Archive for September, 2010

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla.  (Food-News.net)  Florida Crystals Corporation and Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida announce their subsidiary American Sugar Refining, Inc. (ASR) today completed the acquisition of Tate & Lyle PLC’s European sugar operations.

The purchase of Tate & Lyle’s refineries in London, England, and Lisbon, Portugal, augments ASR’s total refining capacity to six million tons per year.  ASR is the world’s largest refined cane sugar producer, while Tate & Lyle’s sugar operations are the leading refined cane sugar producers in the European Union. The acquisition also includes a license for use of the distinguished Tate & Lyle brand in connection with the sale of sugar.

“We are very proud of ASR’s success, which is the product of our partnership with the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative,” said Alfonso Fanjul, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Florida Crystals. “It is proof that working together leads to success.”

Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative President and CEO George H. Wedgworth echoed this sentiment. He said, “It’s pretty amazing to think about how a group of small vegetable farmers pooled their resources together almost 50 years ago, built a raw sugar processing plant, and now with the partnership of Florida Crystals have become vertically integrated to become the world’s largest sugar refiner.  We are pleased with the relationships we have built and the quality brand names and products we produce and offer our customers.”

ASR’s acquisition of Tate & Lyle’s European sugar operations is consistent with the company’s expertise and strategic vision for expansion in the sugar refining sector.  ASR’s expertise lies in the operation of cane sugar refineries and the logistics of the related supply chain, as well as the marketing of recognized retail sugar brands. Tate & Lyle’s sugar operations offer ASR a complementary platform for growth and success in the EU markets.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to unite our family’s tradition of success in the sugar business with Tate & Lyle’s 130 years of distinguished history,” said J. Pepe Fanjul, Vice Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Operating Officer of Florida Crystals. “The Fanjul family also began our sugar business in Cuba in the second half of the 19th century, in many ways paralleling Tate & Lyle’s history, so we welcome Tate & Lyle’s added century of tradition to our group of companies.”

The acquisition marks the third large-scale transaction between ASR and Tate & Lyle.  In 2001, ASR purchased Tate & Lyle North American Sugars, Inc. (Domino Sugar) and its three refineries.  In 2007, ASR acquired Tate & Lyle Canada Ltd. (Redpath Sugar), which included Canada’s largest refinery. Across North America, ASR owns and operates six cane sugar refineries, located in Yonkers, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Chalmette, Louisiana; Crockett, California; Toronto, Canada; and Veracruz, Mexico. The company markets its industrial, consumer and specialty products through Domino Foods, Inc., with a brand portfolio of Domino®, C&H®, Florida Crystals® and Redpath®.

The acquisition solidifies Florida Crystals Corporation and Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative as leading companies in the cane sugar industry.  The two companies account for five raw sugar mills and 10 sugar refineries worldwide with an annual output of six million tons of refined sugar.

About Florida Crystals Corporation

Florida Crystals, a Fanjul Corp. company, is headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla. and led by Alfonso Fanjul, Jr., Chairman and CEO, and J. Pepe Fanjul, Vice Chairman, President and COO.  In addition to its ASR subsidiary, in Florida, the company owns 155,000 acres of land, two sugar mills, a sugar refinery, a rice mill and the largest biomass renewable power plant in North America.  Florida Crystals is the only producer of certified organic sugar grown and harvested in the United States.  Another Fanjul company, Central Romana Corporation, owns 240,000 acres, a sugar mill, refinery, deep sea port, marina, international airport and the Casa de Campo resort in the Dominican Republic as well as a furfural plant in Belgium.

About Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida

Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, headquartered in Belle Glade, Fla., is led by George H. Wedgworth, Chairman and CEO.  The Cooperative is comprised of 46 grower-members who grow sugarcane on approximately 65,000 acres of land. The primary functions of the Cooperative are the harvesting, transporting, and processing of sugarcane and the marketing of raw sugar through American Sugar Refining.

About American Sugar Refining, Inc.

American Sugar Refining, headquartered in Yonkers, New York, is led by co-presidents Luis J. Fernandez and Antonio L. Contreras, Jr.  ASR is the world’s largest sugar refiner. The company produces a full line of consumer, industrial, food service and specialty products.  Across North America, ASR owns and operates six sugar refineries, specialty sugar production facilities and a strategic warehousing and distribution system that all allow seamless production and delivery of its products to customers across the United States, Canada and Mexico. Its Chalmette, Louisiana, sugar refinery is the largest in North America, with an annual capacity of nearly one million tons of sugar.  In the European Union, the company owns and operates sugar refineries in England and Portugal.  ASR is responsible for more than 3,600 direct jobs.  The company’s sweetener products are marketed by Domino Foods, Inc. and its brand portfolio that includes the premiere sugar brands Domino®, C&H®, Florida Crystals®, Redpath® and Tate & Lyle®.



Los Angeles, CA  (Food-News.net)  Altitude Coffee, the web’s first user-driven coffee roaster, announces the launch of their wholesale coffee program. Altitude Coffee’s wholesale coffee program allows coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and other coffee serving establishments the ability to create their own unique coffee blends online in real time at affordable wholesale prices.

“Although the idea of providing customized blends to wholesale clients is not new, the ability to do so online, and in real time, is,” says Aaron Walls, Vice President of Development for Altitude Coffee, “Specialty coffee roasters have been providing their clients with customized blends for a long time now and the process of creating the blend and changing it down the line can be a long and expensive one. However using Altitude Coffee and Ascension, clients can create new blends or change their existing blends online, in seconds.”

“It’s very important to note that unlike other custom blending services online, we do not use flavoring syrups,” says Walls.  “Ascension collects the underlying qualities of single origin coffees from our users, such as berry and citrus of an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, or nut and chocolate of a Brazil”. 

Ascension then creates a best fit blend using only the single origin varietals stocked by Altitude Coffee.

“The main difference between Altitude Coffee and other specialty coffee roasters is that we are entirely data driven. With the attribute information we collect about each bean from all of our online users, we are able to do a lot of things that other roasters can’t, like algorithmically combine those single origins into custom blends in real time using their underlying attributes. The result is a more accurate blend,” says Walls, “And instead of going back and forth with the sales rep if you want to adjust the blend for more or less of a certain characteristic, you can simply log onto the website and click the sliders to tune the blend, Ascension does the rest.”

While Altitude Coffee offers the ability to purchase custom coffee blends on their website in 5lb and 25lb quantities, contacting a wholesale account representative is the best way to get one on one assistance in creating a coffee program that works for the unique needs of your establishment. Programs consist of preferential pricing, regularly scheduled coffee deliveries, 12oz retail bags of your custom blends for customers to purchase, and much more. Altitude Coffee also provides single origin coffee and community coffee blends at wholesale prices.

To get in touch with an Altitude Coffee wholesales representative, send an email to wholesale(at)altitudecoffee(dot)com or call (866) 698-8795.

WASHINGTON  (Food-News.net)  Whether your preference is bratwurst or beerwurst, Polish or Italian, pork or turkey, there is no better time to reacquaint yourself with your favorite sausage — or to familiarize yourself with a few new ones — than National Sausage Month, held every year in October.

“National Sausage Month is a celebration of everything Americans love about these links —from the folklore to the flavor,” says National Sausage and Hot Dog Council President Janet Riley.  “Oktoberfest is under way.  The weather is getting a bit cooler and we’re in prime tailgating season.  Sausage and October are a perfect ‘link.'”  

In honor of National Sausage Month, the Council has released a new, healthy recipe collection that is sure to warm you up inside as cooler temperatures arrive with Autumn.  The recipes are: Healthy Make-over Mediterranean Sausage and Linguini; Mushroom Caps Stuffed with Salami/Pepperoni; Kielbasa with Apples and Red Cabbage; Stuffed Bell Peppers with Italian Sausage; and Sausage Picadillo Lettuce Wraps.

“This new recipe collection presents some traditional flavors we all love in new, healthier ways,” Riley adds.  “Some people falsely assume that sausage isn’t necessarily a ‘healthy’ food.  But the nutrition labels on these recipes prove otherwise.  And while they are low in calories, they are high in flavor.”  

To download these recipes, including photos, or to obtain more information about National Sausage Month and the National Hotdog and Sausage Council visit www.hot-dog.org.

Also on the Council’s site is a “Sausage Fame” section featuring movies, music and television shows that have showcased sausages.  You can also download “A Guide to Beer and Sausage: Pairing and Recipes” (http://bit.ly/dvVdp1).  In addition, the site features many more great recipes, and all of the facts, figures and photos you need to spice up your very own Sausage Month celebration.

“Sausages have been enjoyed for more than 2,000 years,” Riley concludes. “In fact, sausage is mentioned in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ written in 800 B.C.  This longevity is truly a testament to sausages’ popularity and their staying power.   As traditional as they are in many ways, they’ve become downright trendy in the last decade.”

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is a project of the American Meat Institute in Washington, D.C. Established in 1994, the Council serves as an information resource to consumers and media on issues related to quality, safety, trivia, nutrition, preparation and recipes of hot dogs and sausages.  It maintains the popular website, Hot Dog City at www.hot-dog.org.

