Sara Lee Deli has launched four new premium lower sodium sliced-to-order deli meats, with flavors including Oven Roasted Turkey Breast, Honey Ham, Oven Roasted Chicken Breast and Roast Beef. Due in stores in spring 2009, the company says that the Sara Lee Lower Sodium deli line promises the great flavor traditionally expected from Sara Lee Deli without compromising taste, a key attribute as people look to make nutritious decisions at the deli counter.

“Our customers have told us they aren’t willing to sacrifice taste when it comes to buying lower sodium foods, which is why our new deli varieties offer the best of both worlds,” said Jonathan Drake, vice president, Sara Lee Deli. “When selecting the Sara Lee sliced-to-order lower sodium deli meats, an individual can create a great-tasting, tailor made, gourmet-style sandwich at home that’s delicious and nutritious. In addition, the behind-the-deli counter option can be more affordable given consumers only buy what they need, when they need it.”

Sara Lee Lower Sodium deli meats are significantly lower in sodium than their counterpart non-reduced sodium meats based on USDA data:

* Oven Roasted Turkey Breast – 40 percent less sodium than USDA data for oven roasted turkey breast
* Honey Ham, Water Added – 36 percent less sodium than USDA data for ham, water added
* Oven Roasted Chicken Breast – 42 percent less sodium than USDA data for oven roasted chicken breast
* Roast Beef – 41 percent less sodium than USDA data for roast beef

Source: Sara Lee Corp.

Russia bans meat-processing plants from around the world

In events unrelated to the H1N1 flu outbreak, Russia banned meat exports from several plants worldwide for violating Russian veterinary rules. An Australian plant was banned for shipping kangaroo meat withSalmonellaand an Argentine plant for exporting beef liver with the antibiotic tetracycline.

Four Brazilian plants were banned for shipping pork and beef containing coliform and mesophilic aerobic bacteria, and four U.S. plants were banned for shipping beef and pork for those bacteria as well as Salmonella. Three Canadian plants and four German plants shipped pork fat and pork with either mesophilic aerobic bacteria or Salmonella, and a plant in Italy and one in Slovakia were banned for unspecified reasons.

Russia has been criticized for banning pork imports from 11 U.S. states, 3 Canadian provinces, Spain, and 9 Latin American countries in the wake of the flu outbreak. Furthermore, all meat imports from Mexico, California, South Carolina, New York, and Texas have been banned. According to Reuters, Russia aims to become self sufficient in pork and poultry meat by 2012.

Sources: Reuters, Foodbizdaily

Ground beef recalled over E. coli concerns

Alex & George Wholesale, Inc., a Rochester, New York firm, is recalling approximately 4,663 pounds of ground beef products because they may be contaminated withE. coliO157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

The products subject to recall are 10-, 25- and 30-pound poly bags of “A&G Brand” products, including ground beef and ground beef patties. These ground beef products were produced on April 29 and distributed to restaurants in western New York.

The problem was discovered through a routine FSIS sampling procedure. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product.

Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service

FSIS issues directive on sanitary dressing, process control procedures

The Food Safety and Inspection Service issued Directive 6401.1, which provides off-line inspection program personnel (IPP) with information regarding how to verify that cattle slaughter operations are focusing on sanitary dressing and process control procedures and that those procedures are under control.

The directive reads: “FSIS has observed a number of significant adverse developments involving Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli O157:H7) over the past year. They include an increased number of E. coli O157:H7 positive samples of ground beef and trim collected by FSIS and an increased number of recalls associated with E. coli O157:H7, including those specifically initiated as a consequence of human illness. These increases can be attributed, in part, to ineffective sanitary dressing and process control procedures that create insanitary conditions during slaughter. Effective sanitary dressing and process control procedures are crucial to an establishment’s ability to produce a clean, safe, and wholesome product.

“Events such as the increase in FSIS percent positive trim and ground beef samples for E. coli O157:H7 are evidence that many beef slaughter HACCP systems are inadequate. The CCPs at these beef slaughter operations may no longer be capable of ensuring that they are reducing E. coli O157:H7 to an undetectable level. This is, in part, because the sanitary dressing and process control procedures in slaughter operations are inadequate.”

The directive can be read at

Source: American Meat Institute, Food Safety and Inspection Service

JTM Food Group hired executive chef

JTM Food Group Inc. today announced the addition of the company's new Executive Chef, Robert Lafond. Chef Lafond has significant food service experience and culinary expertise and will head up the company’s culinary development team.

Chef Lafond comes to JTM with over 25 years experience working for contract foodservice providers as well as hotel & restaurant sites. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and is a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) with the American Culinary Federation. Most recently, Chef Lafond worked for Sodexo Foodservice, Government Services Division, as director of concept development. He has led multiple large, integrated projects, including the start up and implementation of the USMC food service program supporting Garrison foodservice for the Marine Corps. He has also served with Sodexo as a chef manager, general manager and area executive chef.

According to Jack Maas, vice president of sales and research & development, "Robert brings to JTM a hands-on approach to servicing our customers. He combines great industry experience and culinary skills with a customer-first attitude. We think he fits perfectly our mission of providing our customers with strategic solutions to their culinary needs." Maas added, "We are excited about bringing our customers a talent like Robert. He will be able to assist our customers in everything from menu applications and concept development to custom culinary solutions."

Source: JTM Food Group