China has announced anti-dumping duties of up to 105.4 percent on imported U.S. chicken products after a preliminary investigation concluded that the products were being sold at improperly low prices, harming Chinese competitors. The investigation was begun after the United States raised the duties on Chinese-made tires as the result of a similar investigation, which drew harsh complaints from China.

According to AP reports, the duties will take affect on Feb. 13 and will apply to whole birds, chicken sausage and other products, including chicken feet, which is considered a delicacy in China. Companies that appealed the ruling will pay lower duties of 43.1 percent (such as Tyson foods) to 80.5 percent (such as Pilgrim’s Pride). Any company that didn’t appeal will have to pay the full rate of 105.4 percent.

U.S. President Barack Obama said this week Washington would take a tougher stand against Beijing in disputes over trade and currency. China's foreign ministry criticized the comments and said its currency controls are not to blame for the country's trade surplus.

Source: Associated Press

Daniele expands recall again; two pepper distributors supplied contaminated product

For a second time, Danlele Inc. has expanded its recall to include more products that may be contaminated with Salmonella. The recall now stands at 1,263,754 pounds of Italian sausage products. The additions to the recall include packages of Daniele “Naturale Salame” and “Salame Grande” coated with coarse black pepper or pork fat and pepper.

The state of Rhode Island has named Wholesome Spice and Seasonings and Mincing Overseas Spice Co. as two distributors that have supplied Daniele with imported black pepper. Samples from both distributors have tested positive for Salmonella. All other tests of employees and the facilities are negative at this time, and the state said that the findings are consistent with Daniele Inc.’s history of negative tests, both in-house and from the USDA.

"These recent findings show that black pepper used during the manufacturing process at Daniele was the likely source of this outbreak," said Rhode Island's Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH, according to Food Safety News. "This outbreak only underscores the importance of closely monitoring food that is imported from other countries as they may not have the same food safety standards as we do."

Daniele now purchases black pepper that has already been treated to assure the elimination of Salmonella and other infectious organisms. Daniele is testing all lots of new products before they leave the manufacturing plant for distribution. In addition, the company continues to clean and sanitize all areas and equipment to ensure safe products.

Sources: FSIS, Food Safety News

Tyson reports strong Q1 results from all protein sectors

Tyson Foods Inc. reported Q1 sales of $6.635 billion, up from last year’s $6.521 billion, as well as an operating income of $314 million, a considerable change from last year’s Q1 operating loss of $198 million. All operating segments were profitable, with three above their normalized ranges, the company reported. Chicken had an operating income of $78 million, beef had $119 million, pork had $62 million and prepared foods had $55 million.

"With more than half a billion dollars in operating cash flow, we generated a record first quarter EPS of $0.42 and drove down net debt by $400 million," said Donnie Smith, Tyson's president and chief executive officer. "Beef, Pork and Prepared Foods continued to execute well, and Chicken began to show the improvement we've been working toward for more than a year," Smith said. "Our team members did a great job of staying focused and making progress week after week. We're developing momentum that I believe will continue through the year and into 2011."

Smith also gave outlooks for each of the different operating segments for FY2010:

Chicken – We expect seasonal demand will improve as we get further into fiscal 2010, and we expect the pricing environment to improve aided by cold storage inventories and pullet placements which are down relative to the levels we have seen over the last several years. We also currently expect to see grain costs down as compared to fiscal 2009. Additionally, we will continue to focus on making operational improvements to help maximize our margins.

Beef – While we expect a reduction in cattle supplies of approximately 1% in fiscal 2010, we do not expect a significant change in the fundamentals of our Beef business as it relates to the previous few quarters. We expect adequate supplies to operate our plants. We will manage our spreads by maximizing our revenues through product mix and minimizing our operating costs, while keeping our focus on quality and customer service.

Pork – We expect to see a gradual decline in hog supplies through the first half of fiscal 2010, which will accelerate into the second half of fiscal 2010, resulting in industry slaughter slightly higher than 2007. However, we still believe we will have adequate supplies in the regions in which we operate. We will manage our spreads by continuing to control our costs and maximizing our revenues.

Prepared Foods – Raw material costs will likely increase in fiscal 2010, but we have made some changes in our sales contracts that move us further away from long-term fixed price contracts toward formula or shorter-term pricing, which will better enable us to absorb rising raw material costs. However, in the second quarter fiscal 2010, we will see a negative impact until some price increases take effect.”

Source: Tyson Foods Inc., CNN

Pilgrim's Pride makes increases in chicken production, may reopen idled plant

U.S. chicken producer Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said it has made modest increases in chicken production to serve new customers and is considering reopening one of the plants it idled last year, Reuters reports.

The company, which exited bankruptcy in December, closed a number of plants as part of its restructuring during the past year. Chief Executive Don Jackson said during a earnings webcast on Thursday that there are no plans to close additional plants.

Source: Reuters

Northern Beef Packers gets $5 million loan

The South Dakota Boats of Economic Development has given Northern Beef Packers a $5 million loan to open a long-delayed processing plant in Aberdeen. Gov. Mike Rounds said that the company still must obtain conventional financing to build the project, which is expected to cost around $120 million. When completed, the plant is expected to process 1,500 cattle a day and employ more than 560 workers, reportsBusiness Week.

The governor added that the company is expected to have project financing completed in the next three months, and the plant could be built and begin operation later this year. the Northern Beef Packers plant was originally supposed to be built in 2006 but has experienced several delays.

Source: Business Week