A report in theWall Street Journalstates that Brazilian processor JBS SA, parent company of JBS Swift, is about to pay $2 billion to acquire Pilgrim’s Pride. The deal could be announced as soon as next week, the paper reports, with the money being raised by the initial stock offering for JBS USA Holdings.

The rumor originally started in the Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico, which published an article stating that the deal was imminent. Nobody from either JBS or Pilgrim’s Pride is commenting on the matter. Pilgrim’s issued statements to several media outlets that said, “We do not comment on rumors or speculation.”

Pilgrim’s Pride declared bankruptcy nine months ago and has streamlined its process by idling plants and selling one to Foster Farms this year. Recent reports from the company indicated that it was on track to emerge from bankruptcy later this year. JBS SA had attempted to add on to its North American business holdings by acquiring National Beef last year. While that deal failed to go through, it did acquire the beef operations of Smithfield Foods. Should the company acquire Pilgrim’s Pride, it would immediately rival Tyson Foods as the largest meat processor in the country.

Source: Dallas Business Journal, Wall Street Journal, The Big Money

Pork exports to Caribbean remain strong

The Caribbean has been a bright spot for U.S. meat exports so far this year, with pork, beef and lamb exports all showing double-digit volume increases over the first half of 2008.

U.S.pork exports (including variety meat) have been particularly strong, increasing by 46 percent in volume and 44 percent in value over last year.

USMEF Caribbean representative Elizabeth Wunderlich says pork has not only become more popular with the region’s local population, but also with its hotel and restaurant industries. She explains that because Caribbean tourism has been struggling amid the global economic crisis, U.S. pork is providing an appealing, economical alternative for many foodservice providers.

Wunderlich also notes that with only a few exceptions, market access for U.S. pork has been fairly open and reliable in the region.

Source: U.S. Meat Export Federation

Reservations being accepted for AAMP 2010 convention & trade show

Reservations are being accepted for exhibit booth space at the 71st American Convention of Meat Processors & Suppliers’ Exhibition. The trade show and educational meeting for U.S., Canadian, and Foreign operators of small and very small meat, poultry, and food businesses will be held July 15-17, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center.

The Suppliers’ Exhibition will be part of the three-day annual event sponsored by the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) and will be held in Exhibit Hall A & B of the Hyatt Regency Crown Center. The exhibit halls will be open on July 15, 16, and 17, coordinated with, but not conflicting with, concurrent educational sessions and demonstrations.

Exhibiting firms will include suppliers of processing equipment; packaging supplies and equipment; technical and computer services; deli, mail order and catering supplies; marketing aids; transportation, chilling and building information; laboratory services and testing equipment; consultants in various food processing areas; and more. A sell-out is anticipated for the July 2010 Convention.

AAMP is the largest meat trade organization in the U.S., representing nearly 1400 meat plants and supplier companies. For more information about exhibiting in the trade show, contact Jodi Bartlett, AAMP, One Meating Place, Elizabethtown, PA 17022. Phone: (877) 877- 0168, Fax: (717) 367-9096, or e-mail: jodi@aamp.com.

Source: AAMP

Olive Garden adds new dishes

Olive Garden is introducing new permanent menu items crafted from fresh, simple ingredients and rooted in Italian culinary tradition. The new dishes include a Pork Milanese entree, Lasagna Fritta appetizer and Zeppoli dessert, each inspired by the Olive Garden executive chefs' annual trip to Italy. Cheese Ravioli joins the children's menu as a kid-friendly, Garden Fare option.

Pork Milanese is a rustic dish prepared with the traditional scaloppini technique used in Italy. A pork loin is pounded until fork tender, then dredged in a blend of panko, herbed breadcrumbs, fresh parsley and parmesan cheese and pan seared until the crust becomes golden brown. Accompanied by asiago-filled tortelloni tossed with fresh spinach in a garlic cream sauce, the dish is finished tableside with a squeeze of lemon as is classically done in Italy.

Source: Olive Garden