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Pierre Foods, Inc. to Acquire Zartic, Inc.

Pierre Foods, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) will purchase substantially all assets of Zartic, Inc. and its affiliated distribution company, Zar Tran, Inc. Zartic, located in Rome, GA, manufactures and distributes a variety of packaged food items including poultry, veal, beef and pork products. The total preliminary price of $94 million does not include the assumption of certain liabilities, subject to post-closing agreements.

This purchase comes on the heel of Pierre's August 22 announcement of its purchase of Cloverdale Foods with plants in Amherst, OH and Easley, SC.

Pierre Foods produces a complete line of fully cooked beef, pork, chicken, turkey and bakery products for school, foodservice, vending and convenience store markets. Its pre-made sandwiches appear under a number of brand names including Pierre™, Cloverdale Farms™, Chef's Pantry™, Fast Choice™, Blue Stone Grill™, Hot ‘n' Ready™, and more.

FDA Calls Off Research on Salmonella Outbreak

A recent joint investigation by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA revealed that the source of a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak, which affected 183 people in 21 states, to be tomatoes served in restaurants. Based on current information from the CDC, the investigation shows a peak in the number of illnesses in late September.

This suggests that the outbreak is not ongoing. FDA believes that the tomatoes that caused the illness have been consumed, destroyed, or thrown out because they are perishable. Therefore, FDA doesn't believe a consumer warning about tomatoes on store shelves is needed.

FDA has initiated a traceback of these tomatoes and continues its close collaboration with the CDC and state and local authorities to identify the source of the contamination.

KFC Switches to No Trans-Fat Cooking Oil

KFC Corporation has begun converting all of its 5,500 restaurants in the US to a zero-grams trans fat cooking oil. The new oil, a low linolenic soybean conversion, will replace the partially hydrogenated soybean oil in current use in KFC restaurants. Yum Brands Inc. supplies the new QUALISOY-approved variety of this enhanced oil. QUALISOY is a collaborative marketing effort in the soybean industry, which promotes the use of healthier oils and strives to improve the global competitiveness of the US soybean industry.

The conversion of the KFC cooking oil, which follows more than two years of extensive testing to identify the same taste profile, has already begun in many KFC restaurants, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of April 2007 nationwide.

Once the changeover is complete, KFC's Original Recipe and Extra Crispy chicken will contain zero grams of trans fat. In addition, several other brands including Crispy Strips, Wings, Honey BBQ, Potato Wedges, and more will make the change.

According to QUALISOY, the use of low-linolenic soybean oil could add an estimated $100 million per year to the value of soybean commodities. After the 2006 soybean harvest, approximately 400 million pounds of low linolenic oil could be available to the food industry. QUALISOY predicts that more than one billion pounds of the oil could be available by 2007.

E coli outbreak not surprising

According to FDA, the September E coli outbreak affecting 204 people in 26 states was traced back to a Monterey County spinach grower and producer.Full story.

The New Math of Energy Efficiency

Investments in energy efficiency are a tough enough sell when commodity prices for gas, oil and electricity soar; when energy costs are retreating, ownership is even less inclined to invest in energy efficiency.Full story.

Power Protection

Stainless-steel construction for motors, gearboxes and other power-transmission elements is a growing trend, but other refinements are being developed.Full story.

Engineering R and D: Engineers mine brown energy

Plant-level controls drive an advanced anaerobic digestive system that addresses both waste disposal and energy needs.Full story.

The Golden Nugget of Efficiency

Unilever Ice Cream & Frozen Foods periodically reassesses all of its manufacturing processes to identify areas where quality, efficiency and worker safety can be improved.Full story.

People, Plant and Industry News

Wyoming Sugar Co. LLC, owned by 160 sugar growers and non-sugar producing investors, is in the early developmental stages of constructing a cogeneration power plant at its sugar mill in Worland, WY. The plant was originally purchased fromImperial Sugar (Holly Sugar) Co. in 2002.

Nestle Nespresso, a manufacturer of premium portioned coffee, plans to open a new coffee production-distribution center in Avenches, Switzerland, in 2008. By 2010 the facility will employ more than 230 people as full-time staff. Groundbreaking is expected to take place during the first half of 2007. The project will be completed in 2008.

Hormel FoodselectedElsa Murano,Robert NakasoneandHugh Smithto its board of directors. They were nominated to fill the seats created by the retirement of Robert Waller and John Allen, and to fulfill the vote to increase the board from 13 to 14 members.

Tetra Pakplans to expand capacity in its Beijing, China, facility. The investment will double production capacity from eight billion packages to 16 billion to meet growing demand in the Chinese dairy market.

A&B Process Systemsrecently completed construction of a 1,400-sq.-ft. test center in Stratford, WI. The test center will offer manufacturers of food and beverages the opportunity to conduct trials using their own recipes and ingredients in some of the latest fluid processing technologies.