HARRISBURG, Pa.  (F00d-News.net)  In preparation for significant rainfall forecast for many areas of the state on Sept. 30, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding today offered tips to keep food safe during flooding and power outages.

“During and after a power outage or flood, it is important to remember key food safety tips,” said Redding. “Simple steps like monitoring the temperature and condition of food can make the difference between safe food and dangerous food, and I encourage Pennsylvanians to follow basic food safety tips to ensure they remain safe.”

Redding offered the following tips to help families minimize the potential for food-borne illness due to power outages or flooding:

During flooding:

  • Drink only bottled water if flooding has occurred.
  • Thoroughly wash all metal pans, ceramic dishes and utensils that come in contact with flood water with hot soapy water and sanitize by boiling these items in clean water, or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.

After flooding, discard:

  • Home-canned foods that came in contact with flood waters.
  • All foods in cardboard boxes, paper, foil, cellophane or cloth.
  • Meat, poultry, eggs or fish.
  • Spices, seasonings, extracts, flour, sugar, grain, coffee, and other staples in canisters.
  • Unopened jars with waxed cardboard seals, such as mayonnaise and salad dressing. Also, throw away preserves sealed with paraffin.
  • Wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.

After flooding, save:

  • Canned foods that did not come into contact with flood water.
  • Commercially canned foods that came into contact with flood water and have been properly cleaned by: labeling cans with the name of food in permanent market; removing labels; washing cans in water containing detergent; soaking cans for at least one minute in chlorine solution; rinsing in clean, cool water; placing on sides to dry (do not stack cans).
  • Dishes and glassware if they are sanitized by boiling in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.
  • When in doubt, throw it out.

During power outages:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain cold temperatures. Each time the door is opened, temperatures rise significantly.
  • Refrigerators will keep food safely cold for about four hours if unopened. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed).
  • Food may be safely refrozen if it still contains ice crystals or is at 40 degrees or below.
  • Never taste food to determine its safety.
  • Use dry or block ice to keep refrigerators and freezers as cold as possible during prolonged power outages. Fifty pounds of dry ice should maintain an 18-cubic-foot, full freezer for two days.
  • If the power has been out for several days, check the temperature of the freezer with an appliance thermometer or food thermometer. If the food still contains ice crystals or is at 40 degrees or below, the food is safe.
  • If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. If the food still contains ice crystals, the food is safe.
  • Discard refrigerated perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheeses, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items after four hours without power.

For more information about food safety, contact the Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services at 717-787-4315 or visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and search “food safety.”

Media contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085

BURBANK, Calif.  (Food-News.net)  The Walt Disney Company today launched Disney Magic of Healthy Living – a national multimedia initiative designed to partner with parents in their quest to raise healthy, happy kids. The initiative, which includes public service announcements featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and young Disney stars, builds on the Company’s commitment to a healthier generation of kids begun in 2006 with the announcement of landmark nutritional guidelines associating Disney brands and characters with a more nutritionally balanced range of foods.

Disney Magic of Healthy Living takes that commitment to the next level enlisting many of the Company’s assets and platforms to inspire kids and help reinforce the work of parents. New content showcases fun, easy ways that healthy living practices can be woven into the fabric of everyday life.

“We are very proud to take the next step in our long-term commitment to helping families achieve healthier lifestyles, and are especially gratified to work with the First Lady on the Let’s Move! campaign,” said Disney President and CEO Bob Iger. “The health of our kids is critically important and we are pleased to be doing our part to encourage smart eating and exercise.”

“I am thrilled to join Disney’s Magic of Healthy Living effort and support the work these young people are doing to reach out to their peers and communicate this powerful message,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Earlier this year, I launched Let’s Move! with the goal of reducing childhood obesity rates in a generation, and through this Disney program, we are able to carry that goal directly to kids – the key stakeholders in this effort. I hope through programs like the Magic of Healthy Living, young people are inspired to take control of their own health, fitness and nutrition and engage their families, schools and communities to do the same.”

Highlights of Disney Magic of Healthy Living include:

  • A year-long series of inspirational television public service announcements featuring Mrs. Obama and Disney Channel stars including Nick Jonas (“JONAS L.A.” and “Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam”) and Brenda Song (“The Suite Life On Deck” and “Pass the Plate”) among others. The PSAs will be presented daily on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Radio Disney and Disney.com. They will also be featured on ABC in addition to being distributed through the Ad Council’s network of 1,700 broadcast, network, and local cable stations for use in donated media.*
  • Two new web sites from Disney: one to engage and activate kids about healthy living (Disney.com/healthyfun) and another to provide ideas and resources for parents (Family.com/healthymagic).
  • A national essay contest calling on kids to write about ideas for living a healthy life at home, at school or in their communities. The contest will open for entries next month and will culminate in a special Disney Magic of Healthy Living – The Weekend event at Walt Disney World Resort for 50 winners from across the U.S. For more information, visit Disney.com/healthyfun.
  • A $1 million grant from Disney will help to build play spaces and gardens in 10 underserved communities nationwide. Disney will be working closely with KaBOOM!, a renowned non-profit organization whose vision it is to have a great place to play within walking distance of every child.

“The Magic of Healthy Living is a great example of putting behavioral research into action to inspire children and families to make small, incremental lifestyle changes to improve their health and well-being,” said Dr. James O. Hill, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado. “With this initiative, Disney has shown commitment to the health of our children. And best of all, who better than Disney to make it fun!”

“Through the Magic of Healthy Living, Disney continues building on the leadership of its landmark nutrition guidelines by illustrating how national health goals can be translated into simple and fun activities that can be embraced for a lifetime,” said Dr. Keith Ayoob, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “The program celebrates Disney’s ongoing commitment to helping parents and children truly enjoy healthy living by offering them a wide variety of activities and tools, empowering them to find those that work best for their family. That’s the best way to make a healthy lifestyle last forever.”

Since 2006, Disney’s nutritional guidelines have been implemented across all Disney-branded businesses. Company progress to date includes:

  • A growing portfolio of “better for you” Disney-branded foods at grocery retailers including more than 1.3 billion servings of fruits and vegetables sold in the United States alone.
  • Embedded healthy lifestyle themes in Disney Channel and Disney XD programming (available in 99 million and 77 million homes respectively across the U.S. and to millions of viewers on Disney Channels around the world).
  • Healthier food options to choose from in Disney parks including fruits for snacking, the elimination of added trans fats** and healthier default sides and beverages that families opt for in nearly 60% of kids’ meals.

In addition to working with First Lady Michelle Obama in support of her Let’s Move! initiative, Disney consulted with leaders in the fields of nutrition, health care and fitness to help develop Disney Magic of Healthy Living. These include: The Advertising Council, The Institute of Medicine and Produce for Better Health Foundation. Dr. Keith Ayoob and Dr. James O. Hill, top child health and wellness specialists that helped develop Disney’s 2006 Food Guidelines, were also consulted.

* The Ad Council’s portion of the TV PSAs are co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and direct audiences to visit LetsMove.gov to learn more.

** Where comparable products exist in the marketplace and pre-existing contracts notwithstanding.

Note to Editors: for press materials, please visit www.disneymohlmedia.com.

About The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS), together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with five business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of about $36 billion in its most recent fiscal year.

Deeply rooted in The Walt Disney Company’s long history of corporate citizenship is support for the well-being of kids and families. That legacy is evident today in every facet of Disney’s corporate responsibility approach ranging from community support and care for the planet to product integrity and quality workplaces.

KISSIMMEE, FL  (Food-News.net)  The Comfort Suites Maingate East invites guests to experience the Epcot Food and Wine Festival at Disney World Orlando.

Running from October 1- November 14, 2010, the Epcot Food and Wine Festival is a celebration of international cuisine and a food lover’s paradise. Guests can sample specialty food items, attend cooking demonstrations, and enjoy all the attractions at the Epcot park.

The 2010 Epcot Food and Wine Festival features:

• Cooking demonstrations by renowned international chefs
• Eat to the Beat concert series with scheduled performances by Taylor Dane, Billy Ocean and .38 Special and more
• Festival Wine Shop and Wonders Bar with collectable merchandise

Located just two miles from Walt Disney World the Comfort Suites Maingate East offers guests free scheduled shuttle service to all major Orlando theme parks, and is a Walt Disney World Good Neighbor hotel, which allows guests to buy tickets in the hotel lobby. Food enthusiasts can plan an exciting fall getaway to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

The Affordable Comfort Suites Maingate East is Ideal for Family or Group Travel

The perfect location for a Central Florida getaway, the Comfort Suites Maingate East is an award winning and affordable all-suites hotel.

Featuring free internet access, complimentary deluxe hot and cold buffet breakfast, and fitness center, the Comfort Suites Maingate East has all the comforts of home and is ideal for family or group travel.

