Brazil's JBS SA, the world's largest beef processor, may raise as much as 2.16 billion reais ($1.23 billion) with the sale of new shares to fund its direct distribution business. The Sao Paulo-based company, which processes an average of 35,000 head of cattle a day, plans to sell 200 million new common shares in a primary offering, the equivalent of an 8.4 percent stake, Reuters reports.

Two-thirds of the sale will be used to expand its direct sales business, including acquisitions of distribution centers and delivery trucks. The remaining amount will be set aside for working capital.


Source: Reuters



AMI Foundation Releases 2010 Edition of Animal Care & Handling Guidelines

The American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation’s 2010 Animal Care & Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide: A Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare, has been released. The 120-page document is available for download on AMI’s dedicated animal welfare site www.animalhandling.org.

Authored by Colorado State University Professor of Animal Science Temple Grandin, Ph.D., with the Institute’s Animal Welfare Committee, the 2010 edition includes an important new transportation audit that measures key animal welfare factors on trucks when they arrive at meat plants and as drivers and plant personnel unload livestock.

The latest edition also has been reviewed and certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) and they are only the second guidelines to have received PAACO certification.

AMI’s guidelines were first developed in 1991 by Grandin. In 1997, AMI asked Grandin to create an audit program as a companion to the guidelines. Over time, the two documents were merged and today they have become a widely recognized standard for ensuring animal welfare in U.S. meat packing plants and in many countries around the world. Many retail and restaurant customers require that their meat suppliers use the AMI audit program.

The guidelines are based upon the principle that “You manage what you measure.” By objectively scoring factors like livestock vocalization, how often livestock fall, how often electric prods are used and other factors, the industry has been able to make measurable progress in the decade since the audit program was released. Today, third party audit firms provide the AMI audit and plants score themselves on a regular basis to monitor welfare indicators.

Every two years, AMI’s Animal Welfare Committee reviews the guidelines and makes changes and enhancements to the document based upon new research and data collected. In addition to the new transportation audit in the 2010 edition, the new guidelines include a helpful grid that details how to evaluate the effectiveness of various stunning methods.

“The addition of a transportation audit will help us evaluate transportation factors as they impact livestock welfare,” Grandin said. “By using objective criteria to measure welfare in packing plants since 1999, measurable improvements have been achieved and I believe the new transportation component will help advance welfare even further.”

Grandin’s aggregated data documenting industry progress may be viewed at www.grandin.com.

According to AMI Animal Welfare Committee Chairman Glee Goodner, director of hog procurement at Hormel Foods Corp., “The collaborative approach to the development of these guidelines represents the non-competitive spirit that the industry has adopted toward animal welfare. Dr. Grandin’s authorship of these guidelines for the last 20 years has been invaluable to our industry and we are proud of our long-standing partnership with her.”


Source: AMI



ConAgra sets company-wide sustainability goals

ConAgra Foods Inc. announced five aggressive sustainability goals to be achieved by 2015. The goals build on the company's sustainability accomplishments, which began in a company-wide fashion in 1992 with the ConAgra Foods Sustainable Development Awards program. This is the first time ConAgra Foods has set company-wide sustainability goals.

ConAgra Foods' Sustainability Goals for 2015 include:
1. Greenhouse gas emissions: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent per pound of product produced as compared to 2008 emissions.
2. Water: Reduce water use by 15 percent per pound of product produced as compared to 2008 water use.
3. Solid waste: Divert solid waste from landfills by at least 75 percent as compared to 2011 levels.
4. Packaging: As compared to 2008, the company will: (a) reduce packaging by 10 percent per pound of product produced, (b) increase the amount of packaging made of renewable resources from 45 percent to more than 50 percent, and (c) increase the use of recycled content in packaging overall by 25 percent.
5. Supply chain engagement: Encourage continuous improvement of the supply chain in the areas of energy, water, materials and waste. Work with growers to further enhance sustainable farming practices that optimize yield while improving land stewardship.

"Because our food is part of the lives of millions of consumers each day, ConAgra Foods has a critical responsibility to create positive environmental change. We can do that by making our food--such as Healthy Choice meals, Orville Redenbacher's popcorn and Hunt's tomatoes--in the most sustainable and efficient way possible," said Gary Rodkin, ConAgra Foods CEO. "We've set these new transparent sustainability goals to ensure we are a leader in continuously improving the way we make food, and to continue to create more awareness for what others can do to improve as well."


Source: ConAgra Foods Inc.



Whole head beef products recalled

North American Bison Co-Op, a New Rockford, N.D., establishment is recalling approximately 25,000 pounds of whole beef heads containing tongues that may not have had the tonsils completely removed, which is not compliant with regulations that require the removal of tonsils from cattle of all ages, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

Tonsils are considered a specified risk material (SRM) and must be removed from cattle of all ages in accordance with FSIS regulations. SRMs are tissues that are known to contain the infective agent in cattle infected with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), as well as materials that are closely associated with these potentially infective tissues. Therefore, FSIS prohibits SRMs from use as human food to minimize potential human exposure to the BSE agent.

The product subject to recall includes various weight cases of "Beef Heads Keep Frozen." Each case bears the establishment number "EST. 18859" inside the USDA mark of inspection and a case code number "16999." "North Dakota Natural Beef" is printed in the bottom left-hand corner of each label.

The recalled products were produced between June 25, 2009, and February 19, 2010. These products were shipped to distribution centers in Md., Mich., and Minn. for further sale. The problem was discovered during FSIS inspection activities at the establishment.


Source: FSIS



Charity Navigator downgrades Humane Society

Charity Navigator slashed the rankings for HSUS and the Humane Society International, the international arm of HSUS, reports the Center for Consumer Freedom.

Charity Navigator now gives HSUS a lower level of trustworthiness than People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). The American Institute of Philanthropy also rates HSUS very critically, giving the organization a “C-minus” grade overall. HSUS’s 2008 tax filing shows that the group spent less than one percent of its collected donations on grants to hands-on pet shelters. It put five times as much into its executive pension plan during that year.

David Martosko, CCF’s Director of Research and the editor of HumaneWatch.org, released a statement that read, “Charity Navigator’s downgrading of the Humane Society of the United States and its international arm sends a clear message: Animal charities can’t stuff donor dollars away in pension plans, shortchange pet shelters, and expect that no one will notice. HSUS raises tens of millions of dollars a year from Americans who believe their money is trickling down to local pet shelters. Instead, their contributions fund a bloated staff of well-paid lawyers and lobbyists, PETA-style propaganda campaigns, and a hefty executive pension plan.”


Source: Center for Consumer Freedom