The trade press magazine Meat & Poultry has come out with its annual Top 100 rankings of the industry’s biggest companies. In doing the annual rankings, Meat & Poultry discloses the economic damage done to Dakota Dunes, SD-based Beef Products Inc. by last year’s media storm over the use of “lean finely textured beef” by the nation’s schools and fast-food outlets. And it reveals that a $10.4 billion increase in annual North American sales by Greeley, CO-based JBS USA was still $2 billion and buck short of surpassing Tyson Foods Inc. as the continent’s No. 1 meat and poultry producer. Tyson remained No. 1 on the Meat & Poultry Top 100 list for 2013 even though JBS USA is experiencing sales growth, mostly through acquisitions, that is outpacing the Springdale, AR company by a ten-to-one margin. JBS will continue its acquisitions Monday when it completes the purchase of the U.S. operations of XL Foods, including a beef packing plant in Omaha and an idled beef facility in Nampa, ID. JBS picked up XL’s Canadian operations last Jan. 14, including the big feedlot and packing plant in Brooks, Alberta that was troubled last year by an E. coli outbreak linked to its products. How much JBS paid for any of the facilities is unkown, but the company said it assumed none of XL’s debts or liabilities. It has no immediate plans to restart the Nampa plant. The Top 100, which is available in both Meat & Poultry’s print and online editions, found 31 companies with more than $1 billion worth of sales, and it took almost $200 million to be listed among the industry’s top companies. Here’s a brief summary of just the top ten biggest companies from the magazine’s annual rankings: 1. Tyson Foods, Inc.: $33.30 billion, 115,000 employees, 84 plants. 2. JBS USA: $31.30 billion, 61,659 employees, 47 plants. 3. Cargill Meat Solutions: $18 billion, 35,000 employees, 33 plants. 4. Smithfield Foods Inc.: $13.09 billion, 46, 050 employees, 40 plants 5. Sysco Corp.: $11.8 billion, employee and plant counts missing. 6. ConAgra Foods Inc.: $8.2 billion, employee and plant counts missing. (Based on sales, 6 and 7 are tied) 7. Hormel Foods Corp.: $8.2 billion, 19,700 employees, 42 plants 8. National Beef Packing Co. LLC: $6.80 billion, 9000 employees, 6 plants 9. Keystone Foods, LLC: $6.3 billion, 7,075 employees, 13 plants. 10. OSI Group: $5.9 billion, 19,400 employees, 46 plants. Meat & Poultry said the shifts in the Top 100 during the past year were result of “hurdles faced by the industry, including fallout from historic drought conditions in the U.S. and unprecedented backlash over technology used to manufacture specific products.” As an example, the magazine cited the shutdown of Cargill Meat Solutions’ plant at Plainview, TX due to “rising feed costs, drought conditions, and a shrinking national cattle herd.” It also noted that the “Pink Slime” debacle of 2012 ended with the closure of thee plants in three states by Beef Products Inc. “The closures were the result of losing key retail and fast-food-based customers responding to public scrutiny over the technology used to manufacture its products,” Meat & Poultry reported. “This development is reflected in BPI dropping from the No. 27 position in 2012 to No. 63 in 2013 with sales that slipped from $1.1 billion the previous year to approximately $400 million this year.” In other words, BPI lost $700 million in sales due to the collapse of demand for its lean finely textured beef product after it was publicized as “Pink Slime” in the media.