Guests can make plans to attend the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, just minutes from the hotel. For more information on the Comfort Suites Maingate East please visit: http://www.comfortsuitesfl.com

Comfort Suites Maingate East is an all-suite hotel located just 2 miles from the Walt Disney World Resort. With free deluxe hot and cold buffet breakfast, free scheduled shuttle to all major Orlando theme parks, 24-hour pool, kiddie pool, hot tub, free Internet, game room, and fitness center, this Kissimmee hotel is perfect for any traveler.

For more information about Comfort Suites Maingate East please visit http://www.ComfortSuitesFL.com or call 407-397-7848.

Contact:

Mike Gush
Comfort Suites Maingate East
2775 Florida Plaza Boulevard
Kissimmee, FL 34746
(407) 397-7848

Mechanicsburg, PA  (Food-News.net)  Derry Church Artisan Chocolates, LLC is a small high-end luxury chocolates company based out of the Central PA area, near Hershey. They began production in July 09, with just 3 employees, and they currently hand-produce over 35 different varieties of European style chocolate bon bons, as well as several other types of premium chocolate products.  The company is now concentrating exclusively on the upscale specialty chocolates market.

In a recent interview for Fast Company Magazine, Eric Cayton, the Chocolatier for the company, was asked about how the first year of operations had been going; he responded, “The public has been extremely receptive to us, and we have been fortunate to gain a lot of positive feedback from some of the top Food Writers and Bloggers in the country. In just the past 6 months, we’ve had positive comments from Rose Levy Beranbaum and Nick Malgieri…two of the top Pastry Chefs in the world, as well as Gale Gand and Bob Blumer, both well known Food Network Stars! Derry Church Artisan Chocolates will also be featured on THE PRICE IS RIGHT with Drew Carey on Oct. 21, 2010.”

In recent months, Derry Church Artisan Chocolates has been working on several different and new product lines, including the Central PA ~ Small Family Farms Collection; a collection of 6 different chocolate bon bons, based on local Central PA ingredients, the brand new Marrakech Spice Souk Collection; a collection of 6 different chocolate bon bons with pungent spice infusions, and now 3 new Ultra-Luxe Chocolate Ganache Bars. The company also had a complete website overhaul, with all the new products featured, and a more functional and easier-to-navigate E-commerce section. You can also watch a promotional video that the company released this past summer with professional Chocolatier, Eric Cayton, doing a short walk-thru of his artisan chocolates studio, and talking about the company’s commitment to supporting local, Central PA agriculture:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu_DarIuv_c

About Derry Church Artisan Chocolates

Derry Church Artisan Chocolates produces some of the most unusual and unique, high-end French chocolate bon bons in the world. Our chocolates are all made by hand, without the use of machines, and are now available from our website in limited quantities.

Fairfield, CA  (Food-News.net)  With the shrimp harvesting season now underway in the Gulf of Mexico, an improvement in the seafood situation can be observed, leading to hopes within the shrimp industry of a significant rebound in production. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had (in consultation with Gulf states Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas) originally closed roughly one third of the gulf, only 23% of gulf waters were closed in August to the harvesting of seafood.

Concerns around Safety of Seafood

Oil related toxins known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are of key concern to consumers, retailers and those in the food industry (http://www.sgs.com/food__laboratory_testing)  buying gulf seafood. High levels of these chemical contaminants may accumulate in seafood products exposed to oil, with the possibility that PAHs result in illness among those who consume seafood. A related concern is that consumers may also be exposed to cancer causing contaminants or contaminants that cause neurological damage. These outcomes are possible if seafood absorbs petroleum-based substances.

The likelihood of contamination of seafood depends on the way in which species are exposed to contaminants as well as the nature of the species.

Species that are filter feeders will absorb oil when exposed to it, whether exposed while the oil is dispersing or breaking down. Clams, oysters and molluscs come under this category. Alternately, crustaceans will tend to absorb oil through their diet, including both contaminated plant and animal materials. The risk of absorption will increase for those crustaceans, including shrimp, which are found in shallower waters.

Some species passing through contaminated waters will absorb oil through the gills or gut. For example, predatory finfish will absorb oil and PAHs in this way, as well as through feeding on contaminated species.

In order to clean up the spill, BP is using oil dispersants. Even though these substances generally dissipate within a few days, and are regarded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as being less toxic than oil, it remains unknown as to whether they have any long terms effects on sea life.

Moves Being Made to Ensure Safety

The NOAA has put in place measures to ensure that contaminated seafood products are not sold to consumers. The NOAA has heightened testing measures (http://www.sgs.com/food__laboratory_testing) , including sensory evaluation by fish sniffers of potentially contaminated product. NOAA vessels collect these products, producing samples that are typically tested by NOAA scientists for PAH contamination via Mass Spectrometer (LC/MS) and Liquid Chromatograph.

Besides product testing by the NOAA, steps have also been taken by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to safeguard consumers. Industry producers have been notified that Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans must include measures for contaminants such as PAHs. This requirement comes as part of Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 123 regulation 21, designed to safeguard against the sale and consumption of potentially toxic seafoods. In addition, under 21 CFR 128.28, all shellfish (molluscs) must be tagged, and suppliers are banned from shellfish harvesting within closed areas. Tagging of shellfish enables identification of harvesting dates and locations, and records the license details of the harvester.

Both water and seafood products can be tested for oil and related contaminants. The presence of PAHs and oil can be detected using instrumentation including both Liquid Chromatograph coupled with a Mass Spectrometer (LC/MS), and Gas Chromatograph coupled with Mass Spectormeter (GC/MS).

Contact details:

SGS Consumer Testing Services
Name of contact person:  James Cook
Position of contact person:  Food Safety Technologist, SGS U.S. Testing Company, Inc.
Full postal address – 291 Fairfield Avenue, Fairfield, NJ 07004, USA

Phone number: +1 973 461 1493
E-mail address: cts.media@sgs.com
Website:  http://www.foodsafety.sgs.com/index.htm

Seafood product and water analysis are offered as part of SGS Food Safety Services.

The SGS Group is the global leader and innovator in inspection, verification, testing and certification services. Founded in 1878, SGS is recognized as the global benchmark in quality and integrity. With 59,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,000 offices and laboratories around the world.

WESTWOOD, Mass.  (Food-News.net)  In honor of National Coffee Day, Filterfresh Coffee Service, Inc., a leading provider of home and office coffee products and supplies, today released its 2010 Filterfresh Coffee Report.  The report spills the beans on coffee drinking habits among Americans and reveals that they will go to great lengths to ensure they have their daily cup O’ Joe. In fact, 54 percent of survey respondents said they would give up their cell phone before giving up their daily cup of coffee.

The report indicates that Americans turn to coffee for their daily shot of caffeine. 95 percent of survey respondents receive their daily shot of caffeine from coffee, over tea, soda and energy drinks. The survey also reveals:

  • 59 percent of those surveyed drink two to three cups of coffee per day
  • 72 percent of those surveyed say coffee improves their mental focus
  • 82 percent of those surveyed say coffee is not a meal replacement

While consumers love coffee, their peers aren’t so hooked on the coffee breath that is left behind. 32 percent of survey respondents said they would tell someone if they had coffee breath, while the remaining 68 percent would suffer in silence. Coffee seems to have additional benefits for some. In fact, 52 percent of respondents reported that drinking coffee couldn’t hurt in improving their libido.

When it comes to the workplace, people turn to coffee to get them through their workday. According to the survey, 90 percent of respondents drink coffee in the morning, and 72 percent drink it with their co-workers. Additionally, 30 percent of respondents indicated that they would not meet with their boss prior to their morning cup of coffee, while another 36 percent indicated that it depended upon the day. One of the most widely-loathed workplace peeves takes place when someone reaches for the coffee pot, only to find it empty. The survey indicated that most people (69 percent) would most likely help out their caffeinated co-workers by making the next pot, while 24 percent said that it is not their job.  

Filterfresh, a leading provider of coffee service to offices and businesses across the United States for more than 20 years, is also launching a video contest that asks folks to show why they are the most caffeinated person in America.

“We know that coffee provides the jump start Americans depend on to begin their day and we want to award a prize to the individual or office that stands above all others,” said Dave Larimer, President of Filterfresh Coffee Service. “We will have a panel of respected coffee bloggers and writers judging the contest and will invite America to vote for the best video from the three finalists.”

The contest rules will be available online at http://filterfresh.com/blog/ in mid-October.  Final entries will be due by January 15, 2011.  The winning entry will be selected on January 31, 2011 and announced on the company’s website.  

About Filterfresh Coffee Service, Inc.

Filterfresh Coffee Service, Inc., based in Westwood, Massachusetts, provides coffee service to businesses nationwide, including offices, convenience stores, supermarkets, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, universities, and many other facilities. The company features an enormous selection of coffee brands, and blends, state-of-the-art brewing equipment, comprehensive marketing and merchandise programs, and full kitchen-pantry solutions.  Additional information about Filterfresh can be found at www.filterfresh.com.

CHICAGO  (Food-News.net)  Lately, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has come under fire, resulting in a proposed name change from HFCS to simply “corn sugar.” While it’s unclear what effects this possible name change will have, consumers are continually concerned about the controversial food additive. According to Mintel, 65% of consumers believe manufacturers or brands themselves should be responsible for disclosing how much HFCS a food or drink contains.

