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Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Washington, DC—More than 1,000 people attended AMI’s Annual Convention and Innovation Showcase October 24 – 26, 2002, in New Orleans, LA.
A record number of packers and processors visited 168 exhibits on the show floor, which grew 14 percent since the 2000 Convention and Innovation Showcase.

During the convention, Richard G. Searer, group vice president of Kraft Foods North America and president of Oscar Mayer was elected as AMI’s 2003 chairman. AMI also elected Vice Chairman Stewart K. Owens, president and CEO of Bob Evans Farms, Inc.; Treasurer William A. Buckner, corporate vice president of Excel Corporation; and Secretary Robert “Bo” Manly, president and COO of Premium Standard Farms. J. Patrick Boyle was reelected to a fourteenth term as AMI president. Phil Clemens, chairman and CEO of Hatfield Quality Meats, was elected Immediate Past Chairman.

Key Decisions

The AMI Board of Directors approved three key policy decisions. First, the Board voted to urge USDA to establish a pilot program for purchasing irradiated ground beef in the School Lunch commodity beef purchasing program. Second, the Board voted to make animal welfare a non-competitive issue among members. And third, the Board approved an alliance with OSHA dedicated to worker safety enhancements throughout the meat industry.

Award Winners

AMI honored Louis ‘Mick’ Colvin and the Certified Angus Beef® brand with the Industry Advancement Award for its continuing contributions to beef quality. The Certified Angus Beef® brand has improved profitability for both meat marketers and producers alike.

Viskase Corporation of Mission, KS, and Viskase President and CEO Edward Gustafson was honored as Supplier of the Year during the Annual Convention. Viskase was honored for being the first to patent and market EZSmoke casings that have simplified sausage smoking. Also, Viskase continues to market one of the legendary pieces of equipment in the industry: the frankomatic, which strips casings from skinless hot dogs at lightning speed.

Johnsonville Foods and Launa Stayer-Maloney, vice president of the board and secretary/treasurer, was honored with the Edward C. Jones Community Service Award. All totaled, since 1993, Johnsonville has raised and donated funds totaling $2.7 million to local, state and national organizations from the American Red Cross to the March of Dimes, the Shriners and the Salvation Army.

This year, AMI added the Scientific Achievement Award to its cadre of honors. William Sperber, Ph.D., senior corporate microbiologist at Cargill, Inc., was honored with the first annual award that recognizes his contributions to the quality and safety of meat and poultry. Sperber has served on numerous worldwide food safety initiatives, including the World Health Organization Expert Consultation on Risk Assessment, the International Life Sciences Institute Listeria Expert Working Group, the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods and the U.S. delegation to the UN Codex Committee.

General Sessions

Headlining the convention’s general sessions were noted security expert Robert Gates and ABC News “20/20” reporter John Stossel.

Gates discussed the security issues now facing businesses in America-from cyber security to plant and employee security. Stossel treated convention goers to his unique brand of inquisitive reporting, reflecting on the benefits of freedom and the free marketplace and the forces now threatening those concepts.

Educational Programming

Convention attendees also participated in education opportunities on topics including environment and operations, government and public policy, management and finance and marketing. Current, hot button issues, like country of origin labeling and the politics of food safety, were featured. Also, AMI’s Equipment Design Task Force (EDTF) unveiled its “Ten Sanitary Principles of Design” during a seminar Friday. The session showcased a list of design principles and recommended facility certification process designed by the AMI EDTF and published in May of this year.

AMI Hunger Relief Efforts Awarded

AMI was named Association of the Year by America’s Second Harvest, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. AMI was honored for its longstanding support of America's Second Harvest through its “Meating the Need” program.

Visit AMI’s Press Center online at < http://www.meatinstitute.org/Template.cfm?section=PressCenter&NavMenuID=116> for current convention related news releases.

AMI represents the interests of packers and processors of beef, pork, lamb, veal and turkey products and their suppliers throughout North America. Together, AMI's members produce 95 percent of the beef, pork, lamb and veal products and 70 percent of the turkey products in the U.S. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute provides legislative, regulatory, public relations, technical, scientific and educational services to the industry. Its affiliate, the AMI Foundation, is a separate 501(c)3 organization that conducts research, education and information projects for the industry.

For more information contact:
Janet Riley
Vice President, Public Affairs
Josee Daoust
Manager, Public Affairs

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