McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner announced that Ralph Alvarez has decided to retire as president and chief operating officer of the company for health-related reasons.

"After more than 30 years in the restaurant industry, the past 15 with this great brand McDonald's, I've decided to retire," Alvarez said. "Seven orthopedic surgeries and years of chronic pain culminating in two total knee replacements in the past six months have made me realize it's time to move on."

Alvarez' retirement is effective December 31, 2009. He has also decided to resign as a member of the McDonald's Board of Directors.

"I know this was a difficult decision, but it was the right one for Ralph and his family," Skinner said. "On behalf of the entire McDonald's system, I want to commend Ralph for his many contributions to our business. McDonald's has benefited greatly from Ralph's leadership and commitment to operational excellence."

As a result of this change, the company's Area of the World executive leadership team, responsible for the operation of McDonald's 32,000 restaurants worldwide, will now report directly to Skinner.

Alvarez, 55, joined McDonald's in 1994. He has held a variety of leadership roles throughout his McDonald's career, including President of McDonald's North America and President of McDonald's USA. Prior to that, he served as Chief Operations Officer and President of the Central Division, both with McDonald's USA. Before joining the U.S. business, he was President of McDonald's Mexico.

Source: McDonald's Corp.

House of Raeford Farms, plant manager face indictment

House of Raeford Farms faces 14 counts of violating the federal Clean Water Act and is alleged to have continued to discharge water containing untreated turkey waste after its output overwhelmed its on-site treatment capacity. A federal grand jury indicted the company and plant manager Gregory Steenblock on charges Monday, AP reports.

The company and Steenblock are accused of knowingly bypassing its water treatment system 14 times between 2005 and 2006, allowing the wastewater to go directly to the city's municipal sewage treatment works. Those bypasses and the failure to report them violated an earlier agreement by House of Raeford to stop releasing untreated waste from its plant in Raeford, N.C.

If convicted, the company could face a maximum fine of $500,000 per count. Steenblock could face a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count. House of Raeford Farms said it and its employees are innocent. "We look forward to a full and fair hearing of the facts," the company said in a statement. Steenblock did not return a call to his home Tuesday.

Source: Associated Press

National Beef sets IPO price range

National Beef Inc. set an estimated price range of $15 to $17 a share in its upcoming initial public offering. According to MarketWatch reports, the company will raise approximately $276 million by offering 17.25 million shares with underwriters Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse. The company will trade on the new York Stock Exchange under the symbol NBP.

Source: MarketWatch

Brucellosis found in Idaho herd

The infection bacterial disease has been found in a beef cow in eastern Idaho, the AP reports, and the state agriculture officials are trying to determine if it is an isolated case or if it has spread to other herds. An animal from a newly assembled 600-head herd tested positive for brucellosis Monday. No calves or bred females had been sold from the herd.

The herd has been quarantined and is being tested, and the source of the infection is still being determined. It is not yet certain where the animal's owner bought it, but the owner has been cooperating with the investigation. The infected animal and other cattle in the herd had been vaccinated for brucellosis.

Source: Associated Press