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Family Brands offers variety, quality in its many products for customers

Many local residents often complain about companies that don’t take pride in their work, but that isn’t an ailment suffered by Family Brands International LLC, a Lenoir City company formerly known as Elm Hill.

“Our employees take a lot of pride in the work they do here,” said Clay Jones, Family Brands marketing director. “We tend to be more like a family here, and we’ve got employees that have relatives working here. Brothers, sisters … .”

Jones said one of the things Family Brands International is most proud of is the extra care they take to make sure their products are clean and


Tommy White, director of regulatory affairs for the company, said the company uses an Agion system to reduce microbial contamination of the raw meat


“We’re the first facility in the country to use this system,” White said. “Agion uses silver ions embedded in the floor material. These ions attack and kill harmful bacteria.”

White said the ions don’t affect bacteria in such a way that allows bacteria to develop a resistance to the ions.

The company goes one step beyond the health expectations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jones said. The silver ion flooring is one and a metal detector is another. He said sometimes a hog would rub up against a barbed wire fence and get the bar embedded in its skin.

“That barb could move all the way to the bone,” he said.

The metal detector is used to prevent any metal from getting into the meat product, he said.

“The U-S-D-A doesn’t require us to have this,” Jones said. “We choose to have it to ensure the quality of our product.”

Jones said the company, which has about 100 employees, makes and distributes 30 million pounds of meat products per year.

“We have about sixty-four different brands of hot dogs,” he said. “We also put out about sixty-four different brands of bologna as well.”

Family Brands International is an umbrella company that covers a variety of meat brands and products, Jones said. The brands include Cades Cove, Elm Hill, Frosty Morn, Houser Dinner Delight, Jubilee, Mayo and Charlie’s. They are carried locally by Kroger, Arby’s, Food City, Kenjo Markets and a multitude of other outlets.

Paul Miller, plant superintendent, said the company makes different colored sausages due to different demographic expectations of their customer base.

“A sausage gets its color from the casing it’s cooked in,” he said.

Jones said customers over in the Carolinas think a sausage should have a red color, so they use a red casing provided by Viskase, another Lenoir City business.

“Viskase provides all our cases,” he said. “Our local sausages are all cooked in an orange casing. Local customers expect the sausage to be orange.”

Miller said the plant uses 75,000 pounds of meat product per day in the creation of hot dogs, bologna, ribs and many other items.

One of the products that has really taken off for Family Brands International is the barbecue side of the business. Jones said the company branched into the barbecue aspect of meat four years ago and has seen tremendous growth.

“The building that houses the barbecue products has expanded five times in the last four years,” he said.

For more information on Family Brands International, call 865-986-8005.


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