Japan has suspended beef shipments from a Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. plant in Lexington, Neb., because of a beef shipment that contained banned cattle parts. Japanese inspectors found bovine spinal columns in one of the 732 boxes sent from the plant last month. The box in question contained 35 pounds of chilled short loin with spinal bones, AP reports.

Japan had suspended shipments from the facility once before in 2007. The country has asked the USDA to investigate how the parts ended up in Japan and will await the results of the U.S. investigation before assessing a penalty on the plant.

Source: Associated Press

FDA, Justice Department seek injunction against sandwich maker

The U.S. Department of Justice, on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration, has asked the U.S. District Court of Northern California for a permanent injunction against REL's Foods Inc., seeking to stop the company from making and selling food products. The complaint names REL's general manager and CFO, Peder Scott Sorenson, along with production manager Patrick O'Malley and operations manager Timothy Ault.

The U.S. government alleges that the Oakland-based company has made and distributed sandwiches contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, and that the FDA has found the pathogen inside the plant on numerous occasions since 2002. Routine lab testing by the Department of Defense and the Food and Drug branch of the California Department of Public Health has found Listeria in the plant and in finished sandwiches.

The FDA alleges that the plant has shown poor employee hygiene practices and an inappropriately maintained facility and manufacturing equipment, including excessive condensation that dripped onto surfaces that came in contact with food.

Source: San Francisco Business Journal

Tyson to expand Indiana poultry processing plant

Tyson Foods will be expanding its poultry processing plant in Corydon, Ind., and add nearly 80 jobs to the facility. The company will be moving some chicken deboning operations from plants in Arkansas and Missouri to the Indiana facility and will spend about $626,000 in new equipment, according to AP reports.

The plant, which now employs about 650 people, will have the new production line in operation by December. It produces more than 127 million pounds of fried, marinated and rotisserie chicken year for grocery store delis.

"As part of our ongoing efforts to enhance plant efficiencies, we're making some operational changes that will involve more jobs. Instead of continuing to ship certain cuts of chicken to outside plants in other states for deboning we've decided to do the work right here in Indiana. This means the installation of new equipment at the Corydon facility and the addition of 78 new jobs,” said David Whittington, complex manager for Tyson Foods.

Source: Associated Press, Kokomo Perspective

Denny's unveils a Better Burger

Denny’s is unveiling what it calls a thicker, juicier Better Burger, featuring new ingredients top to bottom, inside and out. The hand-pattied Better Burger with cheese is available now in five varieties served with new wavy-cut fries and a Coke for a starting price of $6.99.

“Burgers are a force to be reckoned with,” said Nelson Marchioli, Denny’s chief executive officer. “Just like Denny’s, they are quintessentially American…the burger unites us, comforts us and is accessible to all of us. Denny’s built a better burger that will be irreplaceable in the hearts, minds and bellies of American consumers…a burger that consumers will want to wrap their hands around and savor sitting down.”

Denny’s Better Burger offers 100-percent seasoned beef, hand-pressed and grilled, layered with melted cheese, topped off with shredded lettuce, thick-cut pickles, fresh tomatoes and sliced red onion all cradled in a specially baked, just-right-size, toasted bun.

The five varieties include:
* Western Burger – Tangy steak sauce drizzled over onion crispers and melted Swiss cheese. 
* Double Cheeseburger – Two beef patties and two slices of cheese.
* Classic Cheeseburger – Choice of American, Swiss, cheddar, or pepper jack cheese.
* Mushroom Swiss Burger – Topped with melted Swiss cheese and mushrooms sautéed in garlic and herbs. 
* Bacon Cheddar Burger – A classic burger topped with crisp bacon and cheddar cheese.

Source: Denny's