Cargill has announced plans to vaccinate its animals against the H1N1 influenza virus. Cargill spokesman Mark Klein says the company plany yo inoculate its entire herd, of about 120,000 pigs, NPR reports. Cargill is the country's eighth-largest hog producer.

"One of the vaccine producers has a conditional license and may be able to ship as early as November," Klein said. "We're hoping that's the case because we have our routine semi-annual vaccination program for our sow herds in December. And so we would be looking to incorporate that at that time." Once the sows are vaccinated, they will pass on H1N1 immunity to their offspring.

The USDA is hoping that the vaccination will prevent the human strain of the virus from becoming prevalent in the hog population and mutating into some new virus. Hogs, NPR reports, are susceptible to both human and swine influenza, as well as viruses that affect poultry and other birds. That can lead to the creation of a virus that can be more dangerous to humans.

Source: National Public Radio News

Bone-in beef imports to Taiwan finalized

A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative said that boneless and bone-in beef exports from cattle under 30 months of age are officially eligible to ship to Taiwan, thanks to a new bilateral protocol and a Quality Systems Assessment Program.

Political backlash in Taiwan after it was announced that the bone-in ban had been lifted led to a confusion about the rules in place. The USDA had temporarily put a hold on newly processed beef as officials sought a clarification.

"USDA and USTR continue to consult with Taiwan about the new measures that have been announced and will be updating the export library as needed in the future as we obtain clarity with regard to how these additional measures apply to different products," said Nefeterius McPherson, the spokesman.

Source: Forbes, Reuters

Smithfield, UFCW team to donate 20 million servings of protein

Smithfield, the United Food and Commercial Workers, Food Network celebrity cook, Paula Deen, and volunteers will deliver more than one million servings of protein to the Food Bank For New York City launching the ‘Feeding the Hungry’ Coast-to-Coast Tour to donate and deliver nearly 20 million servings of protein over the next three years to Feeding America – The Nation’s Food Bank Network.

Food Banks nationwide are reporting a 25 percent increase in the number of people coming to them for help. The current recession and the continuing rise in unemployment are having a profound effect on Food Banks’ ability to meet the demand. As a result, food assistance organizations across the country have been reporting over the past year that more individuals and families are turning to them for assistance including more first-time visitors, unemployed workers, employed individuals, seniors and families with children.

“While staggering and disappointing, the Food Bank and its approximately 1,000 member food assistance sites that support New Yorkers in need have seen these numbers continually increase over time,” said Dr. Lucy Cabrera, president and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City. “In fact, the number of New York City residents experiencing difficulty affording food has been escalating for several years doubling from approximately 2 million to approximately 4 million from 2003 to 2008, representing almost half of all city residents.”

Smithfield and the United Food and Commercial Workers will address the need for hunger relief in New York City, November 9th, and will continue their efforts coast-to-coast over the next three years to donate and deliver more than 1,600,000 pounds of protein, or over 6,400,000 servings each year, to help families and individuals become more food secure. A&P, a longstanding retail partner of Smithfield and a dedicated supporter of the Food Bank For New York City, will also be participating in the program with a special promotion in conjunction with Smithfield and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

“Smithfield Foods is committed to hunger relief,” said Dennis Pittman, public affairs director, Smithfield. “We felt the need to help shine a spotlight on an ever-increasing problem for American families. Providing hunger relief will continue to remain a priority.”

“The UFCW is committed to ensuring that families across the country have the relief and the opportunities they need to weather the current economic crises,” said Joe Hansen, UFCW International President. “All across the country UFCW members are on the frontlines of efforts to improve and strengthen their communities, and this new partnership reflects their unwavering commitment to protect and advocate for families during tough times. This partnership is about bringing together organizations with the resources, the relationships and the know-how to ensure that vulnerable communities across the country have access to well-supplied food banks. Our goal is simple: Get good, nutritious food to as many families, in as many communities, as possible.”

‘Feeding the Hungry’ is one of Smithfield Foods’ ‘Helping Hungry Homes’ initiatives. ‘Helping Hungry Homes’ was established to help ensure that American families in need do not go hungry. Smithfield Foods and its independent operating companies have a long history of stocking food banks, supporting after-school nutrition programs and providing food relief in the wake of natural disasters.

“The current economic crisis has had a critical affect on the Food Bank For New York City’s ability to meet the demand, but this gracious donation from Smithfield and the United Food and Commercial Workers will help us continue to serve the thousands of New York City residents in need this holiday season and beyond,” said Dr. Cabrera.

Source: Smithfield Foods Inc.

Ruby Tuesday changes menu

Ruby Tuesday has debuted a new menu, with more than 27 brand new items, including an expanded selection of quesadillas, entree salads, and lobster entrees, as well as classic favorites like Ruby Minis, handcrafted burgers and fork-tender ribs. The company says its new menu is a reflection of the changing preferences of Ruby Tuesday's customers and clearly displays its commitment to quality, freshness, variety, and value. Sandy Beall, the founder and CEO of Ruby Tuesday, says "We're excited about the new bold flavors on this menu and believe our guests will love them as much as they love their old favorites."

"Ruby Tuesday has made it a priority to use fresh ingredients in a variety of dishes, like our fresh, never-frozen burgers and all-natural fresh chicken, all offered at great value," says Kimberly Grant, Ruby Tuesday's Executive Vice President. She points out that Ruby Tuesday is also one of the world's largest buyers of jumbo lump crab meat. "Our guests are able to enjoy a premium crab cake entree at an affordable price."

Source: Ruby Tuesday Inc.