President Obama announced today his intent to recess-appoint four nominees to fill key administration posts that have been left vacant for an extended period of time.

“At a time when our nation faces so many pressing challenges, I urge members of the Senate to stop playing politics with our highly qualified nominees, and fulfill their responsibilities of advice and consent,” President Obama said in a statement. “Until they do, I reserve the right to act within my authority to do what is best for the American people.”

One of the nominees appointed in this manner is Dr. Elisabeth Hagen for under secretary of food safety in the USDA. Hagen is currently the USDA’s chief medical officer, serving as an advisor to USDA mission areas on a wide range of human health issues. Prior to her current post, she was a senior executive in FSIS, where she played a key role in developing and executing the agency’s scientific and public health agendas. She has been instrumental in building relationships and fostering coordination with food safety and public health partners at the federal, state and local level. Before joining the federal government in 2006, Hagen taught and practiced medicine in both the private and academic sectors, most recently in Washington, DC. She holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a B.S. from Saint Joseph’s University. Hagen completed her specialty medical training at the University of Texas Southwestern and the University of Pennsylvania, and is board certified in infectious disease.

The National Meat Association issued a statement congratulating Hagen.

“Dr. Hagen brings such a wealth of knowledge that we are confident she will quickly and effectively take charge of the Agency’s policy development team. I personally look forward to working with her towards our mutual goals of food safety and to continuing NMA’s good working relationship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said NMA CEO Barry Carpenter.

Source: White House, NMA

Hormel reports strong Q3 results

Hormel Foods Corp. reported fiscal 2010 third quarter net earnings of $85.4 million, up 11 percent from net earnings of $77.2 million a year earlier. Diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.63 this year compared to $0.57 per share last year. Sales totaled $1.7 billion, up 10 percent from $1.6 billion in fiscal 2009.

For the nine months ended July 25, 2010, adjusted net earnings were $287.8 million, up 20 percent from the same period last year. Diluted adjusted net earnings per share were $2.13 compared to $1.76, up 21 percent compared to last year. On a U.S. GAAP basis, the company reported net earnings of $274.4 million, up 15 percent from net earnings of $238.9 million a year earlier. Diluted U.S. GAAP net earnings per share were $2.03 compared to $1.76, up 15 percent compared to last year. Sales for the nine months ended July 25, 2010, were $5.2 billion compared to $4.9 billion, up 6 percent from last year.

“We are pleased to report strong earnings and sales this quarter, which were up 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively. We are gratified by the continued strong sales growth, particularly in our branded and value-added product portfolios. Earnings growth was attributable to segment profit gains in four of our five segments, led by Jennie-O Turkey Store. This segment had an excellent quarter, showing continued strength in all areas of the business,” said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and CEO.

“Our Refrigerated Foods segment had a strong quarter, benefiting from higher cutout margins, and our Specialty Foods segment continued its momentum this quarter on sales growth in all three of its business units. Our Grocery Products segment had a difficult quarter, hampered by higher raw material input costs,” commented Ettinger. “We continue to be pleased with the excellent progress made with our new product lines in both our MegaMex Foods business and our Country Crock side dish acquisition, both of which contributed to our positive results this quarter.”

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.

Lobel's Prime Meats teams with Weber for tailgating experience

Sports fans and tailgaters attending NFL games at the recently completed $1.6 billion New Meadowlands Stadium have direct access to authentic gourmet tailgating food plus a real tailgating experience--not only within the Stadium's gates but also outside in the parking lot--because of an innovative joint venture between Weber Grills and Lobel's Prime Meats.

Officially launched with the Jets vs. Giants pre-season game, the Lobel's & Weber Grilling Station features professional chefs grilling Lobel's USDA prime meats on huge Weber Ranch Kettle charcoal grills (each grill has a 1,104-inch cooking area) to sell gourmet sandwiches exclusively to tailgaters and other game attendees. Located in parking lot "L," adjacent to Meadowlands Racetrack and directly outside from the Pepsi Gate, sports fans will also be able to ask on-site Weber and Lobel's experts about grilling tips, tailgating recipes, and products while sharing their own experiences around the grill. Both companies have signed a deal with the state-of-the-art sports complex.

"We put this partnership together with Lobel's and Weber to offer upscale, hot-off-the-grill food in a parking lot before fans enter a stadium," said Ken Ferriter, vice president of corporate partnerships for the Meadowlands. "Tailgating has become a huge tradition here, and this project celebrates and embraces it."

In addition to a new, patented Lobel's USDA Prime Wrangler Steak Sandwich, consumers can purchase other offerings such as a Charred Boneless USDA Prime Short Rib Sandwich, a USDA Prime Grilled Skirt Steak Sandwich, and an Organic Chicken Kabob Sandwich.

According to Mark Lobel, co-owner of Lobel's, after the company experienced success selling its USDA prime steak sandwich inside Yankee Stadium, the family came up with the Grill Station idea. "We had this vision of offering the highest quality food directly to fans within a true tailgating experience. We immediately called Weber Grills to be our partner because we're like-minded brands, and we've had a long-standing relationship."

A second Lobel's & Weber Grilling Station will be staged within the Meadowlands' "Railgate" area, where a new rail line directly drops off passengers from New York's Penn Station.

Lobel's specializes in gourmet meats, including USDA prime, Natural Prime and American Wagyu beef, all-natural veal and lamb, fresh poultry, Berkshire pork and specialty products. Lobel's history dates back more than 170 years and five generations. During the past 60 years, the Lobels have cultivated a reputation as the "butchers to the stars" for the celebrity clientele who flock to their Madison Avenue storefront in the heart of Manhattan's Upper Eastside.

Source: Weber-Stephen Products Co.

Pat La Frieda Meats to be featured on ShopNBC

Manhattan-based butcher Pat La Frieda is scheduled to appear on ShopNBC (, a popular lifestyle brand in multi-media retailing. The premiere of Pat La Frieda Meats, which will be the first national roll-out of the product to the general public, will occur on Monday, August 23 at 7pm ET and on Tuesday, August 24 at 2pm ET.

Pat La Frieda, president of Pat La Frieda Wholesale Meat Purveyors, says, "For more than 90 years, my family's business has been built upon selling directly to restaurants across North America, but never before have our products been directly available to the general public. We are thrilled to have a multi-channel platform like ShopNBC that will allow us to reach more than 76 million homes nationwide and provide their viewers with the same quality meats that top-rated restaurateurs and chefs have been using for decades."

The Pat La Frieda product line on ShopNBC will feature eclectic blends of burgers, cuts of steak, and sausage links. The product line was developed to reflect the best of what La Frieda has to offer. The show will feature tips on sourcing, buying, cutting and preparing meat, and La Frieda will entertain viewers with stories, give them the confidence to shop for and cook their meat, and provide them with reason to tune in again and again.

"The Pat La Frieda family has a wonderful heritage, and its high quality meats have earned the highest of marks as a supplier to many of New York City's finest restaurants,” said Bob Ayd, ShopNBC's president. “Because ShopNBC is the premium lifestyle brand in the multi-media retailing industry, we are always hungry to add new, unique and special product offerings to surprise and entertain our customers. Now, for the first time ever, ShopNBC viewers across America can enjoy a taste of New York's finest 5-star restaurant quality burgers, steaks, sausages and more - shipped fresh, not frozen and ready to enjoy - all at a tremendous value.”

Source: ShopNBC