Alternatively, 57% of respondents believe it should be up to the government to force company disclosure of the amount of HFCS a food or beverage contains and 44% state retailers should mandate disclosure. A modest 16% think disclosure should not be forced at all.

“Today’s consumers are demanding greater labeling transparency across the board,” says Krista Faron, lead innovation analyst at Mintel. “And when it comes to an ingredient as controversial as high fructose corn syrup, the majority of Americans clearly want complete information that will help them make informed purchase decisions.”

While many consumers think disclosure is important, some seem to draw the line at imposed limitations on HFCS content. Thirty-seven percent of survey respondents say no one should be responsible for imposing restrictions on how much HFCS can be in any given food or drink product. Meanwhile, 35% believe the government should limit HFCS content and 45% think it should be up to manufacturers.

“The public wants to be informed about HFCS content, while still maintaining their freedom of choice,” adds Krista Faron. “While they still may choose better-for-you options, they don’t necessarily want the government or anyone else imposing limits on what can or cannot be added to their food.”

Sixty-four percent of consumers think HFCS is okay in moderation, while 46% say they really don’t know enough about HFCS to know if it is good or bad for their health. Moreover, 35% of survey respondents avoid products that list HFCS as any ingredient.

About Mintel

Mintel is a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence. For more than 38 years, Mintel has provided insight into key worldwide trends, offering exclusive data and analysis that directly impacts client success. With offices in Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Shanghai and Tokyo, Mintel has forged a unique reputation as a world-renowned business brand. For more information on Mintel, please visit www.mintel.com. Follow Mintel on Twitter: http://twitter.com/mintelnews

HERSHEY, Pa.  (Food-News.net)  From pumpkin-shaped Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups to Hershey®’s Kisses® Brand Chocolates disguised in Halloween colors of silver, black and orange, Hershey treats are spook-tacularly festive this Halloween season. With more than 60 percent of consumers planning to pass out candy for Halloween 2010, Hershey has ‘dressed up’ classic favorites for the season and introduced new, frightfully delicious Halloween candy assortments to enchant trick-or-treaters and sweeten seasonal parties. More than 50 percent of adults enjoy dressing up for the holiday as well, and a national survey has revealed that Hershey’s lovers are most likely to celebrate Halloween as a vampire, witch or monster.

The most popular Hershey’s candies given to trick-or-treaters are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (43%), Kit Kat® Wafer Bars (40%), Hershey®’s Milk Chocolate Bars (37%) and Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates (27%). During the Halloween time of year, Hershey adds a costume-like twist to these classic favorites with Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins, Halloween Kit Kat Orange Snack Size Bars, Hershey®’s Miniatures (Hershey®’s Krackel® Bar, Hershey®’s Special Dark® Dark Chocolate, Hershey®’s Mr. Goodbar® Candy Bar and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate) wrapped in orange, black, purple and lime-green foils and Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates wrapped in orange, black and silver foils.

Hershey offers a wide array of new candy assortments perfect for trick-or-treaters, including:

  • NEW – Twizzlers® Assortment 120 Snack Size Pieces (Mini Bars Candy Strawberry, Pull n’ Peel Candy Wildberry and Pull n’ Peel Candy Green Apple)
  • NEW – Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Crème Jumbo Bag Snack Size Treats
  • NEW – Hershey’s Chocolate Assortment with 100 Snack Size Pieces (Kit Kat Crisp Wafers, York Peppermint Patties, Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar® Candy Bars, Reese’s Pieces® Candy, Hershey’s Chocolate Lollipops, Milk Duds® Candy, Jolly Rancher® Doubles Candy and Whoppers® Malted Milk Balls)
  • NEW – Hershey’s Candy Assortment with 100 Snack Size Packages (Reese’s Pieces Candy, Whoppers Malted Milk Balls, Milk Duds Candy and Jolly Rancher Lollipops)

Additional classic favorites for the season include:

  • Reese’s Lovers 50 Snack Size Pieces (Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Reese’s Pieces Candy and Reese’s Fast Break® Candy Bar)
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins Jumbo Snack Size
  • Hershey’s Seasonal Shapes Assortment with 50 Snack Size Packages (Hershey’s Tombstone-shaped Moulded Bars in Milk Chocolate and Cookies ‘N’ Crème flavors, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins)
  • Harvest Hershey®’s Kisses® Brand Candy Corn Flavored Candy
  • Harvest York® Peppermint Patties Pumpkin Shapes
  • York® Peppermint Batty

Can’t decide how to “boo-tify” yourself for Halloween this year? According to a national survey conducted by The Hershey Company, personal candy preferences may provide insight into Halloween costume choices. According to the survey:

  • About 30 percent of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Kit Kat Wafer Bar and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate lovers will do the monster mash this year as a vampire, witch or monster.
  • Fans of Twizzlers Twists may get the chance to show their dance moves as they twist the night away dressed in garb from the 1950s. More than 41 percent stated they plan to dress-up in period piece costumes from different eras of the 20th century.
  • Jolly Rancher lovers will most likely sport a cape on the holiday, as 23 percent expressed a desire to channel superhuman powers as their favorite superhero.

Hershey’s seasonal offerings can be found at retailers nationwide. For more information on Hershey’s Halloween products, as well as costume ideas, spooky screensavers, desktop wallpapers, delicious recipes, craft activities and party invitations, visit www.CelebrateWithHersheys.com.

For more information about The Hershey Company, visit www.hersheys.com.

MONTEREY, Calif.  (Food-News.net)  The 2010 wine grape harvest in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation is a couple weeks behind schedule, thanks to an unusually cool spring and summer. But the same conditions that have delayed the start of Crush have also combined to allow slow, gentle ripening and maturation of the area’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit – making for a potentially very high-quality crop. Some of California’s finest vineyards call the Highlands home: 2,729 acres of Pinot Noir and 2,034 acres of Chardonnay are currently planted there.  

At the Pisoni Vineyard, Gary Pisoni is looking to begin picking the first week of October. He comments that “Cooler years are always welcome – they extend the growing season and allow for slow and steady ripening. Being close to the ocean with fog and moisture, though, things can still be ‘too cool.’ This year has seen one of the coldest summers on record for many parts of California. Fortunately, the Santa Lucia Highlands are also very windy, which keeps the grapes dry. Rains usually start later in the year, giving us the extra time needed time to ripen – hopefully turning a challenging year into a truly great vintage.”

Dan Lee of Morgan Winery is also excited about the potential quality at his organically farmed Double L Vineyard in the Highlands. “If there was an award for healthy vines, we would have won it this year. However, our awards come from the wines we produce, and although hard to predict right now, the wines should be home runs, or, at least, triple baggers.”

Mr. Lee continues, “The Pinot Noir bunch weights at the Double L look lighter, with small clusters and small berries. The cool summer has slowed ripening. The Double L is about eight to ten days behind ‘normal.’ We’re not concerned, though, because with a smaller crop and healthy vines with plenty of green leaves, the ripening process can still progress nicely. With the warmer weather due over the next few days, the grapes will ‘sprint’ to the finish line. At Double L, the Pinot Noir harvest should start the end of this week and take five weeks. The Chardonnay pick should start the first week of October and take four weeks.”

Rich Smith at Paraiso Vineyards is getting ready for his thirty-fourth harvest in the Santa Lucia Highlands. He comments that “Pinot Noir is about three weeks behind in sugar development compared to 2009; however, the flavor development in the berries is very close to ‘normal.’ Flavors have been bright and vibrant in the earliest clones for the last 10 days or so. We plan to start Crush gradually over the next couple of days.

“Our Pinot Noir harvest at Paraiso could extend even a week longer than the three-week norm; we could finish the Pinot Noir fermentations after Halloween. With no rain in the long range forecast and plenty of time to pick, 2010 should be a great vintage.”

The Santa Lucia Highlands is one of the crown jewels of California viticulture, growing some of the state’s best cool climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Syrah. The appellation encompasses 46 estates, with 5,900 acres of vineyards; the area’s unique character was recognized with official A.V.A. status in 1991.  

The S.L.H. Wine Artisans is an association of vineyards and vintners that grow grapes here or use this region’s fruit to craft their wines. The group’s online home is http://www.santaluciahighlands.com

WASHINGTON  (Food-News.net)  In a House subcommittee hearing Wednesday, the heads of the egg farms linked to over 1,600 cases of salmonella across the country were questioned as details of conditions found by FDA inspectors at these facilities were revealed to shocked members of Congress.

Inspectors found both live and dead rodents, flies and maggots, dead and rotting chickens, liquid manure leaking from buildings, standing water, and piles of manure in the hen houses. Some piles of chicken manure reached 8 feet high and in some cases the large amounts of manure on the ground in some buildings prevented the doors from closing.

As the former Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Hon. Nancy Harvey Steorts says that it is time for consumers to take action and stop buying eggs until these horrible practices by egg producers are stopped, and the industry can prove that eggs are safe to consume. Steorts also advocates for a well-funded, separate, independent agency with strong authority to be focused solely on food safety.

