Beef Bits

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Apr 4, 2005
by WLJ

Yum! raises earnings view
Yum! Brands Inc., the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut, recently raised its first-quarter earnings outlook slightly due to strong sales. First-quarter sales at Yum! Brands restaurants rose four percent in the U.S. The Louisville, KY-based restaurant operator said it expects first-quarter earnings of 51 cents to 52 cents a share. In February, the company forecast earnings of 51 cents a share. In the first quarter last year, Yum! Brands posted earnings of $142 million, or 47 cents a share.

Finger found in chili
A diner bit into a segment of human finger while digging into a bowl of chili at a San Jose Wendy's restaurant March 22, Santa Clara County health officials said. The finger was described by Santa Clara County Medical Examiner Dr. Joseph P. O'Hara as cooked but not decomposed. The finger was found in two pieces, a one and three-eighths inch long fingertip complete with the skin whorls used in fingerprinting, and a half-inch long piece of fingernail. The joint appeared to have been torn off, possibly by manufacturing machinery, rather than cleanly cut. Health inspectors assume the finger likely entered the food chain as a result of the manufacturing process.

ConAgra restates financial results
ConAgra Foods Inc. will restate its financial results for 2004 and the first half of fiscal 2005 because of income tax errors. The accounting problems could cost the Omaha, NE-based company up to $200 million. The packaged-food manufacturer reported that it earned an estimated $160 million on sales of $3.6 billion, slightly ahead of last year, for the three months ending Feb. 27. Comparable net income and per share results from the same period last year will be restated because of the tax errors. ConAgra warned last month that its earnings would be down about 10 cents a share because of production problems and increased costs. Based on that estimate, analysts revised their estimates for the quarter to 32 cents a share, down from 42 cents a share.

NE checkoff bill stalls
Legislative debate on a proposed bill that would implement a state beef checkoff in Nebraska stalled last week. State Sen. Bob Kramer of Aurora introduced bill LB 150 that would create a statewide checkoff that producers would pay $1-per-head to fund. As part of that proposal, producers could ask for a full or partial refund of the fee on a monthly basis. Kramer cited fears that the U.S. Supreme Court might rule the national checkoff program unconstitutional and that Nebraska beef producers needed to have another program help promote beef produced from their cattle. However, opposition has arose and stalled discussion on the issue. When the bill would be brought up for debate again was unknown last Thursday.

Processing plant increases size
Flanders Provision Co. in Waycross, GA, has added a 18,000-square-foot processing plant to increase production capacity and streamline beef processing and distribution operations, from raw material handling to final product packaging and distribution. The addition brings the size of the plant to 50,000-square feet. Flanders Provision Co., a leading producer of frozen meat patties, distributes beef products to retail grocery stores in 48 states and 14 countries. The facility was designed and expanded to incorporate the highest standards in food quality, safety, and overall plant efficiency based on USDA standards.

Russians seek to reduce import duty
Russia’s Economic Development and Trade Ministry, Agriculture Ministry and the Central Bank of Russia plan to propose to the government that it reduce the over-quota import duty on beef to 40 percent from 60 percent, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref told a news agency Prime Tass reports. Russia’s imports of frozen and chilled red meat from outside the Commonwealth of Independent States, consisting mostly of beef and pork, increased 2.4 percent on the year to 878,200 tons in 2004.

Rap plan for the Big Mac
Rappers and hip-hop artists who agree to incorporate Big Mac into their lyrics will receive $1 to $5 from McDonald's Corp. each time one of their songs gets radio airplay, according the company. The new marketing plan is designed to reach young adults through their music of choice. The burger giant will have final approval of any lyrics that include Big Mac. McDonald's developed the strategy in conjunction with marketing firm Maven Strategies, which created a similar program for Seagram's gin.

License suspended
Manilla Halal Meats, Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada, had its slaughtering license suspended by the Ministry of Agriculture on the same day an animal was allegedly killed there without a mandatory pre-slaughter inspection. A Ministry spokeswoman Susan Murray was cited as saying the license was suspended because a pre-slaughter inspection, known as an ante-mortem inspection, was not performed as required


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