Tyson Foods Partners With Pet Food Company

U. S. meat producer Tyson Foods Inc. said on March 17 it will take a minority stake in Freshpet, a maker of fresh, refrigerated dog food and treats.

“The $17 billion pet food market, which has become one of the top 10 packaged-goods categories, has seen significant growth in recent years. One of the key growth trends has been the humanization of pets, as more consumers treat their pets as part of the family,” Tyson said in a statement.

Freshpet, is a New Jerseybased startup. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The alliance between Tyson and Freshpet will meet changing consumer needs by providing real food for pets – not ‘pet food,’” said Scott Morris, Freshpet co-founder. “We believe these products will redefine the category and change the way people think about feeding their pets.”

The refrigerated fresh pet food market is expected to reach nearly $500 million in annual sales by 2012, according to trade estimates.

Salmonella Hits Finnish Farms

New salmonella cases have been found on Finnish pork and poultry farms, as authorities grapple to deal with the country’s worst outbreak in 14 years.

Finnish food safety authority Evira said March 18 the bacteria has been found on two more poultry farms and a pig farm, bringing to 13 the total number of farms identified since February.

“The current situation is that around 800 Finnish farms are being investigated, of which one-third are chicken farms and two-thirds pig farms,” said Evira official Sinikka Marmo.

There have been no reported food poisoning cases in the current outbreak and the risk to humans is seen as low due to the strain of the bacteria involved.

Evira said progress has been made identifying how the current outbreak spread after food group Raiso reported finding the bacteria in one of its production lines.

The firm’s feed unit, Rehuraisio, has since shut the line, cleaned it, and restarted operations.

Rehuraisio head Leif Liedes said the company is paying cleanup costs as well as compensating farms that lost sales as a result of receiving tainted feed.

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