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Texas Company Turns Commodities Culinary

September 29, 2011
By: Kim Watson Potts, Beef Today
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When a plain old burger or taco won't do, restaurants and retailers look to businesses that can take the plain and make it unique.

A Day in Ag logoWhen a plain old burger or taco won't do, restaurants and retailers look to other experts that can take the plain and make it unique. One of those companies is Surlean Foods, which uses protein products to create custom recipes and products for restaurants and retailers. The company is part of a family business in San Antonio, Texas, founded by Ken Leonard in 1979 as an extension to the family's L&H Packing, the largest cow and bull slaughter facility in Texas.

Travis Holmes, Vice President of Technical Services for Surlean Foods, explains that the company is a further processer that utilizes beef, chicken and pork in their processes. "We use other agricultural items such as vegetables, soy, wheat and corn products as well as, spices and flavorings. Whenever possible, we try to use products raised, grown and manufactured in America. Surlean Foods takes agricultural products and makes them delicious and safe for the consumers."

Surlean foods2Anybody can take basic protein items and cook them, but this company offers an customer culinary kitchen with research and development to provide their clients with custom recipes and products for consumers. And quality assurance is a big part of the business with quality standards and food safety measures a high priority.

Question: Do you consider your business part of agriculture?

     Holmes: "Yes, we are part of the farm to fork concept."

Question: What is the biggest issue facing your business?

     Holmes: "With the increasing technology for food testing and regulatory compliance, it can be a real challenge to continue producing great products with the expected low prices we have today."

Question: What would you like producers to know about your business? What do you want consumers to know?

     Holmes: "To realize that food safety is from the farm to the fork and it will take efforts on their ends as well as the processers to achieve our common goal of providing safe wholesome products."

Question: What do your customers want to know from you in regards to how the animals were handled prior to slaughter?

     Holmes: "Everyone one of us is concerned about Humane Slaughter. Customers want to know they are treat humanely and do not suffer while in our facilities. It is to everyone’s advantage to treat animals humanely not only for the animals sake but it also increases the quality of the meat and efficiency of our process."

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