In a letter to Perdue CEO Jim Perdue released today, Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) President Cathy Liss demanded that the company end its use of a label claiming that certain of its chicken products are 'Humanely Raised' and 'Raised Cage Free.' This February, Perdue introduced new product packaging bearing these claims for release in grocery stores. AWI asserts that the 'Humanely Raised' label misleads consumers about how Perdue treats chickens, and the 'Raised Cage Free' label deceptively suggests a special benefit, when in fact no producers raise meat chickens in cages.

"These standards, devised by Perdue and the National Chicken Council (NCC), a private industry group, are not humane under any reasonable consumer understanding of the term," Liss remarked. "Perdue's lip service to humane treatment, by way of these deceptive claims, is merely an attempt to profit from the growing number of consumers who seek a better alternative to factory-raised chicken."

According to NCC guidelines, Perdue chickens raised for marketing under the 'Humanely Raised' label can be confined in windowless sheds with less than one square foot of space per bird. These standards do not require access to fresh air or sunlight during the duration of the chickens' lives. "The chickens are exposed to up to 20 continuous hours of dim, artificial light to further an unhealthy rate of growth," said Liss. "They are bred for rapid growth that allows the birds to be slaughtered earlier but which results in health problems like lameness, heart attack, and even sudden death."

Source: AWI

Panorama Meats, Wellshire Farms team up for grass-fed hot dogs

Panorama Meats Inc., the nation’s largest producer of USDA Certified Organic and 100 percent grass-fed and finished beef, has partnered with Wellshire Farms of Swedesboro, N.J., to produce a line of organic grass-fed beef hot dogs exclusively for Whole Foods Markets. The hot dogs are being introduced under the Wellshire Farms label in Whole Foods’ 30 Northern California stores, but will eventually be available to other Whole Foods stores throughout the country.

Panorama will offer consumer tastings of the new hot dogs and its ground beef from May 12 through June 1 at Whole Foods stores throughout Northern California. Panorama cattle are raised entirely on pastures of natural grasses, legumes and range forage. Cattle are never implanted with hormones, fed animal by-products or treated with antibiotics. All animals are raised in compliance with the Born and Raised in the USA verification program.

Source: Panorama Meats Inc.

Cargill donates to hunger relief in Southern Iowa

Cargill has donated $17,218 to the Food Bank of Southern Iowa to help fight hunger throughout the state. The contribution also included product from Cargill's pork plant in Ottumwa.

"Many of our neighbors are struggling to put food on the table, and as a company committed to nourishing people, we saw an opportunity to help strengthen our community," said Randy Zorn, facility manager of the Cargill Pork Plant in Ottumwa. "We recognize that Cargill's continued success depends on the growth and health of our communities, including our valued nonprofit partners."

The contributions in Southern Iowa are part of Cargill's ongoing effort to fight hunger through both long-term solutions and emergency grants. This is especially important at a time when nonprofit organizations are facing a growing demand for their services while donations are shrinking.

"As we strive to be a global leader in nourishing people, Cargill is proud to work with the Food Bank of Southern Iowa," said Kaye DeLange, facility manager of the Cargill Eddyville facility. "In my mind, there's no better way for a food company such as Cargill to give back to the community in which it operates."

Source: Cargill

PM Beef earns BRC Global Standards certification

PM Beef has earned the Global Standard for Food Safety certification presented by the British Retail Consortium (BRC). This certification is designed to reassure retailers and manufacturers alike that their suppliers meet stringent requirements for safety and quality.

"Retailers around the world recognize the BRC Global Standard as the benchmark for safety," said Lisa Hernandez, vice president of quality assurance and food safety at PM Beef. "Earning the Global Standard validates the trust our customers already have in us, and shows the industry that we have the processes and the vision in place to compete in a global market."

The BRC Global Standard audits are conducted by fully accredited third-party certification bodies. Audits are based on seven sub-categories: senior management commitment, food safety plan (HACCP), food safety and quality management system, site standards, product control, process control, and personnel.

"PM Beef was the first U.S. beef processor to receive the Safe Quality Food Level 3 certification from FMI," added Hernandez. "By earning the BRC Global Standard as well, we are perfectly positioned as a company that lives up to its commitment to provide customers the highest-quality beef."

Source: PM Beef

Whataburger brings back BBQ chicken sandwich

Just in time for National Barbecue Month, Whataburger brings back its limited-time menu item, the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich, beginning May 10 through June 21.

The sandwich, first introduced in February 2005, features Whataburger's sweet and tangy Honey BBQ sauce, three real chicken breast tenderloins and two slices of Monterey Jack cheese. This year customers can choose to have the sandwich on a big toasted bun or Texas Toast.

"We get e-mails year round from customers asking us when they can get the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip sandwich again - it's that popular," said Rich Scheffler, Whataburger Restaurants LP group director of marketing. "We always look forward to bringing back the favorites, and we think people will enjoy having the option to choose between a bun and Texas Toast."

Source: Whataburger Restaurants LP