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Jobs Go as Plants Close of Lean Finely Textured Beef

10 May 2012

ANALYSIS - The media furore over the use of lean finely textured beef in beef products in the US took its most severe and possibly final toll this week as the company at the forefront of the debate was forced to close three of its plants.

Beef Products Inc had been promoting the safety and nutritious value of the products at the American Meat Institute Expo in Dallas.

The exhibition and conference also held a special seminar session to show to the media and the exhibition visitors that the product was safe.

However, the pressure of the campaign against the product that has resulted in many organisations, food service outlets and retailers demanding its withdrawal from their products has forced BPI to close its plants in Amarillo, Texas, Garden City, Kansas and Waterloo, Iowa with the loss of 650 jobs.

A plant in South Sioux City, Nebraska, will stay open but run at reduced capacity.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said: “The fact that a false, misleading smear campaign can destroy a company’s reputation overnight should disturb us all.

"My office will never stop fighting for every single job in this state, and I continue to hope that as consumers learn about this safe, healthy and lean product, they will understand what a great product lean, finely textured beef truly is."

In Brazil, meat processing giant JBS SA is to lease the assets of Brazilian poultry processor Frangosul, a company controlled by the French group Doux.

JBS said the move is another step to become the largest producer and meat processor in the world.

The company is already the second largest operator in the global poultry segment.

Under the agreement signed, JBS said it will not assume any pending, charges, restraint, seizure or inability of any other nature.

This is a lease asset and JBS said it will hire all current Frangosul employees and continue all contracts with the integrated service providers and third parties.

With this new Brazilian chicken operation, JBS will boost its production capacity by 15 per cent to approximately nine million birds per day.

A new report from the agri-business analysts, Rabobank, has linked the price of pork in China to the movement in the Consumer Price Index.

The report "Is the CPI the China Pork Index?" says that "a large portion of the China food CPI is due to pork’s large share in the CPI basket and its high price volatility".

Chris Harris

Chris Harris

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