Mexico has added pork to a list of 99 products on which it is raising tariffs under the North American Free Trade Agreement, after Congress chose not to renew a pilot program that allowed Mexican trucks to haul freight into the United States beyond a 26-mile commercial zone.

The Cross-Border Trucking Program was started by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2007, as a way to begin implementing the trade-agreement trucking provision, reports the Des Moines Register. The issue came under fire in Texas, where truckers protested the idea of letting Mexican trucks crossing the U.S. border and into the U.S. interior rather than offloading their freight into U.S. trucks.

The National Pork Producers Council issued a statement both criticizing the U.S. and Mexican governments.

“Mexico’s retaliation against U.S. pork will have negative economic consequences for America’s pork producers,” said NPPC President Sam Carney, a producer from Adair, Iowa. “We are extremely disappointed that our top volume export market has taken this action, but we’re more disappointed that the United States is not living up to its trade obligations.

“That failure not only has hurt dozens of U.S. industries economically, but it could prompt other countries to think twice about entering into trade deals with the United States,” Carney added. “Our trading partners need assurance that the United States will live up to its trade obligations.”

The NPPC added that it is urging the Obama Administration to work with Congress and resolve the trucking issue.

Sources: Des Moines Register, NPPC

Poulson to retire as executive vice president of Smithfield Foods

Smithfield Foods Inc. announced that Richard J. M. Poulson, executive vice president, will retire from Smithfield effective September 1, 2010.

C. Larry Pope, president and CEO, said, "Dick has been an extremely valuable member of the senior management team and has been helpful in our growth from a domestic provider of excellent pork products into one of the world's most respected and recognized meat protein suppliers. He has been instrumental in many of Smithfield's major acquisitions, including leading our acquisitions in Poland, Romania, and Western Europe, as well as serving as an important advisor to our Board of Directors.

"We truly appreciate Dick's dedication, enthusiasm, and business insights and wish him all the success for the future," Pope concluded.

Source: Smithfield Foods Inc.

Q2 income surges for Marfrig Group

Brazilian processor Marfrig recorded net income of $127.4 million reais in the second quarter, which was 206% higher than the R$41.7 million posted in the previous quarter. Net income in the first six months of the year was R$170 million. Driven by stronger sales in the Brazil operations, Marfrig's gross revenue reached R$3.8 billion in the second quarter, up 10% on the amount registered in the prior quarter. In the year to date, gross revenue was R$7.2 billion, 43% higher than in the same six-month period of 2009.

The second quarter also registered important events for the Marfrig Group and global food markets, such as the conclusion of the company's successful US$500 million international bond issue and the Seara brand's unique sponsorship of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The most important fact in the period was the announcement of the acquisition of the U.S. multinational Keystone Foods, which is one of the world's largest food companies, with over 28,000 restaurants and 54 operational units in the United States, New Zealand and Australia and countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. After consolidating this business, the Marfrig Group will have 151 units in 22 countries, with 85,000 employees.

Source: Marfrig Group

Perdue teams with Crayola

Perdue Farms Inc. announced a national contest encouraging families to enter an original picture of how they bring fun to the dinner table for a chance to win prizes including a cruise package, a year's supply of Perdue Frozen Fully Cooked Chicken and a prize pack of Crayola and Perdue products.

Families can submit their pictures, photos or original drawings of how they make mealtime fun online at and invite their family and friends to come back in October to vote for their picture. The twenty pictures with the most votes will be deemed finalists. The grand prize, first prize and second prize winners will be chosen from the finalists by Perdue's judging panel. The judges will be looking for creativity, originality and the extent to which the artwork shows off a fun, family meal.

"Perdue is committed to delivering delicious and quick meals for families so they can spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying their meal," says Jim Perdue, chairman, Perdue Farms. "We are thrilled to partner with Crayola to allow children to share their creativity and make mealtime a fun time for the whole family."

Entrants can take a digital photo, color a freehand picture or enter a creation from Crayola Lights, Camera, Color!, an online program at that allows users to upload a digital photo and turn it into a coloring page. A free access code can be found on packages of Perdue Frozen Fully Cooked or Refrigerated Breaded Nuggets.

Source: Perdue Farms Inc.