Ten Oklahoma poultry growers have won a $7.3 million judgment against Tyson Foods Inc., which the growers claimed used unethical practices. The three-week trial in McCurtain County ended Friday, with the jury ruling for the growers. It was the first of several similar lawsuits in Idabel to come to trial against Tyson.

Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson says it will appeal, reports the Associated Press.

The growers claimed Tyson pressured them into borrowing heavily to build new chicken houses but paid less than the growers needed to break even.
Tyson employs 1,100 people in McCurtain County and said 225 contract growers raise birds for its plant in Broken Bow. Tyson is spending $29 million to upgrade that facility.

Source: AP

100 pounds of ham recalled on Listeria fears

Lorentz Meats, a Cannon Falls, Minn., establishment, is recalling approximately 100 pounds of ham products that may be contaminated withListeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced. The products subject to recall are various sizes of whole or half ham packages of "Kowalski's Markets, Fully Cooked, Smoked Ham, Naturally Smoked with Hardwoods, Keep Refrigerated." Each package bears a freeze by date "Freeze By 05/14/10" as well as the establishment number "Est. 21207" inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The ham products were produced on March 12, 2010, and were distributed to retail establishments in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., and the surrounding area. The problem was discovered through third-party testing, and the establishment notified FSIS. FSIS has received no reports of illnesses associated with consumption of this product.

Source: FSIS

AgriBeef to create biofuels company

AgriBeef Co., the parent company of AB Foods LLC, has been given $2 million in grants and loans to create a biofuels company that will transform waste into diesel. AB Bioenergy will use the money to build a biofuels facility later this year in a yet-to-be determined Central Washington location. After it ramps up in the spring of 2011, the plant is expected to create 16 new jobs, reports theYakima Herald.

Company spokesman Rick Stott said AB Bioenergy will convert tallow — which is solid, rendered beef fat — and waste grease to biodiesel using feedstock from the Toppenish plant and by securing agreements with local livestock processors throughout Washington and Idaho.

“We are proud to foster economic development in a rural community in Eastern Washington while reducing our reliance on foreign fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Stott said in a news release.

Source: Yakima Herald

Maryland elects not to withhold money over poultry lawsuit

The House of Delegates will not withhold any funding from the University of Maryland over an environmental lawsuit that a law school clinic is pursuing against Perdue and an Eastern Shore farmer.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the decision to leave the law clinic funds intact was a reversal of an earlier vote by the House Appropriations Committee, which wanted to freeze $500,000 until the school turned over a list of clients and expenditures for the last two years.

"I was satisfied that the message had been heard," said Norman H. Conway, the Eastern Shore Democrat who chairs the panel. Conway and others on the Eastern Shore, felt that a group of overzealous law students had unfairly targeted a small farmer in a federal Clean Water Act lawsuit that also named poultry giant Perdue. The move stirred a wider debate about academic freedom, with supporters of the law school saying lawmakers were meddling in their curriculum.

Source: Baltimore Sun

New KFC sandwich leaves out the bread

KFC had announced its new sandwich, the Double Down, a bacon-and-cheese sandwich that gets rid of the bun and replaces it with two pieces of boneless chicken fillets. The product, which was announced on April 1, turned out to not be a joke.

KFC’s Web site features a timer for the release of the sandwich, which will be unveiled on April 12. “The new KFC Double Down sandwich is real and it's coming April 12th!” it says. “This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel's Sauce. This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun!”

Source: KFC