Smithfield Foods Inc. reported fiscal 2010 fourth quarter and full year results. Sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 were $2.9 billion, up 2% compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. Sales for the full fiscal year were $11.2 billion compared to $12.5 billion last year.

Smithfield also said it has offered $200 million for its joint venture partner's 51 percent stake in Butterball LLC and the partner's related turkey production assets, Reuters reports.

The company reported a net loss in the current quarter of $4.6 million compared to a net loss of $81.2 million last year, an improvement of $76.6 million. For the full fiscal year, the net loss totaled $101.4 million compared to a net loss of $198.4 million in the prior fiscal year, an improvement of $97.0 million. Last year's net loss included income from discontinued operations, net of tax, of $52.5 million, or $.37 per diluted share.

"The last two years were by far the most challenging in over 30 years. The contributing factors - global recessionary conditions, unfounded fears about H1N1 and the resultant closures of some key export markets, spiking grain prices and extended low hog prices tied to a significant oversupply of live hogs - are all well documented. These factors, combined with the extremely slow pace of herd liquidation in spite of mounting industry losses, all conspired to make for one of the longest and deepest downturns ever in live hog production," said C. Larry Pope, president and CEO.

"Finally, the hog production cycle has turned. Live production losses, particularly on the cash side, have abated. Although our fourth quarter hog production segment results do not yet reflect the full benefits of the recently improved live hog production environment, the recovery in the cash and futures markets for hogs is encouraging and has allowed for significant year over year improvements in that business," he continued.

Pope added that Smithfield had a record year in its packaged meats business and completed all of the action items called for in the Pork Group restructuring plan on or ahead of schedule and achieved the company’s targeted annual profit improvement of $55 million in fiscal 2010.

Source: Smithfield Foods Inc., Reuters

JBS Swift Pennsylvania plant to pay $2 million pollution fine

JBS Souderton Inc., a Montgomery County, Pa., plant formerly known as Smithfield Beef Group, has agreed to pay a $2 million fine for failing to comply with the federal Clean Water Act. According to the (Allentown)Morning Call, the plant had spilled pollutants into neighboring waterways since 2003, according to a federal complaint filed in 2008.

The plant, located in Franconia Township, Montgomery County, discharged pollutants into the Skippack Creek, which is a tributary of the Perkiomen Creek and the Schuylkill River. The violations resulted in fish kills in the Skippack Creek in August 2007 (16,461 fish), December 2007 (1,754 fish) and June 2008 (6,500 fish), according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The company also exceeded limitations of discharged pollutants and failed to operate and maintain its facilities in compliance with federal regulations.

Source: The Morning Call

Interim ruling in U.S.-China poultry dispute favors China, according to China

An interim ruling by the World Trade Organization says a U.S. ban on imports of chicken from China violates the group’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, the China Daily reported today, without citing anyone.

The U.S. is unlikely to impose a similar ban in the next fiscal year, the newspaper cited an unnamed official with China’s Ministry of Commerce as saying. The Chinese government has received the interim report from the WTO, the newspaper cited the commerce ministry official as saying.

Source: Bloomberg

Ruiz Foods launches summer fun Facebook promotion

El Monterey announces a three-part Facebook promotion to celebrate families and summer fun through July 16, 2010.
El Monterey Facebook fans can submit a video of their children cooking with any El Monterey products. The top video – as voted on by other El Monterey Facebook fans – will win a VIP trip for 4 to Six Flags, $1,000 in spending money and a Flip digital video camera to document the trip.

Facebook fans also can rate or comment on video submission to:
• earn points redeemable for items in the El Monterey prize vault
• earn points redeemable for up to 10 raffle tickets to increase odds of winning one of two random drawings for: playground/swingset, camping gear, outdoor games pack or patio furniture

All interactions will only take place on the El Monterey Facebook page:

Source: Ruiz Foods