More than 140 meat and poultry plants were recognized today for outstanding safety performance at the American Meat Institute Foundation’s annual Conference on Worker Safety, Health, Human Resources and the Environment, held April 5-7, at the Westin Tabor Center, Denver, Colo.

“This program’s ongoing success is a testament to our industry’s strong dedication to workplace safety,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle. “We applaud the efforts of these plants to protect their workers and for their continued commitment to further progress.”

Forty-two plants were recognized with the highest award – the Award of Honor. Forty-seven received the Award of Merit. In addition, 30 plants received the Award of Commendation and 22 received a Certificate of Recognition.

The various levels of awards are earned based on an evaluation of each eligible plant’s actual safety performance, as well as its implementation of various key components of an effective safety and health program as measured by the safety program questionnaire. Each plant’s award application is analyzed by experts at the National Safety Council, who assisted with the development of the program.

The meat and poultry industry’s commitment to improving workplace safety is reflected in the significant and consistent decline in illness and injury rates among its nearly 500,000 workers for more than a decade. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicate that the actual incidence of injuries and illnesses reported in the Meat Industry for 2007 (the most recent year for which data is available) are the lowest since BLS began recording this data in the early 1970s. Over the last 17 years, injury/illness rates in Meat Processing operations have improved by more than 70 percent.

To view a list of this year’s Safety Award winners, click here:

Source: American Meat Institute

Poultry associations form joint councils

U. S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council, and National Turkey Federation have formed joint councils on human resources and safety. The Joint Poultry Industry Human Resources Council and the Joint Poultry Industry Safety and Health Council consolidate what previously were separate committees that addressed similar issues.

The objective is to enhance the coordination of industry programs in these areas. The industry faces challenges that are common to all three organizations, and the joint councils will streamline their efforts and eliminate duplication.

The three organizations established the goals of the new councils:
· Provide a strong unified voice for the poultry industry.
· Promote information exchange between the associations and their members.
· More effectively utilize industry and association resources.
· Reduce the burden on industry representatives by combining the committees.
· Each association may still address species-specific concerns.

“Our three associations bonded our respective Environmental Committees together a few years ago, allowing the industry to speak with a common voice and effectively utilize each organization’s strengths,” said John Starkey, president of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. “We believe this move will enable the industry to enjoy the same efficiency and effectiveness in the critical HR and safety areas,” he added.

George Watts, president of the National Chicken Council also commended the joint effort. “We are pleased to join with the National Turkey Federation and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association in forming industry councils on human resources and safety,” he said. “Workplace safety and health is a key objective and core value for all poultry processing companies. The councils will provide a strong unified voice for the poultry industry and will help us effectively focus time and effort on important issues.”

“The turkey industry is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment where employees can work with respect and dignity,” said National Turkey Federation president Joel Brandenberger. “The joint councils will allow NTF, the National Chicken Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association to collaborate on important worker safety and health issues in a manner that enhances the benefits to members of all three associations. NTF is looking forward to working with the other organizations in this exciting effort,” he said.

Source: National Chicken Council

Bird flu found at Kentucky farm

Kentucky and federal authorities are investigating an outbreak of bird flu on a poultry farm in western Kentucky farm, which produces hatching eggs for Perdue Farms Inc. Approximately 20,000 chickens have been euthanized, said Kentucky's state veterinarian, Robert Stout. The strain of bird flu is considered non-pathogenic or low-pathogenic and poses minimal risk to human health, Business Week reports.

"The state and federal government and Perdue are acting aggressively to contain and eliminate the disease," Stout said. "There is no evidence that any infected poultry are in the human food supply as a result of this infection. We will do what is necessary to minimize the disruption to overseas trade." Already, Stout said, Japan and Russia have banned imports of poultry from Kentucky.

The farm noticed a minimal decrease in egg production in March, and antibodies for avian influenza were found after Perdue's veterinary services laboratory took samples from chickens at the farm. It is the first confirmed case of bird flu in Kentucky.

Source: Business Week

Tyson's Indian venture to focus on ready-to-cook products

Godrej Tyson Foods, the joint venture between Tyson and Godrej Agrovet, is launching a ready-to-cook line of products under the Yummiez brand to appeal to middle-class working families. The company is planning to use the expertise of Tyson in processed foods to enter the market. Presently, it has two brands in the market – Yummiez frozen foods and Real Good dressed chicken products.

“Both the brands are our focus areas. But we plan to launch products in the ready-to-cook space because we think that area is growing” said Sadiq Malik, chief executive officer of Godrej Tyson Foods. “At present Yummiez contributes five per cent of our revenues. We are hoping at least 10 per cent of our revenue will come from this brand,” he said. He said the ready-to-cook category is growing at the rate of 25 percent.


Italian classics added to Carrabba's menu

Carrabba's Italian Grill has introduced new menu items featuring artful twists on Italian classics available now through June. The “Johnny” provides guests with three generous portions of their favorite Carrabba's dishes on one plate along with soup or salad at a great value. The dish features a flavorful combination of original family recipes, including Sirloin Marsala, Chicken Bryan and Mezzaluna Ravioli, selected by founder Johnny Carrabba.

Another new item is Pollo Caprino, featuring fire-roasted chicken amply stuffed with red bell peppers, grilled zucchini and caprino, a soft, creamy Italian cheese. Marsala wine sauce is poured over the dish, topped with fresh, diced tomatoes and served with grilled vegetables. For a casual night out, guests will enjoy Mr. C's Italian Fennel Sausage Pizza, which includes Mr. C's "top secret" family recipe for Italian fennel sausage, roasted bell peppers, mozzarella and goat cheese.

Carrabba's spring sensations include the Penne Franco and the Steak and Blue Cheese Salad. The Penne Franco features penne pasta tossed with fresh grilled chicken, sauteed mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives topped with ricotta salata cheese. A greener alternative is the Steak and Blue Cheese Salad with roasted red and gold beets, fennel, red onions, field greens and blue cheese. The salad is tossed in a zesty balsamic vinaigrette dressing and topped with tender, sliced sirloin steak.

"We are bringing Italian classics and Carrabba's favorites to the forefront of our menu at a great value," said co-founder Johnny Carrabba. "With menu items, such as The Johnny, guests don't have to choose from among their favorite dishes; they can have hearty portions of them all on one plate."

Source: Carrabba's Italian Grill