Several fund-raising events and a taste-test hosted by Dietz & Watson were disrupted in Florida by several Boar's Head trucks that blocked parking lots and prevented customers from getting close to the events.

The fundraisers for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure were to raise money for breast cancer research and were scheduled at Topps Supermarket, The Sandy Butlet Gourmet market, Mario's Italian Meat market and City Deli . At the City Deli event in Port Charlotte, a man tentatively identified as Bob Fox, a Florida Boar's Head distributor, brought several large box trucks and vans into the parking lot, with several of them blowing their air horns.

The incident at Topps Supermarket was similar, reports the Ft. Myers News-Press. “All of a sudden one Boar’s Head truck after another came into our parking lot,” says Jay Carney, whose father Dave has owned Topps since 1996. “We were selling hot dogs for a buck and they took our parking spots.”

“At Dietz & Watson, we have always been believers that competition was good for business and good for customers, but I just cannot believe that Boar’s Head would stoop to the low level they did today,” said Louis Eni, president and CEO of Dietz & Watson. “I can’t image that Bob Martin [president of Boar’s Head] would sanction his distributors disrupting charity fundraising events.

“At Port Charlotte, we were doing head-to head taste-tests of our products versus theirs. What were they afraid of? Did they pull product off their trucks and offer samples to consumers? No. They just came to disrupt and prevent consumer choice. And to disrupt fundraising events for cancer research does not get any lower.”

Ann Clothier, co-owner of City Deli in Port Charlotte, said that a “mob” blocked off the deli so that no customers could get to the taste-test booth.

RuthAnn Lamore, director of communications at Boar's Head, apologized in an interview with the News-Press for the actions of the independent distributors. She said that they were not aware that it was a breast cancer fundraiser but thought that it was just a taste-taste between Dietz & Watson products and Boar's Head products. Dietz & Watson has run similar events in North Carolina.

"In no way, shape or form would our distributors want to interrupt a breast cancer awareness fundraiser,'' Lamore says. "We were very upset and regret there was any connection to Boar's Head from that.'' She added that the distributors who organized the actions were “concerned about the publicity campaign that Dietz & Watson had sponsored, inviting retailers, the media and the public,'' Lamore says. "They wanted to show the brand out there in force.''

She said that Boar's Head has donated $100,000 to Komen's foundation in October and will make another donation on behalf of Florida Boar's Head distributors.

Sources: Dietz & Watson, Ft. Myers News-Press

Townsends Inc. opens Townsend Specialty Foods in Atlanta

Delaware-based poultry company, Townsends, Inc., announced the opening of its Atlanta business unit, Townsend Specialty Foods. As part of CEO Tom Weisser's vision for growing business, Townsend Specialty Foods is focused on providing innovative solutions and the highest quality further-processed poultry products and services to the foodservice industry.

The new Atlanta office not only provides Townsend Specialty Foods a strategic location to better grow and cater to its foodservice market, it will also house a new Innovation Center, slated to open in late December. Like other companies in the food industry, Townsends has operated a research and development facility and test kitchen for years. However, the company now plans to shift its focus to product innovation.

"This new facility is positioned to significantly bolster the research and development capabilities of Townsends, and will afford us the flexibility to better adapt to the changing market, as well as to customer requirements for customized product solutions," Weisser said.

Source: Townsends Inc.

Smithfield posts $26 million Q2 loss

Smithfield Foods reported sales of $2.7 billion in the second quarter of FY 2010, versus $3.1 billion in the same period last year. The decrease is attributable to lower fresh pork selling prices, exchange rate changes in international operations and significantly lower hog prices in the U.S. hog production business.

The company reported a loss from continuing operations for the second quarter of fiscal 2010 of $26.4 million, or $(.17) per diluted share, versus a loss from continuing operations last year of $32.5 million, or $(.23) per diluted share. In last year's second quarter, the company reported income from discontinued operations, net of tax, of $34.2 million, or $.24 per diluted share, related to the operations and sale of its beef business.

