Alfa, S.A.B. de C.V., parent company of Sigma Alimentos, S.A. de C.V., announced that Sigma has acquired Bar-S Foods Co., a leader in the U.S. packaged meat business. The amount of the consideration paid by Sigma was not disclosed. The acquisition was made through the merger of Bar-S and Sigma’s U.S. operations.

Bar-S is a privately owned company founded in 1981 and headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona. It produces and markets processed meats throughout the United States. The company operates three production plants and one distribution center in Oklahoma. Its product line includes franks, lunchmeats, bacon, dinner sausages and corn dogs, all sold nationwide under the Bar-S brand. In 2009, Bar-S posted sales of U.S. $535 million and employed more than 1,600 people.

Commenting on the transaction, Armando Garza Sada, Alfa’s chairman of the board, stated: “This is an important milestone in Sigma´s growth strategy. With this acquisition, Sigma will become a meaningful player in the U.S. refrigerated processed meats market with an important presence in the U.S. Hispanic market.”

Alvaro Fernandez, president of Alfa said: “By combining Sigma’s U.S. operations and Bar-S into a single company, we will be able to generate additional value for our shareholders.” Speaking about the new entity, Mario Paez, Sigma’s president commented: “Our competitive position will be stronger once we add Bar-S’ operational efficiencies and national sales organization to Sigma’s R&D and innovation capabilities.”

The closing of this transaction is subject to necessary regulatory approvals from U.S. authorities, and fulfilling certain conditions.

Source: Alfa, S.A.B. de C.V.

Bob Evans closing Illinois facility

Bob Evans Farms is closing its food production facility in Galva, Illinois, effective immediately. The company cites excess capacity and diminishing supply in the live sow market.

“This was a very difficult decision,” says president of Bob Evans Food Products Mike Townsley. “We have great employees at our Galva facility, and we have a long history there. Our business model needs to adapt to these tough market conditions. We need to manage our assets to stay competitive long term.”

The nearly 70 employees at the Galva facility will receive severance compensation. In addition, Bob Evans is offering opportunities for transfer within the company. Bob Evans Farms’ goal is to absorb as many displaced employees as possible.

Galva was one of five fresh sausage production facilities for Bob Evans Farms. Production from the Galva facility will be distributed amongst Bob Evans’ facilities in Xenia and Bidwell, Ohio, Hillsdale, Mich. and Richardson, Texas.

“We thank the employees at Galva for their hard work in producing high-quality fresh sausage links and rolls for the past 36 years” says Townsley.

Source: Bob Evans Farms

USDA announces proposed rule to include "donning and doffing" as part of workday

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced a proposed rule that would amend current regulations governing the schedule of operations at federally inspected meat and poultry slaughter establishments. FSIS is proposing to redefine the eight-hour workday for inspection program personnel to include time needed at the workplace to put on, or "don," and take off, or "doff," required gear, time spent walking to work stations after donning required gear, and time spent walking from work stations before doffing required gear.

FSIS is proposing the rule in accordance with the Supreme Court's holding in IBP, Inc. v. Alvarez and policy guidance from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act, FSIS provides mandatory federal inspection of meat and meat food products, poultry products, and processed egg products. FSIS bears the cost of mandatory inspection provided during non-overtime and non-holiday hours of operation, while the establishments pay for inspection services performed on holidays or on an overtime basis. The regulations define the basic workweek as five consecutive eight-hour days, excluding the lunch period. FSIS proposes that the eight hours of inspection service provided by the Agency include sufficient time for inspection program personnel to put on required gear and walk to a work station as well as to return from a workstation and remove required gear. Any time over those eight hours is overtime charged to an establishment.

The Agency seeks comments on or before September 8, 2010, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at, or by mail to: Docket Clerk, FSIS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, George Washington Carver Center Room 2-217, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Beltsville, MD, 20705. All comments submitted must identify FSIS and the docket number FSIS-2010-0014. Comments will be available for public inspection and posted without change at

For further information, contact Dr. Daniel Engeljohn, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-3700. Dr. Engeljohn can also be reached by phone at (202) 720-2709, or by e-mail at

Source: FSIS

USDA announces additional animal disease traceability public meetings

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will be holding three additional public meetings on the animal disease traceability framework approach. The meetings will take place this August in Madison, Wis., Atlanta, Ga., and Pasco, Wash. These are the final public meetings being planned to obtain feedback on the framework and development of proposed rule on traceability.

On Feb. 5, 2010, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will develop a new, flexible, yet coordinated framework for animal disease traceability in the United States. Under this new direction, states and tribal nations must establish the ability to trace, back to their state of origin, animals moving interstate. The new framework will embrace the strengths and expertise of states, tribal nations and producers, and empower them to find and use the traceability approaches that work best for them. The secretary has pledged to develop this new approach as transparently and collaboratively as possible.

USDA held an initial traceability forum in March 2010 in Kansas City with states and tribes in March to discuss how to begin creating the framework and gather feedback on possible ways of achieving traceability. In May, June and July 2010, USDA hosted five public meetings to discuss Vilsack's new framework for animal disease traceability. Meetings were held May 11 in Kansas City, Mo.; May 13 in Riverdale, Md.; May 17 in Denver, Colo.; June 24 in Salt Lake City, Utah; and July 1 in Ft. Worth, Texas. Approximately 60 people attended each meeting.

The public meetings will be held in the following locations:
Wednesday, Aug. 18:  Madison, Wis.
Friday, Aug. 20:  Atlanta, Ga.
Tuesday, Aug. 24:  Pasco, Wash.

The meetings will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time in both Atlanta, Ga., and Pasco, Wash., and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time in Madison, Wis., with registration one hour prior to each meeting. For more information on these meetings, visit

Source: USDA

Winn-Dixie closing 30 stores

Jacksonville, Fla.-based Winn-Dixie is planning to close 30 stores this fall throughout the southeastern United States, mostly in Florida. The more will cut 120 corporate and field positions, as well as nearly 2,000 retail jobs.

The company, which went through bankruptcy in 2005, has been remodeling many of its stores, focusing on a more upscale look with wooden floors, wing bars and olive carts, reports the Orlando Sentinal. Peter Lynch, chairman, chief executive officer and president, told analysts recently that remodeling is key to the company's turnaround.

"I've always said ... that the issues around Winn-Dixie were an issue with the brand and the fact that the brand had been tarnished," he said in a May earnings conference call. "And I've always said that the more you grow the base of remodel stores, the more the word is going to get out that Winn-Dixie is a place to shop."

The Sentinal notes that Winn-Dixie has been losing customers to stores like Publix and Walmart, and stores like Aldi’s and Sedano’s have made inroads into Florida as well.

Source: Orlando Sentinal