McDonald's will officially begin selling its new Angus burgers, priced around $4, today, after a long test period. The burgers are made of 1/3-pound Angus patties and come in three varieties – Deluxe,  Mushroom Swiss and Bacon and Cheese.

The burgers will be on the menu for at least the first few months, though the restaurant has not stated that they will become part of the core menu. The burger had been available at more than 1,000 restaurants across the country but had not been released nationwide as McDonald's focused on its core menu and lower-priced offerings.

"Customers are looking for great tasting burgers at a value that only McDonald's can offer," said McDonald's spokesman Danya Proud. "These premium burgers are a tremendous value compared to similar fast-casual and midscale offers."

Source: Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times

Poultry companies in Oklahoma suit ask for trial delay

A dozen poultry companies in Arkansas that are being sued by Oklahoma's attorney general are asking for the judge to postpone the trial. They are asking for the postponement because Attorney General Drew Edmonson's office has been submitting hundreds of pages of expert testimony and sampling data, and they say they need more time to review all the paperwork.

The companies are being sued for allegedly polluting the Illinois River watershed with chicken waste. The trial date had been set for Sept. 21. The motion asking for the delay stated, "Despite this court's repeated admonitions and instructions, plaintiffs have continued with improper attempts to supplement their expert-based case with new sampling data and previously undisclosed expert analyses and opinions... Defendants simply are unable to prepare for trial while they are forced continually to file a series of motions to stop plaintiffs from changing their expert case at the last minute."

The attorney general's office is against postponing the trial  “The court has set a date, and the state is ready,” spokesman Charlie Price said, according to the Associated Press.

Source: Associated Press

PM Beef offers Retail Ready No Trim line

PM Beef has introduced a new, cost-saving Retail Ready No Trim program for retailers. Retail Ready No Trim primal cuts are delivered to beef retailers completely trimmed to exacting specifications, and are ready to cut and tray for the retail meat case. The new program reduces labor costs and potential for over-trimming, improving the profitability of the fresh-meat case.

John Hagerla, PM Beef’s vice president of global marketing and sales, said, “PM Beef conducted extensive research with fresh-meat department managers to ensure our Retail Ready program was labor-saving, cost-efficient and competitive. The research results were gratifying. Managers reported that the Retail Ready program had improved both the efficiency and profitability of their departments.”

“As one of the first customers for this program, we saw a reduction in trim waste and a more consistently trimmed product for our customers,” said Jason Herfel, executive director of Festival Foods stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn. “With the Retail Ready product, our meat team can focus its attention on servicing customers and selling more product, while offering a fresher product that is cut on demand throughout the day. We know through experience that the fresher the product and appearance of the meat case, the greater sales volume we can achieve.”

The Retail Ready No Trim program is available in all PM Beef customized branded programs, including PM Angus Beef and PM Natural Angus Beef.

Source: PM Beef

Employees at Smithfield Tar Heel plant accept 4-year contract

Employees at Smithfield's Tar Heel, N.C., pork plant have accepted a new four-year contract after a two-day vote, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. It is the first union contract for the 4,600 eligible hourly and maintenance workers.

According to Reuters, the contract took affect on Wednesday and will grant wage increases of $1.50 per hour during the contract, as well as family health care coverage, paid vacation and guaranteed weekly hours.

Source: Reuters

China denies upcoming poultry import ban

A Chinese vice-minister denied that China would be blocking imports of chicken from the United States. This week, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council had told U.S. producers that China would not issue import permits for U.S. poultry products.

"According to our information, China's chicken imports are normal and orderly with stable prices,” said Chen Jian, a vice-commerce minister.

Sources: Reuters, The Guardian