Russian officials have aggreed to life the country's ban on U.S. poultry imports, effective August 16. However, the country will only allow imports from 68 plants out of the 87 proposed by the United States, Reuters reports.

A U.S. government team said Russia's proposal was not an acceptable way to implement a deal signed on June 24 by President Barack Obama and President Dmitry Medvedev.

"We will continue to press Russia to fully implement this agreement," a statement from the U.S. government team said.
Moscow said the approved plants meet the production and processing conditions set by Russia's animal and plant health watchdog RosSelkhozNadzor. But the U.S. team said the list includes only eight of 27 poultry slaughter and processing plants that the U.S. Agriculture Department has determined should be eligible to ship to Russia.

"The remaining 60 plants that Russia is listing are cold storage facilities that can only handle poultry if there is poultry to handle," the U.S. statement said.

Source: Reuters

U.S. Foodservice finds new CEO

U.S. Foodservice announced that John A. Lederer will join the company on September 8, 2010, as its new president and CEO and member of the board of directors. Lederer is currently chairman and chief executive officer of Duane Reade, a New York based pharmacy retailer recently acquired by Walgreens.

“John is an incredibly accomplished executive whose personal integrity and leadership style are a great fit for the culture at U.S. Foodservice,” said Edward M. Liddy, chairman, U.S. Foodservice. “John also has tremendous depth in enhancing the customer value proposition and improving the customer experience and I’m confident he will be a terrific leader for U.S. Foodservice.”

Lederer joined Duane Reade in 2008 and led a company-wide revitalization effort. Prior to Duane Reade, he spent 30 years at Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada’s largest grocery retailer and wholesale food distributor. Lederer held a number of leadership roles at Loblaw including president from 2001 to 2006.

Lederer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from York University. He will be relocating to Chicago prior to starting with U.S. Foodservice.

Source: U.S. Foodservice

Chicago Meat Authority names Sheila Quinn COO

Chicago Meat Authority has named Sheila Quinn as chief operating officer. Quinn first came to CMA in April of 2009 as a consultant and accepted a permanent position as senior vice president of corporate planning in September 2009. As the COO, she will assume the day-to-day management of CMA.

“No one could assimilate into the fiber of this organization like Sheila or drive the growth we have in mind as effectively,” states Jordan Dorfman, president and CEO, “because of this, Sheila has ultimately become my right-hand person and I have asked her to assume the COO role effective immediately.” Quinn's past experience includes developing individuals and businesses to their potential through coaching and leadership initiatives, driving organizational change, and building relationships.

Source: Chicago Meat Authority

Senate leaders release managers package of FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

Senate leaders have released a 225-page manager’s package of the Food Safety Modernization Act, S. 510, a step which may make it easier to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote following summer recess. The exact timing of Senate floor time is still to be determined by leadership.

The six Senators who negotiated the package include Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), Ranking Member Mike Enzi (R-WY), authors of the Food Safety Modernization Act Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) and lead cosponsors Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Burr (R-NC).

Two issues not addressed in the manager’s package but have been a part of the discussion of S. 510, are amendments that could be offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator John Tester (D-MT). Senator Feinstein is seeking to ban Bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles, sippy cups, baby food and infant formula. Senator Tester is seeking to exempt small operations from the bill’s hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls requirements and traceability requirements and FDA Produce Standards.

“Any 100-year-old plus structure – like our nation’s food safety system – needs improvements,” said the lawmakers upon release of the package. “With this announcement today, we aim to not just patch and mend our fragmented food safety system, we hope to reinforce the infrastructure, close the gaps and create a systematic, risk-based and balanced approach to food safety in the United States. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act will place more emphasis on prevention of food borne illness and will provide new tools to respond to food safety problems. We look forward to working with our respective leaderships to take up this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible.”

To see the full manager’s package and Congressional Budget Office Analysis, go to

Source: American Meat Institute

Bacon popularity leads to higher pork belly prices

As bacon is added to more and more dishes and continues to grow in popularity, the price of pork bellies, from which bacon is made, rises as well. Pork bellies have shot up from 94 cents a pound as recently as June to $1.40 a pound in August, reports theDes Moines Register. On the retail side, the price of bacon has risen by more than $1 per pound since last year, according to a USDA report.

"The prices will go up even more in coming weeks because the bacon that's on the shelves now was purchased earlier in the futures market," says Joe Muelhaupt, executive vice president of Des Moines Cold Storage.

Market analysts say the reason for the suddenly high prices is simple shortage: A year ago, 76.3 million pounds of pork bellies were in commercial freezers around the country. In early August of this year that figure had dropped to 35.4 million pounds.

The relative shortage of pork bellies is an exaggerated version of the tighter supplies this year. U.S. farmers have reduced the number of hogs 3% in reaction to three years of low prices. Then add stronger demand, a 27% increase in exports and an end to the fears that arose last year over H1N1 virus, popularly known as swine flu.

Muelhaupt says big pork slaughter houses operated by Smithfield Foods and Tyson are taking most of the bellies to make their own bacon. That leaves fewer surplus bellies for commercial freezers around the country, including Des Moines Cold Storage.

"This is about as tight as we've ever seen it," Muelhaupt says.

Sources: Des Moines Register, USA Today