Mexico has announced that it will investigate U.S. chicken producers over dumping complaints lodged by Mexican chicken processors, Reuters reports. The processors claim that U.S. chicken producers sold chicken legs and thighs on the Mexican market below their cost of production in 2010. Tyson Foods Inc. and Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. were among the companies named in the complaint.

Tyson said in a statement it was not aware of any improprieties in U.S. chicken exports to Mexico, adding that exports of chicken from its U.S. plants to Mexico amounted to less than 1 percent of its $1.9 billion in international chicken sales in fiscal 2010.

Mexican imports of U.S. chicken surged 18 percent in the first 11 months of 2010 to 876.53 million pounds to displace Russia as the biggest buyer of U.S. chicken, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Source: Reuters

72nd AAMP Convention set for June 16-18 in Reno

The AAMP convention will travel to Reno, Nevada, for the 72nd anniversary of its annual educational meeting and suppliers’ exhibition. The national gathering for small and very small meat, poultry, and food establishments will be held June 16-18, 2011, at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino.

The three-day event will offer timely educational sessions designed to address such areas as transitions throughout your company; purchasing equipment; insurance; marketing through social media; and retail store design. Also taking place are a suppliers’ exhibition, the American Cured Meat Championships (ACMC), a hands-on stuffed pig demonstration, plus business networking and social opportunities for U.S., Canadian, and foreign company operators and their families. More than 100 exhibiting companies will provide information on processing equipment; packaging supplies and equipment; technical and computer services; deli, mail order and catering supplies; marketing aids; transportation, chilling and building information; laboratory services and testing equipment; consultants in various food processing areas; and more.

Prior to the 72nd annual American Convention of Meat Processors & Suppliers' Exhibition, AAMP is offering a one-day workshop at the hotel. The workshop, “Utilizing Inedible Material for Profits to Combat Rendering,” will focus on taking the material that is unfit for human consumption and using it for the production of pet treats. Some AAMP members have determined that some of those materials that used to be sent to rendering companies can be further processed into profitable pet food and/or pet treats. Join this educational session and learn how others have transformed raw materials that were worth nothing into a niche market of pet food items that now create substantial profit.

Exhibiting companies will be showing their products and sharing their expertise during the suppliers’ exhibition at the AAMP convention. Convention attendee registration includes entry into the exhibit hall for all three days.

AAMP will be having a hands-on demonstration on a stuffed roasting pig. Attendees will learn from an industry expert, in detail, the process of deboning, stuffing, tying, and sewing the pig, all in preparation for smoking and serving.

Suppliers who are not exhibiting may register to attend the AAMP Suppliers’ Exhibition. The registration fee is $545 for AAMP supplier members and $845 for a non-member company representative. Non-exhibiting companies are prohibited from doing business in the hall. Guided ten-minute tours are also available at no cost for suppliers who want a brief overview of the show. Contact the AAMP office to make an appointment.

The 2011 American Cured Meat Championships will provide an opportunity for AAMP member firms to tune up their processes and vie for top U.S. honors. Judges who are meat scientists, specialists in the meat industry, and fellow meat processors will be evaluating the products. Prestigious prize plaques will be awarded in twenty-six categories, including the Annual Featured Class: Cooked Poultry Sausage. A complete list of classes can be found on AAMP’s website at
AAMP’s Welcome Reception will be held Thursday, June 16, 6:00-10:00 PM, at the new Reno Aces Baseball Stadium. The Reno Aces are northern Nevada's first-ever Triple-A baseball team. Ticket includes the game, meal, and transportation. AAMP will provide 3 beverage (beer) tickets for each adult (water and soda will be provided with meal). Cost: $25 per adult / $20.00 ages 5-11 (Children 4 and under are free).

Enjoy a casual evening at AAMP’s Closing Social on Saturday, June 18, 6:00-9:00 PM, during your final night in Reno. This event will be held in the Capri Ballroom at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino and will conclude the annual convention. The Achievement and Accomplishment awards will be presented and the grand prize winner will be drawn. Sponsored by: Koch Equipment LLC and Mid-Western Research & Supply Inc., ticket price for the event includes meal and beverages. Cost: $35.00 per adult / $20.00 ages 5-11 (Children 4 and under are free).

Contact the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino directly at (800) 282-2444 for Convention room reservations. Be sure to mention AAMP’s group code, AAAMP11 to receive the special rate of $139.00 single/double occupancy. (This rate is for the Peppermill Tower. You may upgrade to the Tuscany Tower at a starting rate of $189.00 per night. Contact hotel for details.) For the group discount rate, reservations must be made by May 25, 2011. Reservations made after this date are based on space availability. Contact the AAMP office for a hotel registration form or print a copy at Reservations can also be placed online through this web page.

