Poultry is still the leading culprit in food poisoning outbreaks, health officials said Thursday. Chicken, turkey and other poultry accounted for 17 percent of the food-borne illness outbreaks reported to the government. Beef and leafy vegetables were close behind, at 16 percent and 14 percent, reports the Associated Press.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covers outbreaks in 2007. Poultry was also the No. 1 source of outbreaks in 2006.

Salmonella and other kinds of bacteria caused about half of the outbreaks, the CDC said. Viruses — like norovirus — caused about 40 percent, mushroom toxin or other chemical agents were blamed for 7 percent. Parasites accounted for 1 percent.

The CDC counted more than 21,000 illnesses in about 1,100 outbreaks in 48 states and Puerto Rico. There were 18 deaths from food poisoning.

It's far from a complete picture, however. Experts estimates that only about 5 percent of people who get food poisoning are part of a recognized outbreak, which is a cluster of two or more cases.

"It's just the tip of the iceberg," said Michael Doyle, head of the University of Georgia's food safety center.

An estimated 87 million cases of food-borne illness occur in the United States each year, including 371,000 hospitalizations and 5,700 deaths, according to an Associated Press calculation that combines a CDC formula with recent population estimates.

Source: Associated Press

Falling sales at Arby's hurts Wendy's Q2 profit

Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. reported a 28-percent drop in profit as the company was hurt by falling sales by the Arby's chain. Net income dropped to $10.7 million, down from $14.9 million a year earlier. Total revenue slumped 3.9 percent to $877 million, Bloomberg reports.

Sales at Arby’s restaurants in the U.S. and Canada open at least 15 months sank 7.4 percent, while sales at Wendy’s fell 1.7 percent. Both chains are trying to spur traffic with lower- priced foods, such as 99-cents Spicy Chicken Nuggets at Wendy’s, to compete with discount offerings by larger rivals McDonald’s Corp. and Burger King Holdings Inc.

Source: Bloomberg

Chick-fil-A opens 1500th restaurant

Chick-fil-A Inc. celebrated the opening of its 1,500th restaurant and its first location in downtown Los Angeles. Located adjacent to the University of Southern California, the new restaurant is one of 78 locations the chain plans to open this year, creating nearly 4,500 new jobs nationwide. The milestone 1,500th Chick-fil-A restaurant opening comes 43 years after founder Truett Cathy opened his first location in an Atlanta shopping mall and represents the coast-to-coast reach of the chain.

The chain has been aggressively expanding in California since opening its first stand-alone restaurant in Chino Hills in 2004, after operating several mall locations for many years. The chain has since opened more than 30 locations in California and announced it will open a Hollywood location during the first quarter of 2011. Chick-fil-A will continue to focus its expansion in Southern California with additional restaurants planned for the Bay Area and Central Coast region for future development.

"The opening of the 1,500th restaurant and our company's continued expansion plans in urban areas truly demonstrate our steadfast vision for strategic growth in key markets around the country," said Dan T. Cathy, president and COO. "This milestone is a reflection of the commitment to service by our restaurant operators and their employees, and our loyal customer following who created the need for more Chick-fil-A locations in metro Los Angeles."

In addition to expansion in California, Chick-fil-A is continuing its growth in the Midwest. Chick-fil-A will open its first three Chicagoland-area restaurants in Aurora, Orland Park and Wheaton over the next three months and plans to increase its St. Louis presence in 2011.

Chick-fil-A is marking another strong year in sales, reporting approximately $1.5 billion in system-wide sales through June 2010. This number represents an overall 9.5 percent increase over the chain's sales performance for the first six months of 2009, and a same-store sales increase of 3.75 percent.

Cathy added, "2010 has been a very exciting year for Chick-fil-A thus far, with the successful introduction of our new products like the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, and expansion into new markets that offer new ways to serve our customers. We are looking forward to more opportunities to learn from and serve our customers from coast-to-coast in the coming months."

Source: Chick-fil-A Inc.

Nolan Ryan Beef to be sold at Black-Eyed Pea restaurants

Nolan Ryan’s Beef is now being featured in several menu items at Black-Eyed Pea restaurants in Texas. Both Black-Eyed Pea and Nolan Ryan’s Beef have strong Texas roots according to Nolan Ryan.

“We are happy to be a part of such a great Texas tradition,” said Ryan. “Our beef is raised and processed in Texas and it means a lot to know it’s served in a restaurant whose roots are as deep as ours in Texas. We are glad to be featured in so many of Black-Eyed Pea’s menu items.”

According to Kori Langford, Black-Eyed Pea’s chief brand officer, the partnership with Nolan Ryan’s Beef is well-suited for their guests.

“At Black-Eyed Pea, we strive to provide our customers with the best tasting meals every time,” said Langford. “Nolan Ryan’s Beef is a perfect choice in beef for our menu items, because we know the quality our customers will get.”

Thirty Black-Eyed Pea restaurants in Texas will begin serving Nolan Ryan’s Guaranteed Tender Beef. They are kicking off the new partnership with a special limited-time-only menu items this summer: Chili Nachos, “Chow-Chow” Dog, Texas Chili Cheeseburger, Sirloin Steak Ka-Bobs.

It will also be serving everyday menu items that include the following: Chicken Fried Steak, House Made Meatloaf, Traditional Shepherd’s Pie, Charbroiled Chopped Steak, Top Sirloin Steak, and Build Your Own Burgers.

Source: Nolan Ryan's All-Natural Beef