TheRocky Mount Telegramreports that executives from Laurel, Miss.-based Sanderson Farms toured the area last week. The executives say they're still committed to bringing a 180,000-square foot plant to Nash County.

More than 30 residents of Nash and Wilson counties, along with the city of Wilson, have filed a lawsuit over the plan. They say Nash County's rezoning of land for industrial development violates state law. Residents say they're worried about the environmental effects of the plant.

Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson says the opposition is based on bad information. The plant could bring roughly 1,100 jobs to the area.

Source: Rocky Mount Telegram, The Sun News, AP

Midamar introduces halal air-chilled chicken

Midamar has introduced the first halal, air-chilled, antibiotic-free and organic chicken on the market. The chickens are humanely raised and processed in Iowa.

“We start with best possible genetics; the breed we use has time and again been amongst the top performers in the industry,” explains Jonathan Moore, poultry business manager at Midamar, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “Next, quality control measures such as local incubation and feed purchasing not only keeps our carbon footprint to a minimum, but also allow for a close eye to be kept on every part of the process. Our birds are raised humanely (third party certified) in unconfined settings and are fed a vegetarian diet of grain and corn. Each bird is slaughtered in accordance to Islamic law (individually blessed, hand-cut and completely eviscerated), then we use The Air-Chilled Advantage to achieve a safe temperature for further processing. We are able to do this roughly 65% faster than other air-chilled facilities.”

Midamar provides Halal food production and distribution, export management for U.S. companies, and export services to restaurant concepts locating throughout the Middle East, South East Asia and the Far East. Additionally, Midamar Corporation offers consulting services to US based companies who are expanding their business internationally.

Source: Midamar Corp.

Speakers announced for 2011 Sausage and Whole Muscle Processing Technology School

Jeff Sindelar of the University of Wisconsin, Mac Orcutt of Solae, Brian Smith of the John R. White Company, Inc., and Mike Reagan of DeWied International, Inc., along with Texas A&M University faculty and other industry specialists will be speaking at this year's Sausage and Whole Muscle Processing Technology School, according to Dr. Dan Hale of Texas AgriLife Extension.  This school is hosted jointly by Texas A&M University and the Southwest Meat Association.

General meat processing, naturally cured and low sodium/low fat technologies will be covered for sausage and ham production. The program will include lectures, hands-on laboratories and demonstrations, taking participants from the raw materials to the finished sausage and ham products.

The workshop will be held February 8-10, 2011 at the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center on the Texas A&M University campus. The program and registration information can be found at or call the Southwest Meat Association at 979-846-9011 for more information.

Source: SMA

Boston Market promotes healthy menu options

Boston Market is helping customers with their New Year’s resolutions for healthier living by highlighting sensible menu items, announcing changes and more in the name of good food and good health.

Boston Market currently offers eight Individual Plates and two Lunch Combos with fewer than 550 calories per meal. Entrée choices include three pieces of Dark Rotisserie Chicken, a Quarter White Rotisserie Chicken or Roasted Turkey Breast. Two suggested side options accompany each entrée choice and healthfully round out each of the Individual Plates options, with all included in the total calorie count.

For lunch, the Half Roasted Turkey & Swiss Carver and Half Rotisserie Chicken Carver sandwiches are offered with a choice of Steamed Vegetables, Garlic Dill Potatoes or a half Caesar Salad with Light Ranch Dressing. These combos are part of Boston Market’s Market Pairs offerings.

In the late fall of 2010, Boston Market introduced a new poultry gravy with 50% reduced sodium, and sodium levels in its fresh, all-natural chicken was reduced by 20%. The restaurant chain is continuing to evaluate sodium in all of its recipes to see where reductions can be made. For guests with gluten sensitivities, Boston Market will also bring back poultry gravy formulated without products containing gluten to its restaurants by end of February 2011.

“We’ve always stood behind the quality of the meals we serve,” said Gretchen Paules, vice president of marketing, Boston Market. “In 2011, we want to shine a spotlight our lighter food items and our movement toward even healthier recipes. We want guests to know they’re getting the very best we have to offer every time they dine with us, and that we’re constantly working to make all options healthier without impacting the tastes and flavors they love.”

Source: Boston Market

Organic Trade Association, NSF International announce HACCP training

Organic Trade Association (OTA) and NSF International’s Training and Education division have joined forces and expertise to offer a two-day intensive program entitled, “HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) for the Organic Professional.” The two-day training course will be offered March 9-10, 2011 in Anaheim, Calif., and April 4-5, 2011 in Washington, D.C.

The two-day professional course provides instruction in the seven principles of HACCP and how they relate to organic certification programs, and will teach participants how to write HACCP Plans and implement HACCP in organic food environments. It is designed for individuals responsible for organic and food safety programs in small- to medium-sized processing facilities and those responsible for the communications messaging of the facilities. It is specifically relevant for organic and food safety program professionals, communications professionals, certifiers, and inspectors.

“With the passage of the recent food safety bill and food safety issues in the news almost daily, it is imperative that organic companies understand the impact of the new legislation and invest time and resources for their employees so they may have a clear understanding of HACCP principles and how they align with organic standards,” said Christine Bushway, OTA’s executive director.

“HACCP for the Organic Professional” participants will receive two full days of professional instruction, the NSF HACCP Manager Training Manual, which includes the Codex Alimentarius, as well as a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course. The cost per person is $625.50 for OTA members and $695.00 for non-members.

To secure a participant spot in either of the two planned “HACCP for the Organic Professional” courses in 2011, contact Angela Jagiello at or call her at (802) 275-3831. Additional information also can be found at

Source: OTA