Huntington Meat Packing Inc., a Montebello, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 864,000 pounds of beef products that may be contaminated withE. coliO157:H7, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service today.

The problem was discovered during a Food Safety Assessment (FSA) by FSIS personnel. The FSA led to the determination that a further investigation of establishment records was warranted. The investigation is ongoing and the following products are subject to recall.

The products, consisting of all ground beef products produced by the plant from January 5, 2010 to January 15, 2010, are subject to recall. They include ground beef, patties and burrito filling. Each box bears the establishment number "EST. 17967" inside the USDA mark of inspection on a label. The products were shipped to distribution centers, restaurants, and hotels within the State of California. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of these products.

During a subsequent review of the establishment's records, FSIS also determined additional products produced and shipped in 2008 to be adulterated because they may have been contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. As a result, the ground beef, patties and burrito filling products produced from February 19, 2008 to May 15, 2008, are also subject to recall. While these products are normally used fresh, the establishment is taking this action out of concern that some product may still be frozen and in commerce.

Source: FSIS

National Beef union vote canceled

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which was seeking to organize 2,600 workers at National Beef Packing Co.'s Dodge City, Kan., plant, has canceled the vote scheduled for this week. The union withdrew the petition, according to the National Labor Relations Board, after filing for the election last month.

“While the timing for an election isn’t right, the UFCW remains committed to the goal of raising living and working standards for all workers in the packing and food-processing industries,” said union spokesman Jim Papian, reports the Kansas City Star.

“We appreciate the time and attention our employees have given to the issue of the union-representation campaign over the past couple of months,” said Carey Hoskinson, National Beef’s vice president and general manager of the Dodge City facility.

Source: Kansas City Star

Hormel buys Shedd's Country Crock side-dish business from Unilever

Unilever has signed a definitive agreement with Hormel Foods Corp. to sell its Shedd’s Country Crock branded chilled side-dish business in the United States. The transaction is expected to close by February 2010. Financial terms are not being disclosed and ownership of the Shedd’s Country Crock trademark and its flagship spreads product range remain with Unilever.

The Shedd’s Country Crock chilled side-dish business generated approximately $50 million (EUR 35 million) in revenue for Unilever in 2009.

“This transaction is consistent with our efforts to reshape our portfolio in North America by sharpening our focus on building strong categories with global reach,” said Michael B. Polk, president, Unilever Americas.
Under the terms of the transaction, Hormel will market and sell Shedd’s Country Crock chilled side-dish products, such as homestyle mashed potatoes, under a license agreement. No Unilever employees will be transferred with the business.

Source: Unilever