Maple Leaf Foods announced it will close its Larsen Packers plant in Berwick, Nova Scotia, next April, eliminating 280 jobs. The company, which has owned the plant since 2000, told the employees about the closure on Wednesday.

The Chronicle Herald reports that the plant will start winding down in February and be fully closed by April 29, according to company spokesman Rick Young. Young said Maple Leaf is following a restructuring plan designed to make it more competitive. That includes closing some of its 23 processing facilities across Canada and consolidating others.

"It has nothing to do with the employees, they’ve been wonderful," Young said. "The decision is associated with the competitive nature of this industry. . . . We need to compete."

He said that some of the plant’s employees would be offered jobs at the company’s facilities in Bedford, Truro or Moncton.
Berwick Mayor John Prall said that the town will work with Maple Leaf to find another use for the 200,000-square-foot facility. The plant currently accounts for about 18 percent of Berwick’s total tax revenue.

Source: Chronicle Herald

Russia clarifies frozen poultry ban, plans to drop import quota 33%

Russia planned ban on frozen chicken will be limited to processed products and gourmet items, meaning that the ban won’t affect retailers, said Albert Davleyev, director of the Moscow office of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council. The ban is expected to be approved by the Justice ministry within a week, reports Bloomberg.

“The resolution bans the use of any kind of poultry, other than chilled meat, in processed food and delicacies,” Davleyev said. “It has no relation to retail.” He added that the ban does not forbid sales or imports of frozen chicken.

Russian poultry and pork production will grow in 2011 even after a record drought cut fodder volumes this year, said the Russian Meat Union.

According to Bloomberg News, poultry production will gain no more than 10 percent next year, and the growth rate is declining, Musheg Mamikonian, head of the Meat Union, said today in Moscow at a food and beverage forum organized by Adam Smith Conferences, without elaborating. Pork output will increase more than 10 percent as farms expand, according to the Union’s estimates. Beef output will probably decline by 3 percent to 5 percent as farmers focus on improving the quality of dairy herds, Mamikonian said.

Mamikonyan added that the quota for poultry imports will drop 33 percent in order to help boost local production. The Moscow Times reports that the quota may drop to 400,000 tons, with about 70 percent of that number coming from the United States. The beef and pork import quotas will be kept at levels earlier announced by the Economic Development Ministry.

Source: Bloomberg, The Moscow Times

al fresco Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage recognized by Men's Health Magazine

al fresco All Natural was recently selected by Men's Health magazine to be one of "The 125 Best Foods for Men." al fresco's Sundried Tomato Chicken Sausage was named "Best Sausage" for not only being high in protein, but also a healthy version of a typically high-calorie food.

"We are thrilled to be recognized by Men's Health," said Sarah Crowley, al fresco's Senior Brand Manager. "Our all natural Sundried Tomato chicken sausage is a great option for men who want to choose foods with lots of delicious flavor but not a lot of fat and calories. All of al fresco's nine dinner sausage flavors have 70% less fat and 40% less sodium than traditional pork sausage and are a great source of lean protein."

Part of Men's Health magazine's Nutrition Awards, "The 125 Best Foods for Men" is an annual list compiled by the magazine's editors. It denotes the healthiest, tastiest grocery food finds for its readers.

Source: al fresco

Wash down your canned unicorn with some bacon soda this Thanksgiving

Two quirky companies are offering new items for the holiday season. ThinkGeek is officially introducing canned unicorm meat, after an earlier announcement earned the company a 12-page cease-and-desist letter from the National Pork Board objecting to the description of unicorn as “The New White Meat.” This version of the product is a plush unicorn divided into six pieces.

"We worked hard to create the perfect protein, something that would replace the traditional Thanksgiving meal, but getting enough supply of the original recipe proved...difficult," says Ty Liotta, head of product development at ThinkGeek. "In the end, we developed an alternative that we believe will delight every family when they sit down at the table this Thanksgiving."

Meanwhile, Jones Soda Co. has developed a limited-edition bacon-flavored soda, made in partnership with the makers of Bacon Salt. The company is offering a package that includes two bottles of Jones Bacon Soda, one tube of Bacon Lip Balm, one package of Bacon Popcorn and one package of Bacon Gravy Mix, for $9.99.

Sources: ThinkGeek, Jones Soda Co.