Invite Steorts to reveal solutions to this problem:

  • Supermarkets must not buy eggs from these corruptible producers and should inform their customers where their eggs are produced and how.
  • Federal, state, and local authorities must go after these bad actors to clean up or be shut down.
  • Accredited 3rd party certification must be put in place immediately.
  • Consumers must demand a safe food supply and must be able to rely on the industry and government to produce safe food.

CREDENTIALS: Hon. Nancy Harvey Steorts served as the Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and was the first Consumer Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. She served in several capacities under five presidential administrations. She is the author of three highly acclaimed books on safety and is the nation’s foremost authority on safety. Her latest book, Your Home Safe Home, reveals what every homeowner needs to know to keep their family members safe at home. Steorts is an international media expert who has been interviewed by national networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and more.

AVAILABILITY: Washington, D.C., nationwide by arrangement, and via telephone

CONTACT: Hon. Nancy Harvey Steorts, (703) 790-5116 (VA); nancysteorts@cox.net; http://www.nationalsafetyexpert.com

COAL VALLEY, Ill.  (Food-News.net)  Valley Meats LLC of Coal Valley, Illinois announced today that it has introduced a new ground pork patty product available to regional casual and quick service dining venues in the central Midwest.

Available in 4, 6 and 8-ounce sizes, the new, frozen ground pork patties are designed to be cooked on a flat top, broiler or grill, providing restaurants with a cost-effective alternative/addition to the traditional ground beef hamburger or related pork products such as breaded pork sandwiches and butterfly pork chops.

Valley Meats, situated near the Mississippi River adjacent to the Quad Cities area in Illinois/Iowa, is located at the epicenter of pork production and processing in the U.S.  The company, which owns and operates a successful meat processing facility in Coal Valley, created the new pork patty product to meet a growing demand for more healthy and economical substitutes for smaller, regional restaurants.

“In light of the pork tradition and the popularity of pork tenderloins in the Iowa, Illinois and Indiana farm belt and the broader market introductions of consumer pork products such as Burger King’s Country Pork Sandwich launched this spring, we feel that this pork patty product has an attractive market niche,” said Jeff Jobe, President of Valley Meats.

Jobe said the patties are made from a quality blend of fresh pork, first ground and formed as a patty and then knitted back together using a specialized tenderizing machine that gives the product a homemade appearance and texture. The product is then frozen using IQF technology. The company suggests a cooking temperature between 160 to 170 degrees (medium/well).  Several recipes are available by contacting Valley Meats at 309-799-7341.

Jobe said the company is now showing the product to restaurants throughout its geographic territory, which ranges from Kansas to Ohio and from Michigan to Oklahoma.

About Valley Meats

Valley Meats LLC and associated brand J & B Meats, www.valleymeatsllc.com, have for the past 35 years provided high quality meat products to regional casual and quick service dining venues in the greater Midwest.  The product line includes fresh and frozen ground beef products with a particular expertise in fresh ground beef patties, steaks and chops. Specialty products include flavored or seasoned beef patties, breaded pork, marinated fajitas strips, beef strips and diced meats.

CINCINNATI  (Food-News.net)  Fresh Express®, a fully owned subsidiary of Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB), announced today the launch of its new convenience-focused value-added salad Kits program.  As consumers increasingly demand new and flavorful salad options, Fresh Express has launched a unique program to meet their needs for complete and delicious salad meals.

“Continuously developing new, fresh and flavorful salad meals for our consumers is at the core of our mission at Fresh Express,” said Brian Kocher, president of Chiquita North America.  “Whether it’s a classic Caesar or our new delicately sweet flavored, limited time only Strawberry Fields Kit, Fresh Express is providing consumers what they want most – fresh, delicious salad meals ready in seconds.”

Now available nationwide, six new Fresh Express Kits join the already popular offerings.  New Kits include House Ranch, House Italian and for consumers seeking to add a healthy source of protein to their salad meal, Chicken Caesar and Chicken Taco Kits.  Moreover, Fresh Express is now enticing consumers with its first specialty salad program with the debut of two new limited time only Kits: Strawberry Fields, available now on store shelves, and beginning in January 2011, Pear Gorgonzola.  Two additional limited time only salad Kits will debut next year as well.

The new salad Kits, along with classic kit options, now showcase easier to read package designs drawing fresh attention to the kits category in the grocery aisle.  Additionally, the Kits program further engages consumers with new instantly redeemable on-pack coupons and in-pack savings in specially chosen Kits.  These new consumer engagement tools, supplemented with national television and radio advertising, draw purchasers to FreshExpress.com, where they can learn more about Kits and earn the opportunity to win prizes such as Fresh Express Kits for a year (one per week – 52 Kits total).  For more information about Fresh Express Kits, please visit www.freshexpress.com/kits.

About Chiquita Brands International, Inc.

Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality fresh and value-added food products – from energy-rich bananas and other fruits to nutritious blends of convenient green salads.  The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita® and Fresh Express® premium brands and other related trademarks.  With annual revenues of $3.5 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 23,000 people and has operations in nearly 80 countries worldwide.  For more information, please visit www.chiquitabrands.com.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa  (Food-News.net)  Food safety law firm Marler Clark today added punitive damages to their lawsuits against Quality Egg/Wright County Egg, which produced the majority of the Salmonellatainted eggs responsible for a nationwide outbreak. The lawsuits were amended after actions by the company’s owners, the DeCoster family, were brought to light during the hearing on the outbreak held by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The amended lawsuits were filed by Marler Clark and Wandro, Baer, and McCarthy.

“At the hearings in Washington it became clear that the DeCoster family has operated its businesses with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of the people who purchased and consumed its products,” said food safety attorney Bill Marler. “It is no longer enough for them to pay for the medical bills they have cost our clients and hundreds of American consumers—the DeCosters will also have to face and pay punitive damages to the people they sickened.”

In August 2010, Wright County Egg and Hillandale Farms together recalled 550,000,000 eggs due to contamination with Salmonella. Thousands of people were sickened across the US by the tainted eggs. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held hearings into the outbreak on Wednesday, September 22nd.

About Marler Clark

Marler Clark has represented victims of every major foodborne illness outbreak since 1993. The firm’s attorneys have litigated high-profile food poisoning cases against such companies as ConAgra, Wendy’s, Chili’s, Chi-Chi’s, and Jack in the Box. Marler Clark currently represents thousands of victims of outbreaks traced to frozen meals, ground beef, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, peanut butter, and spinach, as well as other foods. For further information contact Mary Siceloff at 206-719-4705 or msiceloff@marlerclark.com or visit www.MarlerClark.com and www.marlerblog.com.

Consumer Resource: Downloadable Family Food Safety Guide for Salmonella (PDF)

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill.  (Food-News.net)  Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) released the company’s annual sustainability report, titled “Strong, Supportive, Sustainable,” available at www.saralee.com. The report details the company’s accomplishments toward its ongoing goals in three areas: Wellness and Nutrition, Environment and Social Responsibility.

“This year’s report outlines the progress we have made with our sustainability program in fiscal 2010,” said Audra Karalius, vice president, sustainability, environment and safety, Sara Lee Corp. “Sustainability is a global effort at Sara Lee, which is why we feature the work of our Brazilian and Australian operations, as well as the far-reaching efforts of our sustainable coffee and tea teams.”

Highlights from this year’s report include:

Environment

  • Sara Lee reduced waste sent to landfills over the last five years by 32 percent by maximizing recyclable waste byproducts.
  • The company has reduced its water intake by 22 percent since 2005.
  • Sara Lee’s coffee factory in Joure, the Netherlands, uses spent coffee grounds and biogas as the main energy sources for the factory’s steam boiler. By doing so, the factory saves 40 percent of its natural gas consumption.

Social Responsibility

  • Each year, Sara Lee recognizes the volunteer efforts spearheaded by employees throughout the world with the Promoting People’s Performance (PPP) Awards. In fiscal 2010, the program received 41 applications from 30 different facilities located in 15 countries, representing almost 2,400 participants who accumulated more than 50,000 volunteer hours.
  • Through its partnership with Feeding America, in fiscal 2010, Sara Lee donated 2.7 million servings of protein to the non-profit’s food banks.
  • For calendar year 2010, Sara Lee will purchase approximately 40,000 metric tons of UTZ CERTIFIED® coffee. This represents a 33-percent increase over last year. In addition, 2,000 metric tons of UTZ CERTIFIED® tea has already been purchased, which comprises approximately one-third of Sara Lee’s total European tea volume.

Wellness and Nutrition

  • Sara Lee Soft & Smooth expanded its product line with the addition of Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Plus made with DHA Omega-3. Based on a growing body of scientific evidence, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Omega-3 helps to support healthy brain development. Sara Lee is proud to be the first to nationally distribute breads of this kind in the United States.
  • In 2010, Sara Lee teamed with The Humane Society and committed to replacing more than one million traditional cage-produced eggs each year with the cage-free variety. Transitioning to cage-free eggs underscores the value we place on our supply chain partners to deliver not only high-quality, but also ethically-produced ingredients.
  • Sara Lee’s North American Retail and Bakery segments committed to reducing salt by 20 percent in key product categories over the next five years.

