The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today proposed a delay in the implementation of the final rule entitled, "Substances Prohibited from Use in Animal Food or Feed," more commonly referred to as the 2008 BSE final rule. The rule prohibits the use of high-risk cattle material in feed for all animal species.

The final rule, which is scheduled to go into effect on April 27, 2009, would be delayed 60 days to June 26, 2009. The agency is taking this action in response to comments from affected parties expressing concerns about their ability to fully comply with the rule by the April 27, 2009, effective date.

The FDA is providing seven days for public comment solely on the question of whether to delay the effective date. Comments must be submitted within seven days of publication in the Federal Register of the notice of proposed delay of effective date.

Interested persons may submit written comments on or before April 16, 2009, to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

Electronic comments may be submitted to Identify all submissions to the docket with the following docket number: FDA–2002–N–0031 (formerly Docket No. 2002N–0273).

For additional information, please see

Source: American Meat Institute

Chili's adds to Guiltless Grill menu, partners with Curves

Chili's is adding new menu items to their Guiltless Grill and partnering with Curves, the world's leading fitness centers designed specifically for women, to reach out to those practicing a healthier and more active lifestyle.

One element of the partnership is the Guiltless Rewards Sweepstakes launched April 6 on, an online community for women which provides its devoted audience with an array of tools, content and the motivation they need to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Eligible consumers will have the chance to win a $500 Chili's gift card and a 1-year membership to Curves ($700 value) by entering the sweepstakes online from April 6, 2009 through May 31, 2009 at
As a part of the partnership, Curves members received an extra incentive to try the new Guiltless Grill menu items in the form of a $5 off coupon. More than 1 million coupons were hand-distributed to the 2.5 million Curves members in the U.S. in January and February.

"The road to a healthier lifestyle begins with the choices we make every day," said Curves founder Diane Heavin. "Chili's understands our goal of providing women real solutions that allow them to make those healthier choices. Partnering with a national restaurant chain that provides lower calorie options will give our members a chance to dine out without the added stress of searching the menu for a meal that matches their healthier lifestyles."

Source: Brinker International

USDA announces $17 million in grants for new farmers and ranchers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making more than $17 million in grants available under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Vilsack also described recent initiatives, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), designed to help producers and keep farmers on the land.

"This program underscores President Obama's commitment to support the nation's beginning farmers and ranchers," Vilsack said. "Through the beginning farmer and rancher grant program, we can help ensure that we are doing all we can for the next generation of America's farmers and ranchers."

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers -specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or less. Congress authorized the FY 2009 funding for this program in the 2008 Farm Bill, with another $19 million in mandatory funding for FY 2010. Under the program, USDA will make grants available to state, local, tribal, regional, non-profits, community based organizations, academic institutions, and networks of appropriate private and public organizations to design programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.

The projects will be limited to 3 years. Budget requests in the proposals, which are due May 13, 2009, must not exceed $250,000 per year. USDA is looking for proposals from these areas:
    * Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships;
    * Resources and referrals;
    * Assisting beginning farmers or ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and ranchers;
    * Innovative farm and ranch transfer strategies;
    * Entrepreneurship and business training;
    * Model land leasing contracts;
    * Financial management training;
    * Whole farm planning;
    * Conservation assistance;
    * Risk management education;
    * Diversification and marketing strategies;
    * Curriculum development;
    * Understanding the impact of concentration and globalization;
    * Basic livestock and crop farming practices;
    * The acquisition and management of agricultural credit;
    * Environmental compliance;
    * Information processing; and
    * Other similar areas that would be useful to beginners.

More information about the program is at:

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

KFC sues packaging company over Popcorn Chicken Flambé cartons

Fried chicken giant KFC is suing one of its suppliers, saying cups used to hold popcorn chicken have caught fire while being reheated in microwave ovens. Louisville-based KFC claims Paris Packaging of Paris, Texas, changed the content of the black ink on the containers so it now includes carbon, which may catch fire if heated.

The restaurant chain says at least two people reported fires, according to the Houston Chronicle. The suit does not say whether anyone was injured because of the fires.

Source: Houston Chronicle

Benihana reports 5.4% increase in Q4 sales

Miami-based Benihana reported that its total restaurant sales increased 5.4 percent to $73.6 million in the fiscal fourth quarter, up from $69.8 million from a year ago. Total restaurant sales for the year were $404.9 million, up from $295.2 million in 2008.

For fiscal year 2009, Benihana teppanyaki represented approximately 68.1% of consolidated restaurant sales, while RA Sushi and Haru accounted for 20.2% and 11.7% of consolidated restaurant sales, respectively. There were a total of 4,603 store-operating weeks in fiscal year 2009 compared to 4,115 store-operating weeks in fiscal year 2008.

“While it would be premature to suggest that a full economic recovery is imminent, we believe that overall guest counts are beginning to stabilize, and are more hopeful that trends could improve from these levels as we move into fiscal year 2010,” said Richard C. Stockinger, CEO.

Source: Benihana Inc.