Gov. Bev Perdue announced that Pierre Foods Inc., a national producer of fully cooked meats and frozen sandwiches, will expand in Catawba County. The company plans to create 500 jobs and invest $16.8 million during the next three years in Claremont and retain more than 700 existing jobs at its facility there. The announcement was made possible in part by a $600,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

“I am committed to creating new jobs for North Carolina and retaining the jobs we have in our state,” said Gov. Perdue. “Companies like Pierre Foods know they can build on their hard-won success with North Carolina’s skilled workers and top business climate.”

Pierre Foods, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, produces a wide variety of frozen sandwiches and other handheld products for schools, food service, retail, vending and convenience store markets. The company has manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Georgia, South Carolina and in Claremont, where it employs more than 700 workers.

Through support from the One NC Fund, the company will retain the Claremont facility and its 700 workers and expand production by 500 new jobs to handle market growth in the Southeast and Midwest. Although wages will vary by job function, the new jobs will pay an annual average salary of $26,467.

"Pierre Foods is thrilled at this opportunity to support both growth in our business and economic activity in the state of North Carolina,” said Bill Toler, CEO of Pierre Foods. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with the state and thank all of our dedicated employees within the region for their contributions to our success.”

Source: North Carolina Office of the Governor

Australia reverses beef import stance

The Australian government has ordered a full risk analysis of beef imports from countries where mad cow disease has been reporting, eight days after lifting a ban on beef imports from those countries, such as the U.S., Canada and U.K. The review will cover fresh and frozen beef, and not processed or cooked beef products, and will take up to two years to complete.

Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said that he made his decision after “significant community concern” about import standards, reports The Australian. "Conducting an import risk analysis is the best way of reassuring the Australian community that effective protocols will be put in place to provide for the safety of imports."

The decision to lift the ban on beef imports from those countries had vocal backers and detractors. Those politicians who campaigned heavily against the decision hailed the reversal as a victory for “common sense,” while Greg Brown, president of the Cattle Council of Australia, said the move damaged the reputation of Australian beef in the domestic market and said he was worried about the delay the process would cause.

"If the Americans put a 24-month process on us, we would be out of the market . . . considering they take a hell of a lot more beef from us than we do from them," he said.

Source: The Australian

Nestlé recalls bacon base product

Nestlé Professional North America, a Cleveland, Ohio establishment, is recalling approximately 6,000 pounds of a ready-to-eat (RTE) bacon base product that may be contaminated with Salmonella. The packages of bacon base contain as an ingredient the specific Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), which was previously recalled, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

Due to potential Salmonella contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of the HVP product on March 4, 2010. Although the HVP has already been recalled, as announced by FDA, the bacon base product packages bear the USDA mark of inspection on the outside of the case. A recall of this product was warranted due to the determination that the HVP ingredient was added after Salmonella prevention steps were applied.

The product subject to recall includes 1-pound plastic cups of “Minor’s Bacon Base.” Each package contains code numbers “92815489,” “93095489,” or “93385489” as well as the case code “00 074826 08606 7-00 G 11003264.” Each case contains 6 cups and bears establishment number “1045” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The RTE product was produced on Oct. 8, 2009, Nov. 5, 2009, and Dec. 4, 2009.

The RTE product was distributed nationwide to distributors and restaurants. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Source: FSIS

Mislabeled spicy pork skins recalled

Rudolph Foods Company, Inc., a San Bernardino, Calif., establishment is recalling approximately 186 pounds of Baken-ets Fried Pork Skins because the "Hot'N Spicy" version was packaged in a "Traditional" bag. The "Hot'N Spicy" fried pork skins contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), which is not declared on the "Traditional" fried pork skins' label.

The products subject to recall include: 3-3/4-ounce packages of "Baken-Ets Traditional Fried Pork Skins." Each package bears the USDA mark of inspection, a Guaranteed Fresh until printed date of "May 4," MFG Code of "17920530303," establishment number "EST. 0525," and UPC No. "0 28400 01587 5." The products were produced on February 22, 2010, and were shipped to distribution centers for further retail sales in Ariz., Calif., N.M., and Texas.

The problem was discovered by the company during an inventory of its labeling. FSIS has received no reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

Source: FSIS

PSA warns of altered nutritional value of 2009 corn crop

Last year produced a bumper corn crop, but wet conditions during part of the growing season and harvest may have impacted its overall nutritional value, according to the Poultry Science Association (PSA). In addition, nutritionists who rely on bushel weight as a prime factor for assessing quality may be missing an important part of the quality-evaluation picture, said PSA.