About Sara Lee Corp.

Each and every day, Sara Lee (NYSE: SLE) delights millions of consumers and customers around the world. The company has one of the world’s best-loved and leading portfolios with its innovative and trusted food and beverage brands, including Ball Park, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee and Senseo. Collectively, our brands generate nearly $11 billion in annual net sales. Sara Lee has approximately 33,000 employees in its continuing operations worldwide. Please visit www.saralee.com for the latest news and in-depth information about Sara Lee and its brands.

ORRVILLE, Ohio  (Food-News.net)  Whether it’s a Halloween party or Christmas dinner, the holidays are the perfect time for a gathering with friends and family.  Celebrate this season with new holiday flavors from Dunkin’ Donuts® packaged coffee that you can enjoy at home!  For a limited time only, Dunkin’ Donuts packaged coffee, available wherever you buy groceries, offers special holiday flavors in Vanilla Nut, Pumpkin Spice and Mocha Mint varieties.

Dunkin’ Donuts seasonal coffee (11 oz. for MSRP $7.99-8.99) will be available at your local grocery stores beginning in October through the holiday season.  Love them before they leave!  

To make the most of seasonal get-togethers, check out these holiday party etiquette tips from Dunkin’ Donuts packaged coffee:

  1. If invited to a party, bring a gift for the host. It doesn’t have to be big or expensive.  Think of something both useful and special, like Dunkin’ Donuts seasonal coffee flavors, available for a limited time where you buy groceries.
  2. If hosting a party, don’t forget to ask about your guests’ food preferences and dietary restrictions – and try to make at least one dish for them to enjoy.
  3. Prepare as much of the food and decorations in advance so that you are able to enjoy the party, instead of being stuck in the kitchen.
  4. Be willing to help the host. Instead of asking “How can I help you?” volunteer to do a specific job like brewing the coffee or setting the table.
  5. If gift giving with your relatives is getting too expensive, it’s okay to scale back – as long as you discuss it with them well in advance.  Try drawing names from a hat so everyone only has one person to buy for.
  6. Think beyond flowers for your holiday table—nuts, fruit, branches—even festive ribbon—can make attractive centerpieces and table decorations.
  7. Be very clear to your guests about the dress code.  You don’t want someone showing up in a themed costume while everyone else is in formal wear.
  8. Clean up as you set up so that there is less work for you to do at the end of the party.
  9. A coffee bar is a classy addition to any winter party – try seasonal selections like Dunkin’ Donuts packaged coffee’s special holiday flavors:  Vanilla Nut, Pumpkin Spice, or Mocha Mint.
  10. After you’ve attended a party, remember to always follow up with a thank you: handwritten, via email or a phone call.

About The J.M. Smucker Company

For more than 100 years, The J.M. Smucker Company has been committed to offering consumers quality products that help families create memorable mealtime moments.  Today, Smucker is the leading marketer and manufacturer of fruit spreads, retail packaged coffee, peanut butter, shortening and oils, ice cream toppings, sweetened condensed milk, and health and natural foods beverages in North America. Its family of brands includes Smucker’s®, Folgers®, Dunkin’ Donuts®, Jif®, Crisco®, Pillsbury®, Eagle Brand®, R.W. Knudsen Family®, Hungry Jack®, White Lily® and Martha White® in the United States, along with Robin Hood®, Five Roses®, Carnation®, Europe’s Best® and Bick’s® in Canada. The Company remains rooted in the Basic Beliefs of Quality, People, Ethics, Growth and Independence established by its founder and namesake more than a century ago. The Company has appeared on FORTUNE Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the United States 11 times, ranking number one in 2004. For more information about the Company, visit www.smuckers.com.

The J. M. Smucker Company is the owner of all trademarks, except Pillsbury is a trademark of The Pillsbury Company, LLC, used under license; Carnation is a trademark of Societe des Produits Nestle S.A., used under license; and Dunkin’ Donuts is a registered trademark of DD IP Holder LLC used under license.

DENVER  (Food-News.net)  Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. (“Atkins™”), with its market-leading, weight-management products, has introduced five new additions to its popular Advantage®, Day Break™, and Endulge™ product lines.  In addition to delicious new bars such as Advantage Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Day Break Chocolate Hazelnut, Atkins unveiled two varieties of Endulge cookies for the first time.  With flavors like Double Chocolate Chunk and Chewy Peanut Butter, Endulge cookies offer consumers a better way to enjoy sweet snacks while embracing low-carb eating.  

These new flavors will be available online at www.Atkins.com and wherever Atkins products are sold nationwide by October 31, 2010.

“We constantly listen to our customers so we can bring them the best-tasting bars and snacks, without the added sugars and extra carbs. The concept of a low-carb cookie tested extremely well with Atkins followers and weight-conscious consumers,” said Atkins CEO, Monty Sharma. “Our new products will help people manage their weight without sacrificing great taste, enabling them to enjoy Atkins as a healthy lifestyle.”

Atkins is always on the lookout for what flavors consumers want in their snack products, and this year chocolate and nuts topped the list of popular ingredients.  In fact, almost 60% of shoppers purchase nutritional products that contain chocolate (Source: Murphy Marketing Product Concept Testing, February 2010).

From a nutritional standpoint, the new Atkins products speak to consumer desire for foods that are high in protein and fiber yet low in sugar.  On average, the new Atkins bars boast 7 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber and only 3.6 grams net carbs per serving.  Adding to these benefits, Atkins products are individually wrapped and portable, making them a convenient snack.

New Atkins products include:

Advantage:

  • Coconut Almond Delight Bar (SRP $6.99 for a 5-pack) – A classic treat of almonds and sweetened coconut dipped in chocolate that makes for a chewy, crunchy, sweet treat without a lot of sugar or carbs. The Coconut Almond Delight Bar has 7 grams protein, 2 grams net carbs, and 1 gram sugar.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar (SRP $9.49 for a 5-pack) – This scrumptious bar is made with the creamy taste of cookie dough and sweet chocolate chip morsels all enrobed in milk chocolate. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar has 15 grams protein, 3 grams net carbs, and 1 gram sugar.

Day Break:

  • Chocolate Hazelnut Bar (SRP $6.49 for a 5-pack) – With chunks of real hazelnuts drizzled with milk chocolate and only a few net carbs, your morning snack has never felt this decadent and healthy. The Chocolate Hazelnut Bar has 6 grams protein, 3 grams net carbs, and 1 gram sugar.

Endulge:

  • Chewy Peanut Butter Cookie (SRP $5.99 for a 5-pack) – With only 1 gram of sugar, you can indulge in memories of grandma’s baking without sacrificing one bit of taste! The Chewy Peanut Butter Cookie has 4 grams protein, 5 grams net carbs, and 0 grams sugar.
  • Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie (SRP $5.99 for a 5-pack) – Never has a low-carb cookie tasted so delicious and been so nutritious. With a decadent cocoa flavor and big fudge chunks, you’ll never crave a high carb cookie again! The Double Chocolate Chunk Cookie has 3 grams protein, 5 grams net carbs, and 0 grams sugar.

The following bars, currently available in market, complement Atkins new product introductions:

  • Advantage Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut Crunch Bar ($6.99 for a 5-pack) – A combination of crunchy almonds, toasted coconut, and dark chocolate. The Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut Crunch Bar has 5 grams protein, 4 net carbs, and 2 grams sugar.
  • Advantage Dark Chocolate Decadence Bar ($6.99 for a 5-pack) – An irresistible dark chocolate treat with dark fudge and a caramel drizzle. The Dark Chocolate Decadence Bar has 10 grams protein, 4 net carbs, and 1 gram sugar.

About Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., is a leading player in the $2.4 billion weight control nutrition category, and offers a powerful lifetime approach to weight loss and weight management.  The Atkins Nutritional Approach focuses on a healthy diet with reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and added sugars and encourages the consumption of protein, fiber, fruits, vegetables and good fats. Backed by research and consumer success stories, this approach allows the body to burn more fat and work more efficiently while helping individuals feel less hungry, more satisfied and more energetic.

Atkins Nutritionals, Inc., manufactures and sells a variety of nutrition bars, foods and shakes designed around the nutritional principles of the Atkins Diet™. Atkins’ four product lines: Advantage®, Day Break™, Endulge™ and Cuisine™ appeal to a broad audience of both men and women who want to achieve their weight management goals and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Atkins products are available in more than 30,000 locations throughout the U.S. and internationally. For more information, visit atkins.com.

TORONTO  (Food-News.net)  George Weston Limited (“Weston”) (TSX: WN) announced today that its subsidiary, Maplehurst Bakeries, LLC (“Maplehurst”), has completed the purchase of Keystone Bakery Holdings, LLC (“Keystone”) for total consideration of approximately US $185 million. Keystone is a leading supplier of frozen baked goods to the in-store bakery and foodservice industries. Keystone is comprised of three operating companies: Freed’s Bakery of Manchester, N.H., a leading supplier of frozen, thaw and sell iced cupcakes; Granny’s Kitchens, of Frankfort, NY, a leading supplier of both frozen pre-fried and frozen, thaw and sell donuts; and Heartland Baking of DuQuoin, IL, a specialty supplier of frozen, thaw and sell cookies.

