The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been released, emphasizing the importance of consuming a balanced diet, eating less sodium and more nutrient dense foods and carefully monitoring what Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack characterized as “calories in, calories out.”

Underscoring that that the Guidelines affirm the role that lean meat and poultry can play in a balanced diet, AMI Executive Vice President James H. Hodges said, “Meat and poultry products are some the most nutrient dense foods available, are excellent sources of complete protein, iron and zinc and maintain an excellent nutrition per calorie ratio. Complete proteins provide all of the essential amino acids necessary for growth and good overall health.”

The guidelines include 23 key recommendations for the general public and six for specific groups like pregnant women. Key recommendations include:
    * Increase in vegetable and fruit intake;
    * Increase whole grain consumption;
    * Eat a variety of protein foods;
    * Eat more fish;
    * Replace protein foods higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oil.

“It is noteworthy that the government’s previous recommendation that consumers eat five to seven ounces from the meat, poultry and beans group will remain unchanged. This makes sense because the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s documents show that the meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts group is the only group that is consumed in the recommended amount,” Hodges said.

News reports seized on the Guidelines new recommendation to reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduction to 1,500 mg for almost half of the U.S. population, including those 51 and older, and those of any age who are African American, have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

“An analysis of the top 20 sodium contributing foods consumed by Americans shows that only three of these foods are meat products or food products that contain meat,” Hodges said. “Still, the meat industry is actively responding with efforts expand its low and reduced sodium offerings in an effort to meet different nutrition needs.”

AMI is a member of the MyPyramid Partnership and states that it will continue to voice support for the premise that a well-balanced diet, proper portion sizes and exercise are keys to overall good health and wellness.

“Our industry is committed to nourishing people. Not only do we offer the most affordable meat supply in the world, we also offer the most diverse meat and poultry supply, too. The meat case includes a growing array of lean, low-fat and low-sodium products that help people find products that meet their unique dietary needs – and products they will enjoy,” Hodges said.

“These recommendations highlight the long-standing body of science that says in very clear terms that the key to a healthy lifestyle is a balanced diet that includes each of the key food groups, coupled with daily exercise,” Hodges added.

The National Pork Board, also a MyPyramid member, issued a statement declaring that “the Guidelines show that animal proteins are essential to the diet, as meat provides vital nutrients such as heme iron and vitamin B12 which many Americans lack. Pork, in particular, is a lean, low-calorie, nutrient-rich protein which can help with weight control. In fact, recent studies show eating lean meats such as pork can lead to weight loss by reducing hunger sensations, helping people feel full and preserving lean muscle mass.”

To read the guidelines, go to

Source: AMI, NPB

Perdue receives USDA Process Verified Seal

Perdue is the first poultry company to receive the USDA Process Verified Seal for its practices. The United States Department of Agriculture has verified that Perdue products with this seal are from chickens that have been raised without cages and/or were fed an all vegetarian diet.

"We worked directly with the USDA to create verification programs that would give consumers added confidence in how our chickens are raised and what they are fed," says Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue. "The USDA is a trusted resource, and we believe the seal will make it easier for consumers to choose chicken products they can feel good about feeding their families."

The introduction of this new seal will help address consumer uncertainty about label claims. According to a 2011 national telephone survey conducted by Infogroup/Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Perdue, of those consumers who purchased raw, fresh chicken in the past six months and read product labels:
* Nine out of ten (89%) consumers do not believe everything meat or poultry packaging and labels say or claim. 
* Three-fifths (60%) of consumers do not know who is responsible for making sure the health and other claims made on product packaging are accurate.
* Nearly forty percent (40%) of consumers prefer products that have been verified by a third party.

The USDA Process Verified Seal indicates that the USDA has audited the company's processes behind claims made on the product's packaging – so consumers know they can trust it. Perdue's USDA Process Verified programs include "All Vegetarian Diet," "No Animal Byproducts" and "Raised Cage Free".

"We feed our birds the finest natural grain products, including corn, soybeans and marigolds, with no animal byproducts," says Perdue. Products carrying the Raised Cage Free claim are verified to come from birds that are free to move about within temperature-controlled chicken houses.

To educate consumers about USDA process verification and label claims they may find on poultry products, Perdue has created an online destination, The site also features an opportunity to enter the Perdue Verifiably Good video contest, an online search for the best techniques for cooking and preparing chicken. The contest begins on February 1, 2011 and the winner will receive a cash prize and coupons for a year's worth of Perdue chicken products. For full details, including Official Rules, visit

Source: Perdue Farms Inc.

Hormel shareholders approve 2-for-1 stock split

Hormel Foods Corp. announced stockholder approval of a two-for-one stock split at the company’s Annual Meeting of Stockholders on Monday, Jan. 31, 2011. The stock split, first approved by the company’s Board of Directors on Nov. 22, 2010, is implemented by splitting the par value of the company’s common stock from $.0586 to $.0293 per share and increasing the number of authorized shares from 400 million to 800 million.

Stockholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 31, 2011, will receive one additional share of common stock for each share owned on that date. Under the rules of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), where the company’s common stock is traded between Jan. 31 and the distribution of the new shares planned by Feb. 14, 2011, the selling stockholder is responsible for delivering the new shares received to the buyer.

The annual dividend rate, when adjusted for the two-for-one split, will be $.51 per share.

Source: Hormel Foods Corp.

Former Bryan Foods facility to become industrial park

An Ohio-based salvage company is tearing down much of an old meat processing plant in West Point, Miss., with plans to refurbish the rest as a small industrial park. AP reports that Fred Kohart, demolition manager for Kohart Surplus and Salvage of Paulding, Ohio, hopes to rehabilitate the 70-acre Bryan Foods site to attract another industry or at least a few other tenants.

"It's a two-, two-and-half-year project," he said. "Some of the buildings are fairly modern and in pretty good shape and we're fixing them up. We're making some office space now."

The 550,000-square-foot plant was closed by Sara Lee Corp. in 2007, leaving more than 1,200 people out of work. The unemployment rate in the area has remained in the upper double digits ever since. About 350,000 square feet of the facility will be demolished. Kohart acquired it in September.

Source: AP