Iowa Premium Pork's Hospers, Iowa, plant was damaged after an apparent electrical problem sparked a fire in one of the plants coolers on Sunday, damaging the plant. However, a spokesman for the company said that all 170 employees are expected to be back at work today.

There were no injuries reported in the fire, which occurred when the building was empty. Bart Bickley, the company's chief operating officer, said that the fire broke out in a “favorable location,” making it possible for the plant to get back online quickly. The company will not be at 100 percent capacity, though.

Iowa Premium Pork was founded in 2004 and was founded with the goal of establishing a harvesting and processing facility for Iowa hog producers and a venue to market niche pork products to the wholesale and retail markets. The company is in the midst of an expansion to expand the plant's capacity from 700 to 1,200 head per day.

Sources: Associated Press, KITV, Iowa Premium Pork

Oklahoma poultry trial update: Oklahoma didn't do enough, processors claim

The poultry processors currently on trial in Oklahoma have stated that Oklahoma could have fixed the pollution problem without a lawsuit but didn't do so. The defense cross-examined Ed Fite, director of Oklahoma's Scenic Rivers Commission, who testified last week that he had been in talks with the poultry industry for more than a decade on how the industry could improve its practices to no avail.

Forbes reports that the industry's attorney questioned Fite on why Oklahoma had regulated its farmers better, by banning them from letting their cattle defecate in streams and rivers or regulating the use of commercial fertilizer, which contains the same phosphorus that poultry litter does.

"The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission has done what we could," Fite responded.

Source: Forbes

Hormel donates Spam to Philippines

Hormel Foods Corp. today announced a 30,240-pound donation of SPAM product to the Philippine National Red Cross to help feed those in the country affected by the recent typhoons. The company is also matching up to $10,000 from employee monetary donations.

“We are deeply saddened by the lives that were lost and all of the damage in the Philippines as a result of the typhoons,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and CEO. “We sincerely hope these donations will help the Red Cross assist those in need.”

Hormel Foods and San Miguel Corp. have a joint venture, Purefoods-Hormel Co., located in Marikini. The employees who were at the plant during the flood were able to evacuate, but many of these individuals lost their homes and cars.

The SPAM product donation to the Red Cross was made possible with the product and logistical cooperation of Puregold, a retailer in the Philippines.

Source: Hormel Foods

Curly's Barbecue adds online game

Curly’s, known for its “Always Pulled, Never Shredded” barbecue entrees, has launched the Curly’s Challenge, an online game of chance where players can win free Curly’s barbecue, print coupons and research a variety of barbeque recipes

“Consumer research indicated that our typical consumers, women ages 25 to 54, are increasingly playing online games,” said John Pauley, president of Curly’s. “The Curly’s Challenge allows this demographic to interact with our brand in an enjoyable way.”

Contestants will encounter an electronic slot machine and will “pull” the lever to match three photos of Curly’s products. If they’re successful, they will win a free Curly’s multi-pak; those who do not match the three photos will have the option to print a $1 off coupon that can be redeemed at their local grocery store. Multiple players per day will win free Curly’s products.

“Instead of offering one huge prize, we’re giving away our coupons to everyone who plays, meaning each contestant is a winner. We think this will create a positive experience and will help maintain a healthy relationship with our brand,” said Pauley.

After the initial try, contestants can play the game once per day until the Curly’s Challenge ends on December 27, 2009. The coupon offer, however, is only available after the first attempt. Players also can check out a host of Curly’s barbeque recipes, where they can learn unique ways to prepare the product, such as BBQ Chicken Pizza, BBQ Stuffed Pepper, BBQ Lettuce Wraps and more.

Source: Curly's Foods

Sara Lee partners with Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation

Sara Lee Corp. is teaming with many food and beverage peer companies, customers and non-governmental organizations to help the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation reduce obesity by 2015.

The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation will promote the concept of energy balance – balancing calories consumed as part of a healthy diet with calories expended by physical activity – to people in the places where they spend much of their time: to consumers in the marketplace, to employees through workplace programs and to children in schools.

"Sara Lee Corp. is committed to offering a spectrum of products while keeping in mind both the physical and emotional well-being of our consumers, said CJ Fraleigh, executive vice president and chief executive officer, Sara Lee North American Retail and Foodservice. “We have many products in our portfolio that satisfy the demand for improved nutrition and will continue to increase these offerings under all of our major brands."

Members of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation have already committed $20 million to this joint initiative to raise awareness about the importance of balancing a healthy diet with physical activity, particularly among children ages six to 11 years old and their parents and caregivers. This effort will include a soon-to-be announced national public education campaign on energy balance.

Source: Sara Lee Corp.