W. Galen Weston, the Chairman and President of Weston, in announcing the transaction stated that “I am very pleased to welcome Keystone Bakeries and the employees of Freed’s, Granny’s and Heartland to the Weston Group. The combination of Keystone Bakeries and Weston’s baking operations in the United States and Canada will allow us to better serve our customers in the North American sweet baked goods sector.”

George Weston Limited is a Canadian public company founded in 1882 and through its operating subsidiaries constitutes one of North America’s largest food processing and distribution groups. Weston has two reportable operating segments: Weston Foods and Loblaw, which is operated by Loblaw Companies Limited. The Weston Foods operating segment is primarily engaged in the baking industry within North America. Loblaw is Canada’s largest food distributor and a leading provider of general merchandise, drugstore and financial products and services.

SAO PAULO  (Food-News.net)  Cargill has signed an agreement to acquire Unilever’s tomato products business in Brazil for approximately R$ 600 million. The acquisition brings to Cargill a number of market-leading consumer brands, including Pomarola and Tarantella brand tomato sauce, Elefante and Extratomato brand tomato paste, and Pomodoro brand tomato pulp. Unilever will continue to market tomato products to the food service segment under these brands. The acquisition includes Unilever’s site in Goiania (Goias State) and tomato manufacturing facility. Cargill and Unilever expect to conclude the transaction by the end of the year. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.

“Acquiring Unilever’s tomato products business exemplifies Cargill’s long-term commitment to growing our business in Brazil by providing a diverse array of products in the food segment,” said Sergio Rial, Cargill senior vice president. “This acquisition furthers our objective of becoming a leading food products company in Brazil, with a focus on shelf-stable consumer staple products. Delivering a wider range of products to retailers enables Cargill to improve the point-of-sale service we provide them. In addition, consumers will benefit from Cargill’s commitment to product innovation and quality, and our strong food safety and environmental stewardship practices.”

“This transaction strengthens Cargill’s global partnership with Unilever,” said Marcelo Martins, director, Cargill Foods Brazil, and president, Cargill Agricola S.A. “In addition to Unilever being a large global customer of Cargill’s, our new plant in Goiania will supply Unilever in Brazil with tomato products, and Unilever will continue manufacturing other products on the site adjacent to Cargill’s operations.”

Cargill Foods Brazil serves retailers, manufacturers, and food service operators in Brazil and exports to a number of regional markets. In retail, Cargill Foods Brazil markets bottled and canned cooking oils under the Liza®, Veleiro®, Purilev® and Mazola® brands. Cargill Foods Brazil also produces blended oils under the Olivia® and Maria® brands, and mayonnaise under the Liza®, Maria®, Mariana® and Gourmet® brands. The company is the exclusive distributor of Gallo and La Espanola brand olive oil, Gallo brand olives, and Delverde brand pasta in Brazil. Cargill Foods Brazil operates production sites in Mairinque (Sao Paulo State), Sao Jose do Rio Pardo (Sao Paulo State) and Itumbiara (Goias State).

Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services.  Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 131,000 people in 66 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit www.cargill.com.

OMAHA, Neb.  (Food-News.net)  ConAgra Foods today released its 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report, providing a detailed look at the company’s efforts to protect the environment, nourish its employees, give back to the communities it serves and drive economic gains for its stakeholders.

Available online at www.conagrafoods.com/corporateresponsibility, ConAgra Foods’ 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report covers specific initiatives underway within each plank of the company’s corporate responsibility platform: “Good for You. Good for the Community. Good for the Planet.” The report provides detail on the progress made since ConAgra Foods issued is last report in 2009, and covers areas in which the company has opportunity for improvement in the future.

“ConAgra Foods’ 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report provides our stakeholders with a transparent look at what we are doing to be a responsible corporate citizen,” said Chris Kircher, vice president, Corporate Affairs and president, ConAgra Foods Foundation. “Through our commitment to doing the right thing, we believe we’re giving stakeholders more reasons to feel good about the food they love.”

Highlights from ConAgra Foods 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report include:

  • Launch of comprehensive sustainability goals
  • Announcement of aggressive sodium reduction goal across its consumer foods portfolio
  • Construction of a LEED-certified, state-of-the-art sweet potato processing facility
  • Multi-million dollar donations from the company’s foundation to Feeding America and Share Our Strength’s child hunger efforts

In preparing the 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report, ConAgra Foods followed the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and the new Food Sector supplement. ConAgra Foods has self-declared a “B” application level for its 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report. More information on the GRI initiative is available at www.globalreporting.org.

All data in the report reflects ConAgra Foods’ fiscal year 2010, which ended May 30, 2010. The report covers all company-owned facilities, including some joint ventures. ConAgra Foods acquired Elan Nutrition, Inc. in the fourth quarter of fiscal year. Data for this organization was not included in this year’s report. The company plans to publish subsequent updates each year in September, following the publication of the company’s Annual Report to Stockholders.

ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America’s leading food companies, with brands in 97 percent of America’s households. Consumers find Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt’s, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip, Slim Jim, Snack Pack and many other ConAgra Foods brands in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise and club stores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong business-to-business presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information, please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.

MORTON GROVE, Ill.  (Food-News.net)  Lifeway Foods (Nasdaq: LWAY), the leading U.S. supplier of healthy Kefir beverages, today announced the acquisition of assets of New Jersey-based Fruit Juice, Inc., creator of the first organic fruit and vegetable juice beverages designed for children.  The transaction builds on Lifeway’s successful entry into the children’s market with its ProBugs™ line of children’s organic kefir, opens potential new distribution channels for existing Lifeway products, and marks the first step in a strategic diversification into non-dairy-based health beverages.

First Juice offers four juice flavors that are made from organic produce, lower in sugar than comparable products, and sold through more than 300 Babies R Us and Toys R Us stores as well as outlets including Whole Foods Market, Ralphs, Amazon.com and Diapers.com. The company’s apple+carrot, banana+carrot, blueberry+purple carrot and peach+purple carrot juices are available in 8 oz. reusable and recyclable, spill-proof, BPA-free containers which feature a patented no-spill sippy-top for on-the-go use as well as in 32 oz. bottles for home use and refills.

First Juice recorded over $1.7 million in sales in 2009 after just two years in business, reflecting parents’ rising interest in providing their children with natural foods.

“The market for healthy children’s beverages and other foods that promote healthy children’s eating habits is clearly growing. We’ve seen it with our ProBugs Kefir products, as well as in the calls to improve children’s nutrition everywhere from the media to the White House,” said Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods. “Adding First Juice to our product portfolio strengthens our offerings in this increasingly important market space, provides cross-marketing and channel expansion opportunities, and gives us a strong new platform for building revenues.”

Lifeway’s acquisition of First Juice assets is expected to close October 4, 2010. The purchase price for the assets of the company was $220,000.  Julie Smolyansky had previously served as a board member of First Juice, Inc. since 2006.

The transaction is Lifeway’s third acquisition in four years. The company purchased Helios Nutrition Limited in 2006 and Fresh Made Dairy in 2009, absorbing its top two competitors in the kefir market while also adding organic kefir to its product lineup.  

About Lifeway Foods

Lifeway Foods, Inc. (LWAY), recently named one of Fortune Small Business’ Fastest Growing Companies for the fourth consecutive year, is America’s leading supplier of the cultured dairy product known as Kefir and Organic Kefir. Lifeway Kefir is a dairy beverage that contains 10 exclusive live and active probiotic cultures. While most regular yogurt contains only two or three of these “friendly” cultures, Lifeway Kefir products offer even more nutritional benefits. Lifeway produces 12 different flavors of its drinkable Kefir and Organic Kefir beverage, and recently introduced a series of innovative new products such as a children’s line of Organic Kefir called ProBugs™ with a no-spill pouch and kid-friendly flavors like Orange Creamy Crawler, Goo Berry Pie, Strawnana Split, and Sublime Slime Lime. In addition to its line of Kefir products, the company produces a variety of probiotic cheese products. Lifeway also sells frozen kefir and kefir smoothies through its Starfruit™ retail stores.

This news release contains forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned that actual results may differ materially from such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, competitive pressures and other important factors detailed in the Company’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contact: Lifeway Foods, Inc., 1-877-281-3874, info@lifeway.net.

PORTO, Portugal  (Food-News.net)  Leading experts in the field of food additive safety and risk communication gathered at a symposium hosted today by the Nutrition Research Foundation at the 2nd World Congress of Public Health Nutrition to discuss the safety of low-calorie sweeteners and reaffirm the positive role they can play in the diet. A key focus of the discussion was the challenge that healthcare professionals face in helping consumers to understand that low-calorie sweeteners are safe, approved ingredients that can be used to sweeten a wide variety of food and drink products, without contributing to the total caloric value.

