A class-action lawsuit against Tyson Foods by former and current employees who says they weren't paid for prep work will is set for January, 2011. The employees at the Lexington, Neb., processing plant say that they weren't paid for time spent sanitizing equipment, donning protective gear and getting tools to do their job.

The lawsuit, which was first filed in 2006, states that Tyson pays employees four minutes a day to do those activities, though it actually takes more than 30 minutes to complete the tasks. It also notes that more than 2,000 employees have been affected by the compensation issue since 2001.

Source: Associated Press

Mountaire Farms plant to convert to recyclable boxes

Mountaire Farms, the sixth-largest poultry company, and Interstate Container, in partnership with Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery, commenced the conversion of Mountaire’s New York City business and its Lumberbridge, N.C., facility - the largest poultry processing plant in the U.S. - to FBA-certified recyclable boxes supplied by Interstate Container. This conversion will result in the transition of 6,000 tons of poultry boxes per year servicing the New York City market alone. If all of Mountaire’s boxes servicing the New York City market were recycled, greenhouse gases would be reduced by 21,000 mtCO2e per year, equivalent to removing 3,800 passenger cars off the road.

In March 2009, Interstate and Mountaire Farms announced its plans to conduct trials of recyclable modified atmosphere packaging through Hunt’s Point, the world’s largest food distribution center, as part of Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery’s initiative to achieve 100 percent recyclable wholesale transfer packaging through the facility.

Interstate and Mountaire Farms conducted multiple trials on boxes shipped through Hunt’s Point. Trials began pallet by pallet through Hunt’s Point’s harsh conditions and progressed to the truck load, and more recently a two week test shipping where Mountaire product shipped solely in the FBA-Certified recyclable boxes. With these results, Mountaire has announced its plan to not only convert its existing modified atmosphere packaging to recyclable boxes but also to convert its ice pack product to modified atmosphere packaging to allow for a full transition of its entire product line to recyclable boxes. Full conversion at Mountaire’s Lumberbridge, N.C., facility is expected to be completed during 2010. Packaging at Mountaire’s other facilities is expected to be converted to the recyclable boxes by the end of the 2010 calendar year.

The switch to FBA-certified recyclable packaging is only one component of the sustainable packaging transition. The switch in packaging methods from ice pack to modified atmosphere packaging will result in significant water and energy savings. The box size was reduced, and inner plastic bag eliminated, also reducing use of corrugated and plastic. Overall water, energy, and greenhouse gas savings associated with the design and packaging of the poultry is being calculated. The package also passed the ISO 16929 protocol for plastic disintegration in a pilot scale composting facility.

According to Pete Bugas, national account manager, Interstate Container, “This a major step to permanently remove wax boxes not only from Hunts Point, but throughout the supply chain in the United States. This box now provides the end-user with a recycling option; it also is certified compostable, which is yet another avenue to prevent boxes from being land-filled.”

According to Annie White, director of Global Green, “Achieving 100% recyclable packaging through Hunt’s Point would divert over 30,000 tons/yr of corrugated from the landfill and would reduce greenhouse gases by 103,000mtCO2e/yr, equivalent to taking 19,000 cars off the road, and would set the standard for greening transfer packaging throughout the world.”

According to Larry Saywell, vice president of marketing, Mountaire Farms, “Because we’re an agricultural company, we have an obligation to take care of the earth. In order to sustain our business, we need to have good soil, clean water, and clean air to grow our crops and raise our chickens. It is all part of our way of being.”

Source: Global Green USA

Sara Lee names new CFO

Sara Lee Corporation announced today that it has named Marcel H. M. Smits executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective October 1, 2009. Smits, 48, will have responsibility for the corporation’s accounting, tax, treasury, procurement and information technology (IT) departments. Smits will report to Brenda C. Barnes, Sara Lee Corp.’s chairman and chief executive officer.

"Marcel brings great finance leadership and international expertise and we’re delighted to have him join our team," said Barnes. "He’s a seasoned professional with broad experience in consumer packaged goods and retail and we expect him to quickly contribute to our finance, operations and global business strategy."

Smits joins Sara Lee from Dutch telecom leader Koninklijke KPN NV, where he served as chief financial officer and as a member of the management board. At KPN, Smits oversaw a number of acquisitions and restructurings which drove top-line growth and bottom-line savings. Prior to KPN, Smits was chief financial officer and a member of the management board of Vendex KBB (now known as Maxeda), a Dutch retail group, where he also managed the IT function. In addition, Smits held various financial and management positions in Europe, South America and Asia in his 13-year career at Unilever.

"It is exciting to join a company with such strong talent, optimism, energy and passion for excellence," said Smits. "What attracted me to this opportunity is the potential to contribute to value creation on the back of innovation and execution of strategy."

Source: Sara Lee Corp.

Nominations sought for Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame

Know of an unsung hero or heroes in the state’s meat business? You have until Nov. 6 to nominate him, her or them for the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame.

Since 1993, this honor has been bestowed on more than 60 individuals, representing every phase of the industry. Previous inductees include researchers, policymakers, professors, equipment suppliers and operators of both large and small processing plants. Their names and bios are posted online at www.ansci.wisc.edu/Meat_HOF.

The nominating committee is now seeking names of individuals to induct in 2010.
To submit a nomination for the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame, download a nomination form at http://www.ansci.wisc.edu/Meat_HOF or contact Elton Aberle, eda@cals.wisc.edu, (608)890-0959, or Jeff Sindelar, jsindelar@wisc.edu, (608)262-0555, at UW-Madison Meat Science Lab, 1805 Linden Dr., Madison, WI 53706.

Nominations must be received by Nov. 6, 2009, to be considered for the Class of 2010.

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

NCBA Young Producers' Council starts Cattle Call blog

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Young Producers’ Council (YPC) has motivated the newest faces of U.S. cattle production to tell their story on the organization’s blog, Cattle Call (http://ypcblog.beefusa.org/).

“Our generation gets its information through media outlets that our predecessors never dreamed of,” said Cari Rincker, chair of the YPC Public Relations Committee and an attorney based in New York specializing in agricultural law. “It’s important that we take advantage of those outlets to reach out to our membership and consumers at large to tell our story.”

To accomplish that goal, the group established a blog that was launched on Sept. 22, 2009. This effort compliments the group’s existing presence on Facebook. Cattle Call bloggers are from throughout the United States and make up a diverse group of young cattle farmers and ranchers.

Blair Hunewill, is a sixth-generation rancher from California who authored the blog’s first installment. “The purpose of this blog is to discuss current issues that we feel are important to the cattle industry and of particular importance to America’s young producers,” wrote Hunewill.

Other bloggers for Cattle Call are Richard “Ricky” Booth (Fla.), Chelsea Good (Kan.), Doug Ferguson (Neb.), Jenna Feusener (Wash.), Matt Hardecke (Mo.), Traci Middleton (Tenn.), Katlin Mulvaney (Ala.), Travis Reid (Penn.), Brian Spitzer (Kan.) and Crystal Young (Mo.). Rincker will serve as editor of the blog.

Source: NCBA