Source: AAMP

Sysco profit drops due to “extreme” food inflation

Foodservice distributor Sysco Corp. reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, saying that “extreme” inflation in meat, seafood and dairy products increased its costs and diminished customers’ purchasing budgets, reports Cattle Network. Meat, seafood and dairy costs rose 11 percent to 12 percent during the quarter ended Jan. 1.

Sysco said overall food cost inflation, as measured by the estimated change in the company’s product costs, was 4.5 percent during the quarter, driven by “continued double-digit levels of inflation in the meat, dairy and seafood categories.” Comparatively, the company reported a deflation of 3.5 percent for the same period last year.

Bill DeLaney, Sysco’s chief executive officer, said that while Sysco’s sales volumes to restaurants, hotels other customers was up, the company wasn’t able to raise prices enough to fully offset meat, seafood and dairy.

“These are key product categories for many of our customers, and absorbing steep and rapid price increases is difficult for them, especially at this early stage of what we all hope is a sustainable, if somewhat uneven, economic recovery,” DeLaney said during the conference call.

Source: Cattle Network

Butterball employees honored at Huntsville awards banquet

Butterball LLC Huntsville facility associates Kristy Drewyor and Felicia Hickman were named 2010 employees of the year during the Huntsville Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Community Awards Banquet on Thurs., Jan. 27.

The facility’s management team submitted nominations to the Chamber for this year’s recipients based on outstanding contributions to the company through attendance, job performance, years of service and positive attitude. In addition to the Chamber’s annual awards banquet, these associates were also recognized at the Butterball facility with an internal celebration among co-workers.

“Kristy and Felicia are exceptional team players. Their overwhelming dedication to the company and motivation to go the extra mile make them key assets to the Butterball team and well-deserving of acknowledgment,” said Bill Folk, complex manager at Butterball. “It is important to show our associates we appreciate their hard work, and we are pleased to celebrate their efforts.”

Drewyor, a master scheduler, was selected as 2010 salaried employee of the year for her high level of job performance, especially throughout Fresh Season – the month-long period during which the company produces the highest volume of turkey products to meet the demand of the holiday season. Drewyor, who has been with Butterball for 10 years, consistently exudes enthusiasm and professionalism. Her role involves liaising with operations in Ozark and Huntsville in corporate planning, quality assurance and warehousing/distribution.

As an evisceration department employee, Hickman’s unwavering commitment to Butterball and diligence in the field earned her the 2010 hourly employee of the year award. With 26 years of dedicated work service to the company, Hickman maintains an excellent attendance record – perfect for 2009 and 2010.
“I commend both Kristy and Felicia for their ambition, drive and contributions to Butterball and the Huntsville facility,” said Joe Nalley, chief operating officer of Butterball. “As an industry leader, consumers trust Butterball to provide the highest quality of nutritious, wholesome products, which is possible only through the support of our outstanding team of dedicated associates. I thank each of them for helping the brand uphold that promise.”

The Banquet was established by the Chamber to honor businesses, employees, students, community organizations and local community members who have made significant contributions on behalf of the Chamber, and have played an integral role in the betterment of Huntsville and Madison County.

Source: Butterball LLC

McDonald's U.S. sales rise 3.1% in January

McDonald's Corp. announced global comparable sales growth of 5.3% in January.  Performance by segment was as follows: U.S. up 3.1%; Europe up 7.0%; Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa up 5.2%.

"We begin 2011 with a continued focus on our customers, building on our strong foundation of value, convenience, and menu variety," said McDonald's CEO Jim Skinner.  "We're offering high-quality, customer-driven food choices in modern, comfortable restaurants with convenient hours and locations. I am confident in our plans and our ability to keep innovating, investing and delivering what our customers want today and into the future."

In the U.S., comparable sales increased 3.1% for January as customers enjoyed the ongoing appeal of McDonald's beverage line-up, including McCafe premium hot chocolate and Caramel Mochas, the popularity of Chicken McNuggets, and the national launch of Fruit & Maple Oatmeal.
In Europe, January comparable sales rose 7.0% led by strong performance in Germany, the U.K., France and Russia. Europe's performance continues to be driven by signature offerings and new products across all price tiers, service and design upgrades to the restaurant experience, and increased accessibility through breakfast and drive-thru.

Comparable sales in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa were up 5.2% for the month driven by positive results in China, Japan and Australia. APMEA benefited from a winning combination of locally relevant menu items, compelling value and unmatched convenience initiatives.

Systemwide sales increased 7.4%, or 6.7% in constant currencies, for the month.

Source: McDonald’s Corp.