A federal appeals court rejected the Cherokee Nation’s request to intervene in Oklahoma’s water pollution trial against 11 poultry companies. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell's decision last year to prevent the tribe from being added as a plaintiff in a lawsuit the state filed against the companies in 2005, reports Business Week.

The trial stems from Oklahoma’s charges that disposal of poultry waste has damaged portions of the Illinois River watershed in Oklahoma, allowing bacteria to be carried into the lakes and streams.

Last year, Judge Frizzell ruled Oklahoma could not win damages against the poultry companies because the state failed to include the Cherokee Nation as a plaintiff. The state had sought more than $611 million in damages. The tribe’s lands lie within the watershed.

Sara Hill, an assistant attorney general for the Tahlequah-based Cherokee Nation, said in a statement that the tribe moved as quickly as it could to try to intervene.

"The Cherokee Nation has sought to protect its own water rights as well as the quality of that water since the inception of this lawsuit and will continue to do so," Hill said. She said the court's decision does not prevent the tribe from filing a separate lawsuit against the poultry producers.

"The Nation remains committed to cleaning up the Illinois River Watershed and holding polluters responsible for their actions," Hill said.

The trial between Oklahoma and the poultry companies concluded in February, and Judge Frizzell has not yet issued a ruling.

Source: Business Week

Pork supplies drop 27%

U.S. pork stockpiles fell 27 percent at the end of August, compared to the previous year, as farmers have reduced the size of their herds and meat prices have risen. Warehouses held 384.9 million pounds of pork, down from 530.1 million on Aug. 31, 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Inventories shrank 1.6 percent from the end of July, reports Bloomberg.

Stockpiles of pork bellies, which are cured and sliced to make bacon, plunged 86 percent on Aug. 31 from a year earlier to 6.89 million pounds, according to the report. That’s the lowest on record for the date, according to the USDA. Warehouse supplies of ham rose 2.7 percent to 139.6 million pounds.

Chicken-meat inventories at the end of August were 7.6 percent larger than a year earlier at 695.4 million pounds, the USDA said. Beef supplies shrank 8.3 percent to 385.2 million pounds.

Source: Bloomberg

Higher corn prices may lead to higher chicken prices

Tyson Foods Inc. said that higher costs for corn may force the company to raise the prices for chicken. Corn futures reached $5.2375 a bushel this month in Chicago, the highest price for a most-active contract since September 2008, as U.S. exports rose and yield forecasts were revised lower. Bloomberg news reported that Tyson, which uses corn and soybean meal as the primary feed for chicken, has covered its corn needs through the end of 2010 and the company has options to buy the crop at about $4 through December, said Gary Mickelson, a company spokesman.

“We’re closely monitoring grain prices and continue efforts to limit our exposure to price increases,” Mickelson said. “However, we believe higher corn prices will ultimately result in consumers paying more for chicken, since we’ll be forced to raise our prices to offset the increase in input costs.”

Source: Bloomberg

Hillshire Farms introduces Cheddarwurst sausage

Hillshire Farm today announced its new CheddarWurst Smoked Sausage. Adding variety to the traditional smoked sausage flavor, CheddarWurst Smoked Sausage combines real Wisconsin cheddar cheese and natural spices with quality cuts of meat to create unrivaled flavor that is the perfect complement to any fall meal.

“We’ve done extensive research to understand what our consumers are craving, namely bold flavors and quality ingredients like real Wisconsin cheddar top the list. Recent studies have found cheese to be a frequent and main component in meals. Therefore, we’re excited to add the new CheddarWurst Smoked Sausage to our offerings and delight families’ taste buds,” said Tim Roush, vice president lunch and dinner, Sara Lee North American Retail.

Added Roush, “The new CheddarWurst Smoked Sausage brings a bold and versatile flavor, and is the perfect ingredient to help mom serve up meals that will get noticed by her friends and family during the busy fall and winter seasons.”

Source: Sara Lee Corp.

Tyson offers new products for School Lunch Program

An example of Tyson Foods' commitment to the advancement of child nutrition was featured at the 2010 National Food Policy Conference, hosted by the Consumer Federation of America in cooperation with the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Tyson Wokin' Orange All-in-One Entree (Fully-Cooked Dark Meat Strips with Spicy Orange Sauce) was part of the meal served during a luncheon at the conference, which is focused this year on the issue of child nutrition and health.

The new chicken product, which was created for the National School Lunch Program, meets the government's nutritional guidelines for sodium, fat and protein. It is called an "all-in-one" product because it includes both the dark meat strips and the spicy orange sauce in the same box for customer convenience.

"Our ethnic-inspired, all-in-one product solution allows foodservice directors to meet the growing demand for authentic flavors, while at the same time delivering a solution that is operationally friendly and nutritionally sound," said Johnny Hughes, vice president and general manager of the Government Business Unit of Tyson Foods Inc. "We take pride in developing and serving products that not only help foodservice directors meet strict nutritional guidelines and stay within budget, but also appeal to some of the most demanding consumers around -- kids."

During product development, many of Tyson's school breakfast and lunch foods are tested by students as part of the company's Kid Tested, Kid Approved program.

"We have students taste and score new products to get their feedback," said Hughes. "This proven process allows us to offer kid-endorsed products to help increase average daily participation." An 80% or better approval rating during the testing is needed for the product to earn the Kid Tested, Kid Approved product seal.

"This product is also an example of our efforts to meet increased demand for bigger, bolder tastes," said Hughes. "Today's students are interested in a broader spectrum of flavors, especially ethnic creations with a bit of spice."

Source: Tyson Foods Inc.

Foodborne illness litigation seminar slated for October 27-28

The National Meat Association and the Midwest Food Processors Association are co-sponsoring the 4th National Forum on Food-Borne Illness Litigation, scheduled for October 27-28 at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel in Chicago.

Many experts within the industry are predicting that food-borne illness will soon become the #1 cause of litigation facing the food industry. Now is the time for food companies and the lawyers who advise them, to get updated on:
* What new pathogens are infecting our food supply - and how to best trace and isolate them in the context of a food contamination incident
* How to maintain control of the corporate message and the media while preserving your relationship and reputation with the consumer and corporate stakeholders
* Selecting the best scientific/medical expert for your case - what to look for in a consulting vs. testifying expert
* The investigative priorities of government regulators - and how they will impact litigation going forward

Representatives from key government agencies who are directly involved in public health investigations of food-borne illness outbreaks will be speaking, including: 
* David Goldman, Assistant Administrator, Food Safety Inspection Service, USDA
* Jack Guzewich, Senior Advisor, Environmental Health, CFSAN, Food and Drug Administration
* Arthur P. Liang, Director, Food Safety Office, Center for Disease Control
* Benjamin Miller, Operations and Response Section Manager, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
* Stephanie Meyer, Epidemiologist Senior, Minnesota Department of Health
* William E. Keene, Senior Epidemiologist, Oregon Public Health Division

NMA-member experts Dr. Melvin N. Kramer, president of EHA Consulting Group, and David M. Theno, former Senior Vice President, Quality and Logistics at Jack in the Box, Inc., will also be featured.
New for this year will be a live mock direct and cross examination of a real-life testifying epidemiologist in a food-borne illness case.

To register, call (888) 224-2480, fax the registration to (877) 927-1563 or register online at www.AmericanConference.com/foodlit.

Source: NMA, American Conference Institute