The agriculture union of the Public Service Alliance of Canada has said that government meat inspectors would have to work double shifts on a regular basis to complete all the tasks required to ensure that processors are complying with food safety rules. The union stated that inspectors in Canada's larger cities, such as Toronto, Montreal and the Greater Vancouver area are responsible for about five facilities apiece.

"It's just not possible to verify that safety rules are being followed in Canadian processed meat facilities," said union president Bob Kingston, according to Canwest News Service. Kingston and three inspectors are testifying at a parliamentary probe into the listeriosis outbreak at Maple Leaf Foods last year.

Kingston estimated that ready-to-eat plants require inspectors to spend about 800 hours a year (out of 1,900 estimated work hours) to complete all the tasks specified by Canada's new Compliance Verification System. He said that the new inspection system is so time consuming that inspectors are spending less time on the plant floor observing employee behavior and monitoring sanitary conditions.

Source: Canwest News Service

Villa Roma Sausage Co. hits home run with Anaheim Angels

Villa Roma Sausage Co., a division of Heatherfield Foods Inc., announced a partnership with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The company has been selected as supplier and concession sponsor for all seven sausage concession stands throughout the Angels' stadium.

“We at Villa Roma are pleased to be associated with the World Champion Angels,” said Edward Lopes, founder and CEO of the company. “We are excited about the opportunities before us. Villa Roma will supply the highest quality, most flavorful products available. As a local Southern California manufacturer, we are honored that a major league franchise such as the Angels would consider us as a primary vendor and sponsor. Here’s to a long and prosperous relationship between our two teams."

Villa Roma was founded in 1987 and is located in Ontario, Calif. It is the largest producer of Italian sausage in the western United States and produces a variety of pork and chicken sausages.

Source: Villa Roma Sausage Co.

Pilgrim's repays $450 million debt

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. announced that it had fully repaid its $450 million debtor-in-possession financing facility as of May 15, 2009. This comes on the heels of completing the sale of its chicken complex in Farmerville, La., to Foster Farms for approximately $72.3 million. The final sale price was adjusted for associated inventory and other reimbursements. The Farmerville complex includes a processing facility, a cook plant, two hatcheries, a feed mill and a protein conversion plant. As such, the proceeds of the Farmerville sale will be held in a cash collateral account and used for general corporate operating purposes as needed.

Source: Pilgrim's Pride Corp.