Valley Meat Company, a Modesto, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately one million pounds of frozen ground beef patties and bulk ground beef products that may be contaminated withE. coliO157:H7, the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.

FSIS became aware of the problem on July 15 when the agency was notified by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) of a small E. coli O157:H7 cluster of illnesses with a rare strain as determined by PFGE subtyping. A total of six patients with illness onset dates between April 8 and June 18, 2010 were reported at that time. After further review, CDPH added another patient from February to the case count, bringing the count to seven. FSIS is continuing to work with the CDPH and the company on the investigation.

The products subject to recall bear the establishment number "EST. 8268" inside the USDA mark of inspection as well as a production code of 25709 through 01210. These products were produced between the dates of Oct. 2, 2009 through Jan. 12, 2010 and were distributed to retail outlets and institutional foodservice providers in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona and internationally.

Source: FSIS

Tyson releases 2010 Sustainability Report

Tyson Foods has released its third sustainability report, after releasing reports in 2005 and 2007. The latest report, titled “Rooted in Tradition, Growing Responsibly,” details the company’s progress in water conservation, renewable fuels production and workplace safety improvements for fiscal 2008 and 2009.

“The business case for sustainable practices is positive, bottom-line impact. Improving conditions for our people, planet, and profit makes economic sense. That bottom line argument is even more important in this tough economy – especially for our Team Members and shareholders,” said Donnie Smith, Tyson president/CEO, in a statement.

The company has set up four sustainability goals:
    *  Reduce water usage by 10 percent over a two-year period as compared to water usage levels at the end of fiscal year 2008;
    * Produce up to 75 million gallons of bio-fuel a year from animal fat within the next four years;
    * Donate millions of pounds of protein annually to Feeding America food banks across the country; and
    * Support government policies that will not overuse food, such as corn for renewable fuel, and encourage efforts to find non-food sources of renewable energy.

Among the company’s successes is Dynamic Fuels, a joint venture between Tyson and Syntroleum Corp., broke ground in October 2008 on a plant that will convert low grade, inedible fats and greases into renewable transportation fuels for the civilian and military markets. The facility, located in Geismer, Louisiana, is currently scheduled to begin production later this year, with an expected total capacity of 75 million gallons per year of renewable diesel fuel.

The full report is available at

Source: Tyson Foods

ConAgra adds to Banquet, Manwich lines

ConAgra Foods Inc. introduced six new varieties of Banquet frozen entrees, two new flavors of Van Camp's baked beans and Manwich Thick & Chunky, the first new flavor of Manwich sloppy joe sauce in nearly 10 years.

"With the lingering effects of the recession, many shoppers are turning to canned and frozen products, which can offer both cost savings and convenience for those who are cooking and eating at home more," said Phil Lempert, Supermarket Guru and spokesperson for ConAgra Foods. "For an average retail price of $1 and under per serving, the new frozen entrees from Banquet and Manwich Thick & Chunky variety deliver value-priced meals that are also great tasting and wholesome."

Fhe Banquet Family Size entrees product line has expanded from four varieties to seven with new items including Zesty Marinara Sauce over Meatballs, Cheesy Smothered Charbroiled Patties, and Chicken Marinara. New Single Serve entrees, with an average retail price of $1, include Cheesy Macaroni & Beef, Spaghetti & Popcorn Chicken, and Honey Mustard Chicken.

"The majority of Banquet consumers enjoy our entrees for dinner at home so they're looking for a balanced meal that includes meat," said Christiane Brocky, brand director, ConAgra Foods. "We've also added kid-favorite meals such as Cheesy Macaroni & Beef and Spaghetti & Popcorn Chicken to appeal more to the whole family."

Manwich Thick & Chunky, with an average retail price of $1.50 for a 15-ounce can, has the same spices and seasoning as Original Manwich with a thicker sauce and more chunks of sweet onions and bell peppers.

"It's a sloppy joe that's a bit less sloppy because of the thicker sauce," said Sandra Williams, brand director, ConAgra Foods. "And with the bigger chunks of vegetables, which are more visible in the sauce, moms feel confident that Manwich is a wholesome family meal for a great value."

Source: ConAgra Foods Inc.