The Michigan state Senate called on Gov. Jennifer Granholm to rescind her proclamation urging Michiganders to give up meat for a day Saturday to recognize the healthiness of vegetarian diets.

Granholm’s Tuesday proclamation that Saturday would be a "Michigan Meatout Day" stirred outrage by agriculture groups, particularly those representing beef, pork and poultry farmers. The Senate voted 25-12 for a resolution urging Granholm to take back her proclamation, with three Democrats joining all 22 Republicans in support.

The vote came as 30 agricultural organizations visited the Capitol and sponsored a free corned beef and cabbage lunch for legislators for the annual Ag Day.

“It’s important to send a message to the agricultural community that we’re not going to take this lying down,” said Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland.

His was among 20 minutes of commentary by Senate Republicans denouncing Granholm’s official proclamation.

The Senate resolution says Granholm's proclamation "could have a devastating effect on the livestock industry in Michigan, and says she instead should stress the need for a balanced diet.

Source: The Detroit Free Press

Canadian company banned from exporting meat to U.S.

Canwest News Service has revealed that Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has banned Siena Foods Ltd., headquartered in Toronto, from exporting meat to the United States. The company has been allowed to continue producing meat for Canada.

The company’s delisting is a result of an ongoing investigation of listeriosis cases that were caused by the company’s meat.

The prosciutto under the brand name of Siena, was a definitive match to two severe cases of listeriosis in Ontario. This was confirmed by the Public Health Officer last week. Siena salami was also connected to non-fatal cases of listeriosis in December.

The CFIA has authority to defer an operator's license and immediately shut down production. This protocol was established after the deadly Maple Leaf epidemic in 2008. CFIA now frequently performs product sample tests for Listeria contamination. The products are only released in the market if they test negative for the contamination.

Source: Top News Singapore

ICE plans to open immigrant processing center in Arizona

A surge in illegal immigrants has prompted federal officials to open a new facility in Mesa to handle deportations to Central America.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials say the processing center at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport will serve as the final point where immigrants will be held in the U.S. before boarding a plane that takes them back home.

ICE expects to repatriate 22,000 immigrants this year -- double the number from 2006.

ICE deputy assistant director Mark Lenox said the surge is the result of increased immigration enforcement that began about four years ago.

Source: The Associated Press and The Yuma (Ariz.) Sun

Smithfield's Kafer keynotes MISA conference

The Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) held its Annual Conference in Cancun, Mexico from March 10-13, 2010. Paul Kafer, from Smithfield Foods was keynote speaker at the MISA (Meat Industry Suppliers Alliance) session.

“It’s all about the plants,” said Paul Kafer, assistant vice president for Corporate Engineering at Smithfield Foods. “Our plants are where the action is, … and our supplier program that was launched a few years ago was designed to focus our efforts on our plants.”

Kafer reviewed the critical elements of the Smithfield Foods Supplier Program including one of its central themes, Life Cycle Cost of Ownership.

“Understanding and measuring life cycle costs is fundamental to the success of the program and in helping our plants control costs,” he said. By using this program purchase decisions are not made on the initial purchase price but on the basis of quantifiable total ownership cost. Smithfield will provide a Life Cycle Cost Model (LCCM) for those suppliers who lack the diagnostics necessary to measure the LLC of their assets.

Another key for suppliers to understand about doing business with Smithfield Foods is their emphasis on “Return on Invested Capital,” which Kafer defined as total assets less excess cash less non-interest bearing liabilities.

“For payback calculations, the project must clearly show the area where less cash will be spent for inputs or more cash will be generated by output of product by the plant,” Kafer added. “Remember, it is all about the plants.”

At its annual business meeting, MISA members elected the officers and directors of the board for the 2010-2011 year.

Officers are: George Reed, F.R. Drake, Chairman; Tom Hoffman, Mepaco, Vice-Chairman; and, Shawn Nicholas, Baader, USA, Immediate Past Chairman. New directors are: Kevin Howard, Provisur; Tom Kittle, Handtmann; Rudy Koewelyn, Weber; and Jan Kuhlmann, Multivac.

Furthermore, the MISA Foundation held its Annual Banquet and Auction where over $40,000 was raised for the MISA Foundation Scholarship Program.

“We grant $25,000 annually to students who will be the future leaders in our industry,” said Craig Hess of Speco, Inc., Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the MISA Foundation. “We grant three $5,000 awards from MISA and one $10,000 scholarship jointly with the generous support of Siemens, Inc.” said Hess.

The President’s Cup, an annual golf competition among the various industry councils of FPSA, was contested at the Conference. A team playing for MISA was victorious for the second year in a row. The other councils will have to wait until March, 2011, in Palm Springs the next site of the FPSA Conference, to wrest the cup from MISA.

For more information about FPSA, or to become a member, go to

Source: FPSA