The current quarterly results were affected by a number of significant items, including a higher than normal effective tax rate (increased EPS by $.14 per diluted share), restructuring and plant impairment charges in the Pork segment (decreased EPS by $.03 per diluted share), and a loss on the extinguishment of the European credit facility (decreased EPS by $.02 per diluted share). After adjusting for these items, non-GAAP second quarter fiscal 2010 EPS was $(.26).

"Our packaged meats business continued to deliver record profits in the second quarter. This is the part of the business we have focused on and it is repeatedly delivering superior results," said C. Larry Pope, president and CEO. "The restructuring plan is in full swing and achieving benefits that are ahead of schedule with estimated profit improvement of approximately $17 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2010. We expect this plan will deliver the targeted $55 million of profit improvement this year, after applicable restructuring expenses, and the full $125 million of annual benefits going forward," he said.

"Unfortunately, these results were offset by continued losses in hog production. Although raising costs declined again this quarter, domestic hog prices were sharply lower as oversupply conditions in the U.S. persisted," he continued.

Source: Smithfield Foods Inc.

Storms halt production for Tyson, Cargill Midwest plants

Heavy snows across the Midwest halted production at the Tyson pork plants in Perry and Columbus Junction, Iowa, yesterday. The first shift at its Waterloo, Iowa, plant was canceled, and production started late at its plants in Storm Lake, Iowa, and Madison, Neb. The first shifts at the company's beef plants in Dakota City and Lexington, Neb., and Joslin, Ill., was canceled, and its Denison, Iowa, plant was running at reduced hours.

Cargill Meat Solutions canceled the second shift at its pork plant in Ottumwa, Iowa. The company said it would try to make up production on Saturday at its Beardstown, Ill., plant.

The storm dropped up to 12 inches of snow in some parts of the Midwest.

Source: Reuters

Oklahoma trial update: judge blocks some soil test records

The judge in Oklahoma's lawsuit against 11 poultry producers has blocked the state from introducing soil test records that are said to show high phosphorus levels at 50 chicken farms in the Illinois River watershed. Instead, he has asked for the complete soil test records at the locations dating back to 1988, when record keeping began.

"I want to see the history," said U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell, siding with poultry company attorneys who accused the state of "cherry-picking" tests showing higher pollution levels. "That's why I want to see all the records, because they may cut either way here."

After 35 days of testimony, the state is wrapping up its side of the case, reports ABC news. The trail is expected to last into January.

Source: ABC News

Maple Leaf Foods appoints food safety council

Maple Leaf Foods has established its Food Safety Advisory Council, a team of independent experts that will increase the Company's access to global knowledge and expertise in areas of food safety practices, microbiology, technology and public health. The team includes:
* Dr. Harvey Anderson, director, Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs and professor, Nutritional Sciences, Physiology and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto;
* Professor Colin Dennis, chairman, Industry Advisory Group, International Agri-Technology Centre Ltd, and retired director-general of the Campden, BRI food research centre in the U.K.;
* Dr. Mansel Griffiths, director of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety and chair of the Masters Program in Food Safety at the University of Guelph;
Dr. R. Bruce Tompkin, a microbiologist with more than 45 years in the food processing industry and one of the developers of HACCP; and
* John Weisgerber, former director of quality for a major North American meat processor with nearly 40 years experience in quality and food safety management.

"The primary mandate of the Council is to challenge the status quo of Maple Leaf's food safety program so we continue to raise the bar ever higher," said Randy Huffman, chief food safety officer. "These individuals bring immense food safety knowledge to the Council and will support our commitment to becoming a global food safety leader."

The Council will focus on three key areas in its first year:
* Perform ongoing critical reviews of the Company's food safety strategy that will include recommendations on additions or modifications to advance Maple Leaf's programs
* Provide insights on any global emerging food safety risks
* Provide guidance on Maple Leaf's employee training and education programs

Source: Maple Leaf Foods