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Seaboard Farms brings home the bacon

High Plains Bioenergy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seaboard Farms (Guymon, OK) celebrated its opening doing the “bacon fat,” but not quite like Taj Mahal’s rendition. In this case, High Plains uses fat from its parent’s Guymon pork processing plant as the primary feedstock to produce up to 30 million gallons of biodiesel fuel annually. The plant was built to use multiple feedstocks, and can accept vegetable oil as well.

“We’re committed to sustainable business practices and the biodiesel plant represents this commitment well,” said Rod Brenneman, president of High Plains Bioenergy and Seaboard Farms. “High Plains Bioenergy demonstrates environmental sustainability by producing clean-burning, alternative energy; economic sustainability because it adds value to our integrated food system by using pork as the feedstock; and community sustainability by creating new business opportunities for Guymon and the state of Oklahoma.”

Wanzek Construction Inc. built the facility, which uses Desmet Ballestra technology to produce fuel meeting the ASTM D6751 specification for high-quality biodiesel. The plant will employ 30 people when it reaches full production and operate 24 hours a day.

High Plains selected Oklahoma City’s Musket Corporation to market and sell its biodiesel fuel. Musket is a fuel trading and distribution company that delivers products across North America using conventional pipelines, barges, vessels, trucking and rail operations.

Seaboard Farms, a major pork producer and exporter to Japan and Mexico, employs more than 4,500 people in Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Texas, Montana and Utah.

Sweet: China's sugar industry

By March 2008, China’s sugar output reached 12.52 million tons in sugar processing seasons 2007/08, up 17.9% compared with the 2006/07 season, says a report from Research and Markets.

Among the total output, cane sugar reached 11.37 million tons, up 21.3%. Beet sugar output decreased 7.7% to 1.15 million tons.

Sugar output in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yunnan province accounted for 75% of the total output in 2007/08.

Gluten-free breakfast

For those with Celiac disease (one in 133 Americans), eating a gluten-free diet is a necessity. General Mills has changed its Rice Chex breakfast to gluten-free by replacing the barley malt syrup with molasses. The flavor and texture remain the same.

General Mills has partnered with the Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) to further generate awareness for this chronic, inherited digestive disorder. It is estimated that as many as three million adults and children are living undiagnosed with this autoimmune disorder.

Gluten, the common name for the natural proteins found in wheat, barley and rye, is harmful to persons with Celiac disease. Celiac disease attacks the small intestine, resulting in damage to the villi, which make up its lining.

Economic opportunity replaces conflict in Iraq

The US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Agribusiness Program, “Inma,” is leading the way to economic recovery in the city of Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad. A $5 million grant to restart operations at the Balad Canning Factory (BCF) is part of a larger regional project to help restore agricultural and agribusiness in this formerly strife-torn area.

BCF, one of Iraq’s largest food processors, was built in 1974 as a government-owned tomato paste factory. After privatization, the owners added ten product lines to their operations that employed more than 1000 Sunni and Shia workers.

BCF’s potential for food processing was shattered in October 2006 when the entire surrounding area erupted in sectarian violence. Farmers were unable to work their fields, and the factory no longer had access to the agricultural supplies needed to operate.

In 2007, efforts by Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces ended the violence in the area. Engagement with the community began by bringing the various sectarian factions to the table where they all recognized a common goal-economic development could ensure continued peace. Engineers from USAID’s Inma program undertook an extensive assessment of BCF’s 10-hectare facility and drew up plans to bring at least some of the plant’s operations back on line.

Inma’s grant funding will ensure that power, water, waste treatment and steam will be restored to the plant. By mid-year, chips, bottled water and fruit-flavored drinks are expected to go on line, employing up to 200 workers at the plant.

Plant of the year has Italian flair

Barilla’s new pasta plant in Avon, NY won Food Engineering’s Plant of the Year award.


Essential guide to manufacturing software

New regulatory compliance and commodities prices are two reasons processors need state-of-the-art software tools to keep costs low. 

Integration projects require a disciplined approach

Manufacturers are getting more out of their integration projects, though overall costs are not necessarily coming down. To realize future economies, upfront investments are a must.

Special Supplement: Conveyor systems control plant flow

If conveyors are an afterthought, plant efficiency is at risk.

Tech Update: Vision and x-ray Inspection

Be it X-ray, optic or laser, vision systems are finding new applications in food and beverage plants.

Electric pulses keep beating

Commercial applications for pulsed electric fields are being approached a bit differently in the European food community than in the US.

People, Plant and Industry News

Grocery Manufacturers Association President and CEO Cal Dooley commended Senator Herb Kohl’s proposal to boost FDA’s FY 2009 budget by $275 million. Kohl’s proposal calls for earmarking $100 million of the above for food safety.


The Dannon Company, Inc. has announced the addition of four executives to its senior leadership team. They include Antoine Remy, vice president of finance and chief financial officer (CFO); Marc Jove, vice president of marketing; Philippe Domenge, vice president of industrial; and Tony Cicio, vice president of human resources.


Campbell Soup Company completed the sale of its Australian salty snack brands to a group of Australian investors. The senior management team of the The Real McCoy, an Australian owned snack foods company, was part of the sale.


Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings, Inc. announced two senior executive changes. Tony Sarsam was named executive vice president of sales and operations, and Rhonda Ramlo was named executive vice president of marketing, replacing Tyler Johnston who will be retiring this summer after 20 years with the company.


The Food Marketing Institute announced the following new board members: Lawrence Benjamin, COO of Ahold USA, Inc.; Art Potash, CEO of Potash Bros. Markets; Oscar Gonzalez, COO of Northgate Gonzalez Market; and Steven Goddard, president and CEO of WinCo Foods, LLC.


The Chicago Foodservice Marketing Club selected Peter Parthenis Sr. as its 2008 Hall of Fame Award recipient. Parthenis is the founder of Grecian Delight Foods located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.


American Dairy Products Institute (ADPI) CEO James Jefferson Page, died after a long battle with cancer. Page had a successful career in the dairy industry spanning more than 30 years. Prior to working for ADPI, he held positions with Dean Foods, Kraft Foods and PET Dairy.


Sika AG’s US subsidiary, Sika Corp., has acquired the commercial and industrial polymer flooring business of ICS Garland Inc. The transaction was final on April 25, 2008.


The American Dairy Products Institute presented their annual Award of Merit to John D. Whetten, recently retired President and CEO of Challenge Dairy Products Inc., located in Dublin, CA.


Cognex Corporation promoted Justin Testa to executive vice president.


Revolution Tea, specializing in premium, whole-leaf tea and iced tea products, will partner with Kraft Foodservice for national distribution in the foodservice channel. Kraft Foodservice will distribute Revolution’s all-natural, premium iced tea and dispensing system, as well as single serving hot teas in boxes and foils.


TranSystems and Gross & Associates, consultants in material handling logistics focusing on operations design, management and distribution, have merged.