The Humane Society of the United States has filed a class action lawsuit in New Jersey against Perdue Farms, accusing the nation's third-largest poultry producer of falsely advertising its chickens as "humanely raised." The suit alleges that the company’s marketing violates New Jersey’s consumer fraud law, reports theBaltimore Sun.

"Companies like Perdue are exploiting the dramatic growth of consumer demand for improved animal welfare for their own profit," Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president and a chief counsel for HSUS, said in a statement. "Rather than implementing humane reforms, Perdue has simply slapped 'humanely raised' stickers on its factory farmed products, hoping consumers won't know the difference."

The suit was brought on behalf of a New Jersey woman who bought a Perdue Harvestland chicken, which is marketed as being “purely all-natural” and “humanely raised.” The HSUS claims that raising birds according to the National Chicken Council welfare guidelines is not humane treatment, and that slaughtering them by industry-standard techniques causes unnecessary pain to the animals.

Perdue issued a statement that said its farmers' handling of their chickens exceeds industry standards, and that the Humane Society's suit is based on "narrow, arbitrary standards" of humane treatment.

"Our chickens are raised cage-free on family farms in temperature-controlled housing with a continuous flow of fresh air, and they remain free to move about with constant access to food and water," e-mailed Luis A. Luna, Perdue's vice president for corporate communications.

Source: Baltimore Sun

Isernio's Sausage names GM

Isernio’s Sausage, a producer of premium, lean, all-natural sausage, announced the promotion of Michael Durand to general manager. Durand previously served as vice president of sales for two years, during which time he grew the company’s distribution geographically beyond the Northwest into multiple U.S. markets. He also secured distribution agreements with top national grocers, including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Safeway, Supervalu, Super Target, Save Mart/Lucky and Winco Foods. Since joining Isernio’s in 2006, Durand has contributed to the company’s overall growth by 63 percent.

“Michael’s expertise, contribution to the company and record of success in several key growth areas are important to Isernio’s as we expand our distribution and launch our chicken sausage roll products across the country,” said Frank Isernio, CEO and president of Isernio’s. “Michael has played an important role in growing Isernio’s, and I look forward to his playing a major leadership role here as general manager.”

In his new role, Durand will focus on day-to-day leadership of the company and implementation of strategic plans across all departments. He will oversee the company’s direct and broker-driven sales organization and will work to help the company scale to meet the demands of future growth. He will continue to fulfill the responsibilities of his previous post until the vice president of sales position is filled.

Durand has more than 20 years of consumer packaged goods experience. Prior to Isernio’s, he served as the area manager - west at Brach’s Confections Inc., where he managed $40 million in revenue through direct store delivery and self supplied channels. Durand strategically launched the Fresh Candy Shoppe direct store delivery program to major retailers throughout the west. Prior to that, he served as district sales manager for Kraft Inc. where he was responsible for rolling out the new Di’Giorno frozen pizza line.

Source: Isernio’s Sausage

Beef industry sets framework for three-year strategic plan

In the second meeting of the Beef Industry Long Range Planning Task Force, November 22-23 in Denver, 20 beef industry leaders developed the framework for a three-year strategic plan. The task force, representing every segment of the U.S. beef industry, drafted a vision and mission statement and outlined six core strategies vital to the future of the industry.

The draft vision: “An industry united around a common goal of being the world’s most trusted and preferred source of beef products.”

The draft mission: “To work collectively in providing the safest, highest-quality beef and beef products for our growing and increasingly diverse domestic and global customers to ensure sustainability for the environment and future generations.”

The six core strategies vital to achieving the vision and mission are to:
* Capitalize on global growth opportunities
* Increase domestic demand for beef
* Grow the U.S. cow herd
* Strengthen beef industry image
* Protect and enhance our freedom to operate
* Improve intra-industry relationships, trust, and openness
“I’m excited by the discussion and depth of thinking around this table,” says co-chair Charles Miller, owner of C&J Cattle Co., Nicholasville, Ky. “We’re going to bring some innovative thinking to the core strategies we identified.”

“This is a work in progress and we will be gathering additional input from stakeholders in the industry,” says co-chair Robert Rebholtz, president and CEO of Agri Beef Co., Boise, Idaho. “This plan will guide the entire industry over the next three years. It is important to get it right.”

The task force will meet again in January to complete a draft of the long-range plan in early 2011 for consideration by the directors of various industry organizations.

Source: NCBA

Mexican poultry processor wins country's top food safety award

Industrias Bachoco S.A.B. de C.V., Mexico's leading producer and processor of poultry products, announced that during the annual meeting ceremony of the National Food and Agricultural Council, the company was honored with the National Food Quality Award.

This award is the highest honor for companies in the industry and is presented annually by the National Agricultural Council with the presence of the Mexican president and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food.

Javier Bours, chairman of the board, and Rodolfo Ramos, Bachoco's CEO, received the award from Felipe Calderon, president of Mexico.

"We are so honored to receive this award,” said Ramos. For us, this award is the result of the best performance by all of our management team, which is always focusing on productivity improvements to deliver products with high quality that satisfy our customers' needs."

Source: Industrias Bachoco S.A.B. de C.V.