Ground was broken on the new Southwest Cheese Company LLC facility in Clovis, N.M. on February 6. New Mexico’s Governor Bill Richardson, local government leaders and representatives from the joint venture partners turned the first shovels of dirt marking the official start to construction of the new $190 million cheese and whey facility.
Danisco has signed an agreement with French Rhodia to negotiate exclusively for the takeover of Rhodia´s food ingredients business, excluding the company's food phosphates business. Rhodia´s food ingredients business is a global supplier of cultures, natural texturants, and food protection solutions to food processing companies. Danish Danisco is a $16 billion company operating in 40 countries worldwide. Rhodia is present in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia. The primary focus areas of the business are: dairy, dessert, beverage & health products, meat & savoury and bakery products. These products are to be integrated into Danisco´s global product offering. The two parties expect to conclude an agreement in the foreseeable future. The transaction will be finalized within the second quarter of the calendar year 2004, once legal authorizations have been obtained.

Integra-Seal Industries has relocated its offices and manufacturing plant to a new 30,000 square foot facility just south of Kingsport, Tenn. In conjunction with the move, the company has expanded its capacity by more than 50% with the addition of new molds, injection molding machines and decorating equipment. Integra-Seal, a manufacturer of tamper-evident closures for the dairy, juice and bottled water market, was founded in 1999. Since that time, growth has been dramatic. The relocation was necessary due to space limitations at their old facility in Erwin, Tenn. "The old facility did not allow us to move into several other cap types that are quite popular in our markets. Now we will be able to manufacture a full line of closures to better serve our customers," said Marty McLean, the President of Integra-Seal. The new location is also near the intersection of two major interstate highways. The company says it has invested more than $1.5 million in the new facility and expects to add additional product lines and equipment within the next two years.

Urschel Laboratories Inc., Valparaiso, Ind., a worldwide leader in the manufacturing of food cutting equipment, is further expanding resources in Asia. Urschel Asia, the Urschel product test cutting facility located in Singapore, has doubled the size of its staff and focus. This facility will now serve not only as a free-of-charge product test cutting facility, but also as a direct Urschel sales office for Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. To reflect this growth, the new name of this facility has been changed to Urschel Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. In addition, other direct Urschel sales offices have now been established in China, Thailand, and India. Euroasiatic Jaya P.T. has been contracted to service customers in Indonesia. Sales representation of Urschel equipment in Australia and New Zealand will continue under Heat and Control Pty. Ltd., and Urschel Japan will continue sales in Japan.

McCormick Flavor, a unit of McCormick & Company, Inc., Hunt Valley, Md., has partnered with Exopack, LLC to co-develop new packaging to be used for McCormick Flavor's dry flavor systems; spices, herbs, seasonings, coatings, breaders and batters. The patent-pending, tamper-evident packaging innovation is sold by Exopack as the ShurSeal™ brand. The ShurSeal packaging system is targeted to food processing and agriculture. McCormick has exclusive rights in the use of this innovative packaging for flavor systems sold for specific food categories. ShurSeal was developed in conjunction with McCormick, as the company's need for secure packaging grew. According to Exopack, The ShurSeal™ system uses a unique combination of primer and adhesive as well as a characteristic pattern of perforations and tamper evident tabs at each seal without any compromise to bag integrity.

White Systems, Kenilworth, N.J., an FKI Logistex member company and market leader in designing and building high-speed automated material storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), has signed an agreement with Pacific Integrated Handling, Tacoma, Wash., making PIH its exclusive distributor in 13 western states. The new deal, signed last October, calls for PIH to sell exclusively for White Systems in Alaska, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. The companies have also tentatively agreed to a similar relationship for British Columbia, Canada. PIH was previously a White Systems master distributor.

Markem Corp., Keene, N.H. has been recognized as one of the best companies to work for in New Hampshire. Business NH magazine named Markem the Number One Best Large Company in its December issue. Markem, established in 1911, manufactures product identification equipment, software and supplies for marking and coding. The company has 1,200 employees, and 63% of its workforce has been with Markem for more than ten years.

Orion Packaging Systems, manufacturers of a complete line of stretch wrapping systems, is proud to unveil its redesigned Web site, www.orionpackaging.com. The new site combines enhanced user-friendly navigation and communication to give customers the exact information they are searching for in just a few clicks. Visitors can search by product or application.

Silliker Inc. and IDFA have formed a new strategic alliance to provide enhanced laboratory, technical and training services to the industry. The agreement, announced late last year, will allow the two organizations to combine resources to produce technical publications, sponsor training programs, and provide testing, consulting and auditing services on areas ranging from trans fatty acid content to plant security.