Pilgrim's Pride Corp. announced the elimination of approximately 230 corporate and administrative positions across the organization under the first phase of its integration with JBS USA, which acquired majority control of Pilgrim's Pride on December 28, 2009.

Approximately 160 of the primarily salaried and salaried non-exempt positions being eliminated are based at the company's headquarters in Pittsburg, Texas, or in nearby Mt. Pleasant, Texas. The remaining positions that are being eliminated are spread over nearly a dozen other sites, including Atlanta, Dallas and Broadway, Va. The company will provide severance benefits, including outplacement assistance, to affected salaried and salaried non-exempt employees. There is no direct impact on Pilgrim's Pride's operations or production, as none of the positions being eliminated are production-related.

In addition, the company said it is moving forward with plans to consolidate most corporate functions at JBS USA's headquarters in Greeley, Co. Both companies are continuing to evaluate the needs of their organizations and expect to finalize consolidation plans within the next three to six months.

"We know that these layoffs will create pain and uncertainty for those employees whose jobs were eliminated today," said Don Jackson, Pilgrim's Pride president and CEO. "Decisions like this are always very difficult because they affect the lives of employees who have contributed so much to our company over the years, including during our recent reorganization. At the same time, these changes are absolutely necessary in order to realize the full benefits of our integration into JBS."

Source: Pilgrim’s Pride Corp.

Meat industry responds to Taiwan beef ban

A day after the Taiwan legislature voted to reinstate a ban on U.S. imported ground beef and offal, the U.S. meat industry responded with harsh criticism.

“The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is extremely disappointed that Taiwan has reversed its decision on a carefully negotiated science-based bilateral beef trade protocol,” the NCBA said in a statement. “Despite a recent agreement to allow a full reopening of the Taiwan market to U.S. beef, Taiwanese lawmakers announced this morning that additional restrictions would be placed on U.S. beef imports, due to alleged safety concerns.”

“In our view, the issues expressed by politicians in Taiwan have absolutely no basis in scientific fact and fly in the face of Taiwan’s own risk assessment,” said Gregg Doud, NCBA chief economist. “To suggest that there are any safety concerns related to U.S. beef is outrageous.”

The NCBA stated that Taiwan appears to have disregarded sound science and ignored the agreement by placing additional restrictions on beef and beef product sales to Taiwan.

“This is a purely domestic political issue in Taiwan,” said Doud. “U.S. beef producers are sick and tired of being used as a political football.”

American Meat Institute President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle said the U.S. has implemented a set of measures, regulations and practices that are science-based and consistent with the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) for minimizing the risk posed by BSE.

“In taking this action, the government of Taiwan clearly is failing to live up to its obligations under the bilateral agreement between our governments to expand beef trade,” said AMI President J. Patrick Boyle. “U.S. beef is among the safest anywhere and data show a record of sustained food safety progress. There is simply no scientific basis for Taiwan’s action and at this point, we must question the seriousness of their commitment to being a true trade partner.

“In the United States, we take our trade agreements seriously.  We have met our obligations,” Boyle said. “It is time for the government of Taiwan to maintain trade policies that are based upon the facts surrounding U.S. beef safety and consistent with its WTO obligations.”

“The action taken by Taiwan’s legislature is very disappointing and has no scientific basis whatsoever,” said U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Philip Seng. “Before expanding beef trade with the United States in October of last year, Taiwan's best scientists determined the safety of U.S. beef through a thorough and extensive risk assessment. That effort has now been largely cast aside, as this policy shows no regard for OIE guidelines or the controlled risk status held by both the United States and Taiwan with regard to BSE.”

Seng also noted that the blanket inclusion of ground beef and offals in this action is inappropriate on several levels. There are no scientific concerns related to BSE regarding ground beef and offals as they are produced according to the same rigorous food safety regulations as other U.S. beef products.

The USMEF did note that the legislation did not include boneless or bone-in muscle cuts from cattle under 30 months of age.

“Since the new beef trade protocol between the U.S. and Taiwan was adopted in October, suppliers from the United States have voluntarily excluded ground beef and offal, limiting their shipments to under-30-month muscle cuts,” Seng said. “Therefore, [yesterday]’s actions by Taiwan’s parliament should not disrupt existing orders for U.S. beef.”


Cargill turkey hatchery receives OSHA award

Cargill Turkey Production LLC’s hatchery has received the “Star” status as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP). The hatchery, located in Harrisonburg, Va., has 44 employees and the capacity to hatch more than 17 million poults per year. The poults are placed on farms in Virginia, North and South Carolina, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The OSHA safety programs are designed to recognize and promote effective safety and health management. In the Voluntary Protection Program, management, labor and OSHA establish a cooperative relationship at a workplace to implement safety programs. The Star program is designed for worksites with exemplary health and safety programs that go beyond the minimum regulatory requirements established by OSHA.

“We started the quest to become a VPP Star site six years ago,” said Connie Isenhart, hatchery manager. “During that time, we have had three managers, but what has been consistent through this process has been the hourly employees and their dedication to safety.

“I find it impressive that even with changes in management, the employee engagement and dedication to safety never wavered,” Isenhart added. “They truly are an amazing group of people.”

The VPP process includes 19 requirements in which employers must demonstrate that they have programs in place to effectively identify, evaluate, prevent, and control occupational hazards. The facility’s injury incident rate must also be below the industry average.

Source: Cargill Inc.

Domino's Pizza names new CEO

Domino's Pizza Inc. announced that Chairman and CEO David A. Brandon will be stepping down as CEO effective March 7, 2010. The Board of Directors plans to elect J. Patrick Doyle as Brandon's successor. Brandon, 57, will be retained by the company as a special advisor for the balance of 2010. In addition, Brandon will stand for re-election to the Board when his current term expires in 2012.

Under Brandon's leadership, Domino's has grown worldwide store count by more than 2,600 units. Brandon joined Domino's in March 1999, soon after the company was sold by its founder owner to Bain Capital. Since then, the Company's enterprise value has doubled to over $2 billion.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to lead Domino's Pizza for the past 11 years,” Brandon said. “My leadership team, our team members and franchisees are the very best in this - or any - business. I will continue to stay connected to this great brand and company as Chairman of the Board, and I am confident that, under Patrick's leadership, Domino's Pizza will continue to grow and succeed. This company's best days still lie ahead.

"Patrick Doyle has been a rising star at Domino's Pizza from the beginning," Brandon said. "He has had numerous leadership successes at Domino's and has long been identified as the best choice to be my successor. I look forward to continuing our close working relationship during this transition year. Our company is in great hands with Patrick. He's a strategic, proven and effective leader, a passionate operator, and loves Domino's Pizza as much as I do."

Doyle, 46, has been President of Domino's USA since September 2007, and has been with the company since 1997. Prior to serving as president, Doyle successfully led the company's corporate store unit, the international division and the marketing department.

"I've learned so much from working closely with Dave for these past 11 years, and I am honored and very excited to take on this new challenge and opportunity. We've got a great team, and we're ready to continue to work together with our franchisees around the world to drive this business to an even higher level of success," said Doyle.

Brandon noted that Domino's has a formalized succession-planning process in place, and the Board reviews the plan in detail at least once a year. As part of the process, successor candidates for every leadership team member are identified, and a plan laid out for successor readiness. Patrick Doyle was identified and prepared to succeed to the role of CEO as part of this process.

Source: Domino’s Pizza Inc.