Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Mar 28, 2005
by WLJ

Hormel acquires Lloyd's BBQ
Hormel Foods has purchased Lloyd's Barbeque Co. of St. Paul, MN, from General Mills, which bought the company in 1999. Lloyd's makes a full line of refrigerated barbecue products, including tubs of barbecued beef and beef back ribs. “Lloyd's brands have earned strong market share in the retail refrigerated entrée category, a business that Hormel Foods knows well," said Joel Johnson, Hormel chairman. “We believe Lloyd's will continue to flourish as part of our roster of refrigerated products.” No terms of the agreement were announced last week.

Egypt lifts ban on U.S. beef
Egypt has lifted its ban on U.S. beef and beef products derived from cattle under 30 months old, USDA announced March 17. Egypt, according to USDA, imported $30 million worth of beef and beef products in 2003 before Dec. 23, when a case of BSE was reported in Washington state. Liver accounted for almost $19 million, approximately 65 percent, of U.S. beef sales. Egypt is now requiring age and origin verification under the USDA Beef Export Verification program.

BK closes Oklahoma stores
Burger King franchise owner Ken Knight has shuttered his 14 stores, all in the Oklahoma City area, blaming a struggling economy and a growing lack of consumer appeal. As a result of the closings, which took place over the past year, 350 employees have been let go. Knight had worked with Burger King since 1979. Burger King is exploring options to reopen the closed Burger King operations.

Another Canadian beef ban
A temporary ban on Canadian beef products was imposed by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce and Industry last week. The new ban was the result of the two most recent cases of BSE confirmed by Canada very early this year. Saudi Arabia had reopened its borders to a limited number of Canadian beef on Dec. 22, 2003, after closing its borders in May of that year because of the first confirmed case of BSE in an Alberta cow. Canadian beef exports to Saudi Arabia in 2004 totaled C$2.5 million, compared to $3.8 million the year prior. Canadian trade officials said they are still negotiating with Saudi Arabia to resume beef trade, particularly veal products.

Italy detects new case of BSE
Two cows in northern Italy have tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the first cases detected this year, the Health Ministry said. The ministry said analysis confirmed a positive result in a 9-year-old cow from a breeding farm in the countryside of Brescia and in a 12-year-old cow in Cuneo. That makes 126 cases of BSE detected in the country since testing began in 2001. The European Union requires tests on catt1e older than 30 months destined for slaughter.

ConAgra patent case moves on
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide if ConAgra Foods violated antitrust laws in a patent dispute. After receiving a patent for a meat-browning process in 1999, ConAgra warned other food companies in writing not to deal with anyone selling a similar process. Unitherm Food Systems had its own process patented six years earlier, and sued in federal court, which awarded it more than US$19M and ruled that ConAgra was fraudulent in its patent application and tried to monopolize the market with its warnings. It also stated ConAgra should never have received a patent which was substantially similar to Unitherm's. ConAgra appealed, arguing that it thought it had a valid patent, and the Supreme Court will most likely decide based upon procedural issues of the lower courts, rather than the merits of the case.

New Belgium BSE case
The first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) to be found in Belgium in 2005 was confirmed by government officials earlier this month. According to that country's Food Agency, the animal was born in 1997. Three offspring of the cow have also been destroyed; at least one of the three offspring is being tested for the disease. Since 1997, Belgium has confirmed at least 130 cases of BSE in cattle.

Friendly's highlights beef ‘SuperMelts’
Casual dining restaurant chain Friendly’s, Wilbraham, MA, recently announced a promotion of three “SuperMelt” sandwiches, including two beef ones. Back by popular demand is the Philly Steak 'n Cheddar SuperMelt, made with thinly sliced steak, sauteed onions and green peppers and warm cheddar cheese sauce on grilled sourdough bread. In addition, the chain recently debuted the Cheesy Colossal Bacon SuperMelt, which is a half-pound burger with bacon, warm cheddar cheese sauce and tomato on grilled sourdough bread. The SuperMelts promotion will last through May 1.