added.

The Economic Impact Study was conducted by John Dunham & Associates based in New York City and uses data from 2009. The complete study, including state-by-state and congressional district breakdowns and a methodology report, can be found at

Source: American Meat Institute

Tyson fined $500,000 for fatal OSHA violation

Tyson Foods Inc. was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Arkansas to pay the maximum fine for willfully violating worker safety regulations that led to a worker's death in its River Valley Animal Foods (RVAF) plant in Texarkana, Ark., the Justice Department announced. The court ordered Tyson Foods to pay the $500,000, the maximum criminal fine as well as serve one year probation.

According to the court documents filed in the case, Tyson operated several RVAF plants that recycled poultry products into protein and fats for the animal food industry. As part of the rendering process in four of the plants, the company used high-pressure steam processors called hydrolyzers to convert the poultry feather into feather meal.

Decomposition of biological material such as poultry feathers produces hydrogen sulfide gas, an acute-acting toxic substance. Employees at the Tyson facilities often were exposed to the toxic gas when working on or near the hydrolyzers, which required frequent adjustment and replacement.

As of October 2003, corporate safety and regional management were aware that hydrogen sulfide gas was present in the RVAF facilities and three of the four facilities with hydrolyzers had taken measures to protect employees from hydrogen sulfide gas near the hydrolyzers. However, Tyson Foods did not take sufficient steps to implement controls or protective equipment to reduce exposure within prescribed limits or provide effective training to employees on hydrogen sulfide gas at the Texarkana facility despite an identical exposure, resulting in hydrogen sulfide poisoning of an RVAF Texarkana employee in March 2002.

As a result, at approximately 1 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2003, RVAF maintenance employee Jason Kelley was overcome with hydrogen sulfide gas while repairing a leak from a hydrolyzer and later died. Another employee and two emergency responders were hospitalized due to exposure during the rescue attempt. Two employees also were treated at the scene.

"Federal laws require employers to undertake steps that limit exposure to dangerous substances like the gas that killed Jason Kelley. Today, Tyson Foods is paying the maximum fine for failing to abide by these laws," said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "The Justice Department takes its enforcement responsibility seriously and companies that ignore these laws and risk their employees' lives will be prosecuted."

The investigation was conducted by the Department of Labor and prosecuted by the Justice Department's Environmental Crimes Section and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Arkansas under the Environmental Crimes Section's worker endangerment initiative.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Cagle's announces fiscal year-end results

Cagle's Inc. reported a net loss of $11.5 million or $2.48 per diluted share for fiscal year 2009 compared with a net loss of $0.77 million or $0.17 per diluted share for fiscal 2008. Operating income for fiscal 2009 was a loss of $15.7 million compared to operating income of $0.14 million for fiscal 2008.

Revenues for fiscal 2009 were $292.6 million reflecting a 3.1% increase when compared to fiscal 2008 with poultry prices increasing $0.024 per pound sold. Quoted market prices for the year 2009 versus 2008 reflect a reduction in boneless breast - 13.6%, breast tenders -7.2%, wings -9.2% and leg quarters -3.4%.

Cost of sales for fiscal 2009 increased 9.2% as compared with 2008, from $268.5 million to $293.2 million. Feed ingredient cost per ton for broilers processed in 2009 increased 23.5% or $20.3 million as compared to fiscal 2008. Feed cost represented approximately 36% of total cost of sales in 2009.

“Our fourth quarter operating income approached the breakeven mark as revenue per pound improved by over 3% and cost of sales fell 1.6%,” the company said in a statement. “As we begin fiscal 2010 demand for the cost effective protein offered by our products is improving and our markets are reacting favorably which we anticipate will return our company to positive margins in the first quarter.”

Source: Cagle's Inc.

Dietz & Watson partners with Meijer grocery chain

Philadelphia-based Dietz & Watson, a preparer and international distributor of premium deli meats and artisan cheeses today announced that it has inked a deal with the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer grocery chain to carry the full variety of Dietz & Watson items in all of its 189 stores.

Rich Wright, vice president, sales and marketing for Dietz & Watson, said the company couldn't be more pleased with the new partnership. "Meijer and Dietz & Watson actually have a lot in common, so we're a natural fit," said Wright. "But the main thing we have in common, and the philosophy that has made both of these companies great for more than seven decades, is our commitment to consistently delivering the very best quality to our customers - never taking any shortcuts."

Dietz & Watson offers deli-fresh beef, pork, ham, turkey breast, chicken breast and cheeses, more than two dozen varieties of franks and sausages, a full line of deli thin sliced re-sealable packaged meats and cheeses and a line of deli compliments.

"We are very pleased to offer our customers Dietz & Watson products, said Tim Calderone," director of deli and bakery for Meijer. "We have reached our 75th anniversary this year because of a continued focus on innovation and customer service. Partnering with a premium brand such as Dietz & Watson continues this tradition as we add even more choices for our deli customers."

Source: Dietz & Watson

Jamba Juice puts food on the menu

Jamba Juice announced the most significant addition to its menu offerings since its opening in 1990, with the California rollout of Grab and Go food, flatbreads and cold tea infusions. Jamba Juice’s new menu items are made with high-quality ingredients and will be available in 222 California locations. The food debut follows Jamba’s successful winter launch of oatmeal made with steel-cut organic oats and is part of the chain’s broader strategy to transform its overall retail concept, expanding beyond its smoothie roots to become a mealtime destination for a complete range of simple and healthy lifestyle options.

“In making our food choices, we were very selective in offering simple, high quality items without sacrificing taste,” said Brian Lee, vice president of innovation and quality. “We are committed to offering our customers food that they will feel good about eating. I believe customers would be surprised that many breads contain high fructose corn syrup and sauces use artificial preservatives. Our products use none of these. Not everyone has this level of commitment.”

The Grab and Go food—a portfolio of ready-made wraps, sandwiches and salads—satisfies customer need for a meal offering that they can eat on the go, without feeling guilty. The Grab and Go food consists of four different wraps, including an Asian Style Chicken Wrap, Chimichurri Chicken, Greek Goodness (which is vegetarian) and the Greens and Grains Wrap (which is vegan). Jamba will also offer a Gobble’licious turkey sandwich and two salads—Caesar the Day! and CousCous & Produce.

The California Flatbreads will come in four different flavors including Four Cheesy, Smokehouse Chicken, Tomo Artichoko and MediterraneYUM.

“For many years Jamba Juice has been popularized as the nation’s leading smoothie chain,” said James White, president and CEP, Jamba, Inc. “And although we have introduced baked goods, snacks and most recently oatmeal to the menu, we felt that Jamba Juice was ready for a dramatic transformation. With the addition of food and cold teas, we are able to give our customers what they really want—tasty, high quality foods that are quick and easy!”

Source: Jamba Inc.