Sara Lee announced that it will open a state-of-the-art slicing facility in Kansas City, Kan., employing 250 people at the former ConAgra Foods plant. The plant is expected to be fully operational by early 2011.

“This industry-leading facility will reinforce our competitive advantage in value-added meats, one of Sara Lee’s top strategic categories and long-term growth drivers,” said C.J. Fraleigh, executive vice president and CEO, North American Retail & Foodservice. “It will help us further build our Hillshire Farm and Sara Lee brands, both leaders in the fast-growing category of premium lunch meat.” Sara Lee will invest more than $130 million in the 187,000 square foot facility.

The plant is the site of a former shooting that left the gunman and five others dead, according to the Kansas City Star. It has been vacant for more than two years. Sara Lee has been given a 10-year, 75 percent property tax abatement for the project, and in return, the company will set aside 55 percent of its jobs for Wyandotte County residents.

Source: Kansas City Star, Sara Lee Corp.

Metal clips in meat lead to recall

Holten Meat, Inc., a Sauget, Ill., establishment, is recalling approximately 241,000 pounds of ground beef product that may contain foreign materials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced. The recall affects 20-pound cases of "100% Pure Ground Beef Bulk." Each case contains four 5-pound Keeper Casing Chubs per box, which can be identified by the package code "12000" and the label code "1007982112000." Each product is also labeled "Packed for institutional use only" — "Not for resale."

Each label bears the establishment number "EST-02591" inside the USDA mark of inspection. The product was produced on various dates from January 2009 through May 2009 and was distributed to institutions in Del., Fla., Ill., Ky., N.C., N.M., Ohio, S.C., Tenn., Texas, and Va.

The problem was discovered after the company received complaints from institutional customers about finding metal clips, which were used to seal the casing chubs, in the product. FSIS has not received any consumer complaints at this time. Neither FSIS nor the establishment has received reports of injury at this time.

Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

Idaho firm recalls beef imported improperly from Canada

XL Four Star Beef, Inc, a Nampa, Idaho, establishment is recalling approximately 14,560 pounds of beef primal and subprimal products that were imported from Canada and not presented for re-inspection upon entry into the United States. The recalled products included a variety of items under the “Ranchers Premium Fed Beef” and “XL Four Star Beef” brands.

The beef products were produced on May 22, 2009, and were distributed to various wholesalers in Ariz., Calif., Ill., Mo., Neb., N.J., N.Y., and Ore. The beef products were distributed only at the wholesale level before the recall; so, none of the beef products would have reached consumers. The problem was discovered by FSIS.

Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

U.S., Russia meat ban talks progressing

U.S. officials say that talks with Russian officials over the meat bans that Russia has enacted over health concerns are heading in the right direction. "We are optimistic that it could come to a positive, if not conclusion, at least development," John Brook, regional director of the U.S. Meat Export Federation for Europe, Russia and the Middle East told Reuters on Thursday.

Russia has banned pork and other meat imports from several states as a result of the H1N1 “swine flu” outbreak, even though world health officials have stressed that the virus is not spread by pork. The country has also banned imports from various processing plants because the product shave not met Russian safety standards.

Sergei Dankvert, head of Rosselkhoznadzor, Russia's farm produce watchdog organization, said that the country would not be pressured to lift any meat bans, which were based on real safety concerns. He added that the bans were not part of Russia's plan to boost domestic meat production.

Source: Reuters

IFT, FPSA co-locate trade shows starting in 2010

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) today announced a new agreement to co-locate the IFT Food Expo and FSPA’s Process Expo at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center beginning in July 18-20, 2010. This combination of two large events will draw a range food industry professionals interested in product development, processing, packaging and the science of food.

Each year, FPSA’s Process Expo draws approximately 10,000 packaging and processing and packaging professionals during its three-day meeting, while the IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo welcomes over 20,000 professionals working in the food science and technology fields. In 2010, the two events will be held on separate expo floors, but will be located in close proximity within McCormick Place Convention Center to expand offerings for those interested in food science and technology, packaging and processing.

“We are extremely pleased that we can generate new opportunities for both our exhibitors and show attendees,” said Barbara Byrd Keenan, IFT executive vice president. “Food industry professionals interested in attending Process Expo will have an additional compelling reason to visit the 2010 Annual Meeting & Food Expo, especially if their work is in the area of food engineering, processing, product development, packaging, quality assurance or foodservice.”

According to FSPA President, George Melynkovich, “this partnership unites the world’s leading suppliers with their customers in the food and beverage industry. The resulting dialog between the two will produce a greater experience for all food professionals at every level of the food value chain.”

Source: Food Processing Suppliers Association