“Adverse growing conditions and the potential for reduced bushel weight are one component of the corn quality equation. Unfortunately, determining a precise relationship between variability in bushel weight and the nutritional value of corn is problematic,” said Dr. Mike Lilburn, a poultry nutritionist in The Ohio State University’s Department of Animal Sciences.

In a given harvest year, the presence of poor growing conditions is often reflected in variations in the bushel weight or test weight of corn. A common measure used for pricing purposes, bushel weight represents a composite of factors affecting bulk density and assumed quality of the grain. The standard bushel weight for No. 2 Yellow corn is 56 pounds per bushel, but for years like 2009, with significant variability in the growing season, much of the corn coming out of the field may be well below this industry standard. Drying the corn, a process which takes place after harvest, can increase bushel weight, but the drying process may have other effects on the overall feeding value of the crop.

According to Dr. Lilburn, nutritionists have long been aware of the variability in commodity grains and use routine analytical testing (moisture, fat, protein, etc.) to adjust their nutrient matrix values accordingly. These analytical tests, however, do not reflect what nutritional value the animal actually derives from a particular ingredient. This is particularly the case, says Lilburn, for the energy content of grains, like corn.

Corn harvested with above average moisture content may require more extensive drying prior to storage. According to Dr. Lilburn, the drying conditions, particularly the drying temperature, may contribute to quality issues.

Dr. Lilburn cited a 1975 study (Peplinski et al, Cereal Foods World) showing that widely different drying temperatures had little impact on the chemical composition of corn samples but did have considerable impact on many of the physical characteristics of interest to corn end users, such as bushel weight, kernel damage, kernel breakage, stress crack formation, etc. The study concluded that optimal harvest moisture should be < 25% with drying temperatures less than 180 F (82 C) to minimize this type of physical damage to the grain.

High drying temperatures may also cause nutritional damage to corn. Peplinski et al. (1994, Cereal Chem.) took corn samples from 30% to 12% moisture using temperatures ranging from 25 to 100 C. At the lower temperature, the drying took 38 hours while at 100 C, it only took one hour. Dr. Lilburn cited a 2009 study by Malumba et al. (J. Food Engineering) which reported that the extractability of individual proteins from corn was greatly reduced for corn dried at 80 C and higher, indicating a potential decline in the nutritional value of the grain even though its gross chemical composition remained unchanged.

“Buyers should be on the lookout for corn coming in with moisture levels lower than they typically see, as this may be an indication that corn was dried down quickly at higher than normal temperatures,” said Dr. Lilburn.

The possible need of the corn producer to quickly dry his or her crop will be controlled by yield and weather conditions at harvest, but there may be an inherent tradeoff with the final quality of the grain. Drying conditions are something that buyers should be aware of and take into account whenever possible.

Source: Poultry Science Association

Cargill's Schweigert Meats to supply Minnesota Twins' hot dogs

The Minnesota Twins, Delaware North Sportservice and Schweigert meats, a Minnesota-made brand with roots in Minneapolis, announced the hot dog offerings at Target Field. Four different hot dogs are being produced by the Schweigert brand to be served throughout Target Field.

The Twins will continue to offer the Original Twins Dog. This traditional pork and beef Tenderbite hot dog will be made from the same recipe as the hot dogs served in the team's first ballpark - Metropolitan Stadium - and will be available at many of the ballpark's concession stands.

The quarter-pound all-beef Twins Big Dog will replace the hot dog formerly known as the Dome Dog. An old-fashioned pork and beef hot dog in a natural casing, named the Dugout Dog, will be steamed in vending boxes and placed in a bun when ordered, not pre-wrapped. The Dinger Dog, an extra-long, pork and beef hot dog, will also be available at select Hennepin Grille locations at Target Field.

"We are fortunate to be able to offer our fans a variety of hot dogs for the same great value they have come to expect," said Dave St. Peter, president of the Minnesota Twins. "We've made it a priority to incorporate local restaurants and food concepts at Target Field, and we're pleased to add Schweigert meats to our hometown lineup."

The Schweigert brand has Minnesota roots dating back to 1937 and is owned by Minneapolis based Cargill. Cargill will produce all four hot dogs at its manufacturing facility in Albert Lea, Minn.

"Our quality meats and hot dogs have been a staple of Minnesota sports for decades," said David Barocco, vice president of sales and marketing, Cargill Value Added Meats Retail. "It's an honor to bring back the original hot dog served at Metropolitan Stadium and provide Twins fans with four great tasting hot dog options."

Source: Minnesota Twins, Cargill