Four companies – Catelli Brothers, Delimax Veal Inc., NRV, and Specialty Meats Inc. – have merged to become one of the largest vertically integrated veal organizations in the U.S. As a result of the merger, they will now be able to oversee all phases of production and supply to offer a broad range of products – from the finest quality feed to responsible farming of superior calves to customized cuts of veal and lamb for the food service and consumer retail industries.

“We’re excited to be merging with companies who share our longstanding dedication to quality and service,” said Tony Catelli, president and CEO, Catelli Brothers, Inc. “They, like us, are family-oriented businesses and have worked hard to earn a reputation for producing the highest-quality products using industry-leading food safety and traceability standards.”

The new company, now one of the largest veal and lamb purveyors in the country, will serve the retail and food service industries throughout the U.S. with veal and lamb under such brands as Catelli Brothers, Catelli Brothers Italian Bistro, Lido Gourmet, Chef’s Reserve, and Summit Ridge. All the merging companies will continue to operate independently under their existing corporate structures and brand names but through their affiliation these brands will now have national as well as regional distribution capabilities.

“This merger will create a stronger organization that allows us to expand products and services, both regionally and nationally, better positioning us for the future,” said Jonathan Amidei, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Specialty Meats. “Our customers will still receive the same attentive service and high-quality products they’ve come to expect.”

Catelli Brothers provides its retail and food service customers with all-natural, USDA choice veal and fresh American lamb as well as lamb imported from Australia and New Zealand. Specialty Meats is a purveyor of milk-fed veal and lamb using a uniquely integrated production operation with rapid turnaround from its facility near Los Angeles.

NRV is a leading producer of premium and high value veal, dairy herd and private label milk replacers and feed supplements for calf farms throughout the U.S. Farmers and growers, including Delimax Veal, use such milk replacers as Nutra-Melk and Real Veal for their veal, dairy and beef calves. Delimax is a technologically advanced producer of high quality milk-fed veal whose farms ensure humane standards for the treatment of animals including group housing.

“This merger will help ensure a vibrant market for our feed customers and will position us to extend the market for milk-fed calves,” said Dale Bakke, general manager, NRV. “We are looking forward to working with our new partners to continue to evolve and grow our business.”

“Our farms add supply strength to this new company which we fully expect will become an increasingly important factor for the national retail and food service marketplace,” said Robert Wynands, president, Delimax Veal.

The merger is effective immediately and the new holding company expects to finalize a name in early 2010.

Source: Catelli Brothers

Massachusetts slaughterhouse recalls 2,500 pounds of beef

Adams Farm Slaughterhouse LLC., an Athol, Mass., establishment, is recalling approximately 2,574 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated withE. coliO157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

This recall was initiated after the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) confirmed a positive ground beef sample for E. coli O157:H7, which it collected during an epidemiological investigation. Working in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), FSIS determined that there is an association between the ground beef products and an illness in the state of Massachusetts. FSIS is continuing to work with the MDPH on the investigation.

The following products are subject to recall:
    * 1,025-pounds of "Beef Cuts and Ground" packed for Mazzarese.
    * 697-pounds of "Beef Cuts and Ground" packed for Side Hill Farm.
    * 852-pounds of "Beef Cuts and Ground" packed for Sweet Water Farm.

Each package bears a label with the establishment number "EST. 5497" inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as the packaging date of "11/11/2009." The beef products were distributed to private owners on three separate farms in the state of Massachusetts.

Source: FSIS

Poultry industry seeks to end EU poultry ban

The American poultry industry has urged U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk to “fully and resolutely pursue” a World Trade Organization (WTO) action against European Union rules that effectively block American poultry from the European market.

“The injustice against U.S. poultry has continued for far too long, and it is time to begin correct that injustice,” the presidents of the National Chicken Council (NCC), National Turkey Federation (NTF), and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC)  told Kirk’s agency in a letter. “(We) encourage USTR to fully and resolutely pursue the dispute settlement process,” they wrote.

The EU bans U.S. poultry that has been processed using chlorinated water, which helps control potentially pathogenic microorganisms and is considered safe and effective by U.S. authorities. The EU adopted its policy in 1997 after other barriers to U.S. poultry began to crumble under the pressure of trade liberalization. The industry estimates that the policy prevents it from developing a market in Europe worth about $240 million for chicken and $60 million for turkey and duck.

The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA), and the EU’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) and Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) cleared the way in 2008 for approval of the use of four pathogen-reducing treatments (PRT’s) -- chlorine dioxide, acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate, and peroxyacids -- finding them safe and effective. The European Commission – the EU’s executive branch – tentatively approved the use of the PRT’s but was overruled by representatives of national governments. USTR subsequently announced that it would file an action under the WTO dispute resolution process.

WTO rules require that sanitary measures must be based on sound science and appropriate risk assessments to make sure they are employed fairly, justifiable, and without discrimination, the industry representatives noted.

“To date, the EU has conducted no risk assessment to justify the ban on U.S. poultry,” wrote George Watts, president of NCC; Joel Brandenberger of NTF; and James H. Sumner of USAPEEC, responding to USTR’s request for comments.

“The EU has not been able to demonstrate nor justify why the use of PRT’s is not scientifically acceptable and why a politically expedient decision should be acceptable,” they wrote. “Pursuing resolution of the issues through the WTO dispute settlement process may not only prove to restore U.S. poultry exports to the EU but, equally important, will promote and reinforce the critical WTO principles that address the international rules of trade and will provide for a more predictable and fairer opportunity for agricultural exports to participate in the world market.”

Source: National Chicken Council

Land O'Frost offers VIP experience at NFL Hall of Fame

Land O’Frost has teamed up with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to launch a national contest called, “Hall of Fame Instant WIN Scratch Game.” During the promotion period, Land O’Frost consumers have an opportunity to win a unique and one of a kind VIP experience at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 2010 Enshrinement weekend.

The contest, which kicked off January 1, will field 6 million instant win game cards in packages of Land O’Frost One Pound Premium brand luncheon meats. Consumers have until March 27, 2010 to claim prizes. The unique grand prize is a trip for four to the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival in Canton, Ohio on Saturday, August 7. The grand prize package includes airfare and hotel, VIP access to the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, premium tickets to the Hall of Fame Game and special access to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Gameday Roundtable Luncheon featuring the Class of2010.
Finalists for the 2010 Hall of Fame Class which will be formally announced on Saturday, Feb. 6 include Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, Tim Brown and Aeneas Williams.

In addition to the grand prize, consumers also have the opportunity to win one of 100 first prizes of an autographed football by the entire 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class and one of 500 second prize winners could receive an official 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Commemorative Game coin.

“Land O’Frost is always looking for new and exciting ways to reward our consumers, while driving incremental sales growth for our retail customers. We are proud to team up with an incredible organization like the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said Stephan Williams, vice president of marketing at Land O’Frost. “We’re confident that this contest demonstrates an added value to consumers, reaches our core loyal audience and will incent new shoppers to our great tasting lunchmeat.”

Source: Land O’Frost

Wisconsin opens specialty meat center

The state Department of Agriculture is helping Wisconsin meat processors earn higher profits. A $300,000 federal grant has helped the state open a new meat development center. Its president, Bob Andorfer, says Wisconsin is well known for its cheese, but it's time to shine a spotlight on the state's sausage and cured meat processors.

Andorfer says Wisconsin has a heritage of fine sausage producers. He says sausage making is "probably the most unrecognized industry in the state." The Specialty Meat Development Center hopes to grow Wisconsin's cured meat sales by 15 percent over the next five years.

Source: Chicago Tribune, Wisconsin Public Radio