US ready meals and sandwich maker Pierre Foods has insisted it remains "business as usual" at the company as it begins restructuring under Chapter 11.

CEO Norbert Woodhams made the claim after a bankruptcy court in Delaware allowed Pierre to use US$29m in financing from backers Oaktree Capital Management. Funds managed by the private equity firm have put up $35m to support Pierre.

The company has secured all its "first day" motions from the bankruptcy court, including the ability to pay employees and honour customer contracts.

Woodhams said: "This approval will allow us to continue to operate without interruption while implementing strategies to enhance our financial performance."

Pierre filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this week amid soaring raw material costs.