Seaboard Foods was awarded the American Meat Institute’s (AMI) Edward C. Jones Community Service Award during the 2011 AMI Meat, Poultry & Seafood Convention and Exposition in Chicago, Ill. In presenting the award, AMI Chairman Dennis Vignieri, president of Kenosha Beef International, called Seaboard’s generosity “wide-ranging.”

The company donated $450,000 over 10 years to the Leoti, Kan., school system to provide technology to improve education. The company also donated $100,000 to the Oklahoma State University Swine Education and Research Center. Guymon, Okla. — one of Seaboard’s plant communities — benefited from a $100,000 donation to build a new YMCA and Seiling, Okla., has new trees around the city thanks to Seaboard.

Seaboard Foods has also supported Ronald McDonald House, the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity and the Chester, Oklahoma, Historical Society, which replaced old playground equipment in their park thanks to Seaboard’s support.

“Seaboard encourages employees to get involved in civic organizations such as local school boards, city councils and economic development boards. And its president Rod Brenneman leads by example,” Vignieri said.

There were several other awards presented during the AMI Show. Arrowsight Inc. was named the AMI 2011 Supplier of the Year. The Supplier of the Year Award is given to a supplier member of AMI that truly partners with meat and poultry processors to help achieve industry goals. Under the leadership of President Mark Moshier, Arrowsight provides remote video auditing (RVA) services for animal welfare, food safety monitoring and a wide range of operational applications in the meat industry.

Vignieri said that Arrowsight’s technology and third-party RVA services are being deployed in many of the industry’s plants. Operating on the principle that you manage what you measure, the technology gives plant management real, meaningful data about practices that can help and hurt the industry.

Arrowsight and Moshier himself have been active, engaged members of the Institute’s Supplier Community. Moshier serves on AMI’s Executive, Supplier and Animal Welfare Committees and is currently co-chair of AMI’s Political Action Committee. Arrowsight has actively supported AMI’s animal welfare education programs through presentations and sponsorships.

Vignieri applauded Moshier and Arrowsight and stressed the importance of the company’s work.

“By monitoring cameras and the data they generate, our plants can encourage continuous improvement in the areas of animal welfare and food safety and that’s good for everyone,” Vignieri said.

Martin Wiedmann, DVM, Ph.D., professor in the department of food science at Cornell University, was honored American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) Scientific Achievement Award. Wiedmann’s work centers around the ecology, evolution and transmission of key foodborne pathogens, with a focus on Listeria and Salmonella. Vignieri said that Wiedmann’s work has enhanced understanding of the transmission of foodborne pathogens from farm animals and from foods to humans. He has also been instrumental in helping expand our knowledge about how to detect and subtype Listeria monocytogenes in the plant environment.

In addition, Wiedmann has made valuable contributions to better understand Listeria monocytogenes risk in various products and locations in the cold chain, according to Vignieri, and he is currently one of the principal investigators in a study of Listeria monocytogenes control at the retail deli.

Wiedmann received a Veterinary Degree (DVM equivalent) and Dr. med. vet. (Ph.D. equivalent) in Veterinary Medicine both from the University of Munich, Germany, and a Ph.D. in Food Science from Cornell University. He joined the Cornell faculty in 1999 and is a member of the Graduate Fields of Food Science, Microbiology, and Comparative Biomedical Sciences. He also currently serves director of the graduate field of Food Science and Technology at Cornell and participates in the Infection and Pathobiology Program  He is the director of the Cornell Laboratory of Molecular Typing. Wiedmann currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Food Protection and on the editorial board of Applied and Environmental Microbiology and is a member of the National Academy of Science Standing Committee on the Use of Public Health Data in FSIS Food Safety Programs.

“His research has contributed to the declines in pathogenic bacteria on meat and poultry – particularly the sharp declines we have seen in Lm on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products – and has had a significant impact on federal regulatory policy,” Vignieri said.

The late Don Tyson, former chairman of Tyson Foods, Inc., was honored today with the AMI's highest award, the Industry Advancement Award. Tyson died in January 2011 at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer, but according to Vignieri, he left an indelible mark on the meat industry.

In presenting the award, Vignieri said that Tyson was among the individuals whose drive and innovation helped to transform the U.S. meat and poultry industry from its former commodity mindset to its laser focus on the consumer and the importance of meeting their ever-changing needs and expectations.

While Tyson was born during the depression and entered the workforce during World War II, he embodied a persistent, positive spirit that was characterized by his personal mantra, “I refuse to have a bad day.”

He entered the family chicken business at the age of 14 as a chicken catcher. Over time, he worked his way up the corporate ranks, becoming the company’s leader in 1967 after his father’s tragic death.

Tyson had an intuition about new products, like the Rock Cornish hen, which he persuaded his father to introduce in the early 1960s. He then led the company’s expansion into other areas like tortillas, bakery, pork, beef and seafood. Together with his son, current Tyson Chairman John Tyson, he managed the acquisition of the meat company IBP and built a new model of diversification in the animal protein sector.

“He truly won the hearts of America’s children when his company introduced the chicken nugget – now a favorite food for children – and a few adults, too!” Vignieri said.

Vignieri said he was never content to think he had the consumer all figured out and encouraged the construction of Tyson’s state of the art research and development center that has continued to monitor trends and meet them face-to-face with new and satisfying products.

“In all of his efforts, he has been a strong competitor in the marketplace and challenged the rest of us to strive harder and be better,” Vignieri added. “He also understood clearly this industry’s most valuable asset: its people. He was as comfortable interacting with team members on the processing lines, as he was with those in the board room because he never forgot his roots. Throughout his entire career, Don was a great leader and a strong competitor, and he elevated our industry by his presence.”

Source: AMI