MegaMex Foods LLC, a joint venture between Hormel Foods Corp. and Herdez Del Fuerte, S.A. de C.V., announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100 percent of the stock of Don Miguel Foods Corp. from TSG4 L.P., a private equity fund sponsored by TSG Consumer Partners LLC and private investors. The transaction is expected to close in October 2010; terms were not disclosed.

Don Miguel Foods is a leading provider of branded frozen and fresh authentic Mexican flavored appetizers, snacks and hand-held items. The portfolio includes mini tacos, flautas, taquitos, empanadas, burritos and roller grill items.

“Growth through the strategic acquisition of Don Miguel Foods is an important step toward making us stronger for the future,” said Enrique Hernández-Pons Torres, chairman of the board of MegaMex Foods. “Adding these leading product categories to our portfolio brings us closer to achieving our goal of being a one-stop-shop for Mexican foods for our customers.”

“Don Miguel Foods will add new competencies that will allow us to continue expanding our presence in the nation’s leading convenience stores, club stores and supermarkets,” said Luis G. Marconi, managing director at MegaMex Foods.

Don Miguel Foods has a manufacturing and distribution center located in the Dallas, Texas, area.

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.

Pilgrim's Pride resumes shipments to Russia

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said it resumed export shipments to Russia after the Food Safety Inspection Service finalized certificates that must accompany the shipments. Pilgrim's has four Russia-approved processing plants that are currently packing product for Russia. Those plants are located in Boaz, Ala.; Russellville, Ala.; Athens, Ga.; and Dallas, Texas.

"Demand from Russia is very strong. We have sold out our entire Russian-approved production for the next 30 days and prices have continued to strengthen," said Don Jackson, Pilgrim's president and chief executive. "Russia is an important export market for U.S. chicken and the re-opening of the borders will be a significant benefit to our company and industry."

In July, Russian officials signed a formal poultry agreement with the United States outlining new processing requirements for domestic chicken that is to be exported to Russia. Earlier this year, Russia had banned all U.S. chicken that had been processed with chlorinated water. Under the new requirements approved in July, U.S. chicken companies can replace the chlorinated rinse with cetylpyridinium chloride, peroxyacetic acid or hydrogen peroxide.

Source: Pilgrim's Pride Corp.

Organic Trade Association moving to Vermont

The Organic Trade Association, which has called Greenfield, Mass., home since 1990, announced its upcoming move of its headquarters to the Graduate Center building in downtown Brattleboro planned for later this fall.

"This move by the Organic Trade Association to Vermont is a testament to the importance of organic agriculture in our state and the leadership and entrepreneurial spirit found here. I have long worked with the Organic Trade Association in Washington on organic policy matters and am delighted it has chosen Vermont as its home base and to bring these jobs to Brattleboro," said Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy. Leahy, now the second most senior member of the U.S. Senate, often is called the 'father of organic' because as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee he wrote and passed the Organic Foods Production Act as part of the 1990 Farm Bill. In 2009 he was the first recipient of OTA's Public Servant Award that recognizes individuals in government who have played key roles in organic agriculture and trade policies.

"Marlboro College Graduate Center's state-of-the-art facility in downtown Brattleboro will provide a nice complement to OTA's Washington, D.C., office," said Christine Bushway, OTA's Executive Director and CEO. She added, "It is exciting to be moving to Vermont, well respected for its interest and support for organic agriculture, sustainability, and green initiatives, particularly at this time when OTA is marking its 25th anniversary, and celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Organic Foods Production Act."

Vermont is among the leaders of organic agriculture in the United States. According to the 2008 Organic Production Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service, Vermont ranked tenth of all the states in the amount of organic farms. Meanwhile, its farms' 2008 organic sales, at nearly $73 million, placed Vermont in eighth position in organic sales by state.

The Vermont Economic Progress Council has approved up to $86,300 in Vermont Employment Growth Incentives to enable OTA to move its operations, including membership acquisition and retention, public relations, marketing, regulatory review and tracking, support services for legislative activities and administration of USDA and other grants, to Vermont instead of remaining in Massachusetts or consolidating these operations in Washington, D.C.

Source: OTA

Diamond Ranch Foods adds to board of directors

Diamond Ranch Foods Ltd., a meat, poultry and seafood processing and foodservice distribution company, announced the appointment of Victor Petrone, chief financial officer and chief operations officer, to the company's Board of Directors.

“Victor is a highly qualified and well-respected professional who is sure to add tremendous value and support to Diamond Ranch’s Board of Directors,” stated Louis Vucci, Jr., chairman and CEO of Diamond Ranch Foods Ltd. “He has already exemplified top executive and leadership skills as our CFO/COO and will be an integral part in the implementation of our acquisition strategy.”

The company said in a statement that Petrone will be an exceptional addition to the Board of Directors with his views and experience on various board matters, as well as corporate governance practices. A Graduate of The Wharton School of Business; University of Pennsylvania, Petrone has almost 30 years of food distribution, restaurant operation, import/export, and public company experience to his credit. Prior to joining Diamond Ranch Foods, Petrone operated an import-export company representing over 70 manufacturers and up to 500 product lines specializing in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America markets.

“I am pleased to become a Board member at a very integral part of the company’s growth. The coming months will be a very exciting time as we implement our acquisition strategy and begin to shape the infrastructure and future direction of Diamond Ranch Foods,” stated Petrone.

Source: Diamond Ranch Foods Ltd.