Though low-calorie sweeteners are among the most extensively studied of all food additives, confusion still remains around their safety and their benefits. “For years we have been bombarded with information on low-calorie sweeteners through the media and online – much of it somewhat misleading and misinformed. It is difficult for healthcare professionals to reassure consumers that they are safe, and help them understand that in some cases, swapping a sugary food or drink for one sweetened by low-calorie sweeteners could be beneficial,” said Nutrition Research Foundation President, Professor Lluis Serra-Majem.

“The benefits of low-calorie sweeteners are undisputed amongst the credible scientific community, and certain sectors of the population that consume them can enjoy their benefits regularly – such as people with diabetes. The Nutrition Research Foundation believes that this message must now filter through to the wider population so that they can make informed choices about whether they include low-calorie sweeteners in their diets too,” added Professor Serra-Majem.

This sentiment was echoed in the presentations at the symposium by Professor Andrew Renwick, an expert on the safety assessment of low-calorie sweeteners, Dr Adam Drewnowski, a leader in innovative research approaches for the prevention and treatment of obesity and Professor Ragnar Löfstedt, a leading commentator on risk communications and the role of the media in food safety scares.

Dr Drewnowski highlighted the important role low-calorie sweeteners can play in managing weight and diabetes stating that: “Based on a review of the current epidemiologic and clinical evidence, low calorie sweeteners remain a powerful tool for the management of body weight, obesity and diabetes and it is important that consumers are made aware of this.”

The discussion at the symposium also highlighted the importance of media in the communications process. “Given the massive amount of misinformation on low-calorie sweeteners, which is continuously being recycled, it is important that responsible media sources provide consumers with information about the conclusions of safety assessments that are undertaken by independent regulatory authorities such as the WHO/FAO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives and the European Food Safety Authority,” explained Professor Renwick in his presentation.

Professor Löfstedt believes that the media plays a key role in helping consumers understand which scientific sources are credible, “One way to start this process would be to have a media communication checklist that could help journalists better differentiate between risk, uncertainty, science and pure lobbying.”

Löfstedt added that he sees an important communications role for regulators themselves, “There needs to be a better, wider understanding of the extensive work regulators do in the area of food safety. Regulators need to become better risk communicators and help to make their world more accessible to consumers.”

Professor Carlo La Vecchia and Professor Tur-Mari, moderators of the symposium, concluded the event by stating that healthcare professionals cannot overcome this challenge on their own: “Despite a large amount of evidence of absence of health risk of low calorie sweeteners, the public is subject to repeated alarms. We’d like to see regulatory authorities and media professionals, as trusted advisors to consumers, continuing to work together as a combined force to separate low-calorie sweetener fact from fiction in a concerted effort to finally banish misinformation.”

In the European Union, nine low-calorie sweeteners are approved for use in foodstuffs. These are acesulfame-K (E950), aspartame (E951), aspartame-acesulfame salt (E962), cyclamate (E952), neohesperidine DC (E959), saccharin (E954), sucralose (E955), thaumatin (E957) and neotame (E961).

About the Nutrition Research Foundation:

The Nutrition Research Foundation (FIN) is a private independent non-profit Foundation established in 1997 in Barcelona, whose mission is to promote, disseminate and develop research aimed at increasing knowledge in the field of food, nutrition and dietetics, with the objective of improving the health of the general population. It has a local scope both in Catalonia and the Spanish and international level and has its headquarters in the Barcelona Science Park, University of Barcelona, with delegations in Bilbao, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Madrid, Spain.

FIN carries out research projects in the field of nutritional epidemiology in healthy populations, nutrition related diseases, and the analysis of dietary and nutritional factors involved in the causality of the most prevalent diseases, with special reference to the Mediterranean Diet. Its activities also include projects in the areas of developing food composition databases, nutritional policies and the development of food based dietary guidelines.

FIN is presided by Prof. Lluis Serra-Majem, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canarias (ULPGC) and Director of the Community Nutrition Research Group of the University of Barcelona Science Park. Its team comprises a multidisciplinary staff of medical doctors, nutritionists, dietitians and pharmacists.

About the II World Congress of Public Health Nutrition:

The II World Congress of Public Health Nutrition and I Latin American Congress of Community Nutrition is being held in Porto, Portugal, September 23-25, 2010. The Congress is the second of its kind, the first was held in Barcelona in 2006 and was attended by more than 1500 public health nutrition related professionals and researchers.

The aim of the II World Congress of Public Health Nutrition is for it to be the forum for the presentation and discussion of the most recent advances in human nutrition and its intimate relationships to health and wellbeing of the world populations. The scientific programme has been prepared by the leading world specialists in Public Health Nutrition. Each session at the Congress has been designed to capture the variety of viewpoints in food and nutrition from both worldwide and local perspectives. For more information, please visit: http://nutrition2010.com.pt.

About the symposium speakers:

Professor Andrew Renwick OBE, PhD, DSc, Emeritus Professor, School of Medicine, University of Southampton (Southampton, UK)

Professor Renwick’s work on species differences and human variability in metabolism and kinetics in relation to the safety factors used in risk assessment led to WHO-IPCS initiatives to develop chemical-specific adjustment factors. In 2002 he received the George H. Scott Memorial Award from the Toxicology Forum. He retired from the University of Southampton in September 2004.

He has published over 160 original research papers and 35 book chapters and other contributions on the metabolic fate of medicines and other foreign chemicals, on what happens to chemicals in the body, on food chemical safety and on low-calorie sweeteners. He has served as a member of a number of UK Government Advisory Committees, and he was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the New Years Honours List in 2000. He was a member of the EFSA Contaminants Panel for 2 years and has attended JECFA as a WHO temporary advisor for the past 9 years.

Professor Renwick’s symposium presentation topic: The safety of low-calorie sweeteners.

Dr Adam Drewnowski, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology and Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington (Seattle, US)

Dr Adam Drewnowski is the Director of the Nutritional Science Program and the Director of the Centers for Public Health Nutrition and for Obesity Research. He is a joint member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Dr Drewnowski’s research deals with taste, satiation, and satiety and their impact on food choice, diets and health. He has published on the role of added sugars and fats in the global obesity epidemic. He is the creator of the Nutrient Rich Foods Index, a formal system to rank foods based on their nutritional value and the Affordable Nutrition Index, which helps to identify healthy and affordable foods. The Seattle Obesity Study (S.O.S.), led by Dr Drewnowski, examines how disparities in access to healthy, affordable foods affect obesity, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. Dr Drewnowski was awarded the French 2005 Esprit Alimentaire Prize and is a member of the Institute of Medicine Standing Committee to Prevent Childhood Obesity.

Dr Drewnowski’s symposium presentation topic: Low-calorie sweeteners for weight control and diabetes management.

Professor Ragnar E. Löfstedt, Professor of Risk Management and the Director of King’s Centre of Risk Management, King’s College (London, UK)

Ragnar Löfstedt teaches and conducts research on risk communication and management.

He has undertaken research in areas such as renewable energy policy, food safety issues, pharmaceutical recalls, telecommunications, biosafety, and the siting of building of incinerators, nuclear waste installations and railways.

Professor Löfstedt is the author/editor of ten books and over 90 peer reviewed articles, is the editor-in-chief for Journal of Risk Research, editor of the Earthscan publications’ Risk, Society and Policy book series, and is on several editorial boards including the Journal of Health Communication, International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, and Risk Management. He is a member of EFSA’s Advisory Group on Risk Communication. In 2000 he received the Chauncey Starr award for exceptional contributions in the field of risk analysis for someone under the age of 40 from the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA), and in 2005 he was elected fellow of SRA. In 2006 he was presented with the Outstanding Service Award from SRA.

Professor Löfstedt’s symposium presentation topic: Risk communication and the role of media in generating food safety alarm

Dr Carlo LaVecchia, Chief of Epidemiology, Mario Negri Institute (Milan, Italy)

Dr LaVecchia received his medical degree from the University of Milan and a master of science degree in clinical epidemiology from Oxford University, UK. He is recognized worldwide as a leading authority in cancer etiology and epidemiology (and public health in general) with over 1,470 peer reviewed papers published. Dr LaVecchia serves as an editor for numerous clinical and epidemiologic journals.

Dr LaVecchia is also an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt Medical Center and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and of Epidemiology at the University of Lausanne, CH as well as on the faculty of Medicine at the University of Milan. He is a temporary advisor at the International Agency for Research on Cancer IARC/WHO and at the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Professor Josep Antoni Tur Mari, Professor of Physiology, University of the Balearic Islands (Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

Professor of Physiology and General Secretary of the Health Sciences and Biology Department and Director of Community Nutrition and Oxidative Stress Research Group, University of the Balearic Islands, Spain. Doctor of Pharmacy by Universitat de Barcelona and Founder of the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Food Sciences and Member of the Royal Catalan Academy of Pharmacy. Professor Tur Mari is a Founder and Member of the Board Directors of the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition and the NGO Nutrition without Borders.

ABBOTT PARK, Ill.  (Food-News.net)  To help parents identify whether or not their Similac® powder infant formula is involved in the recently announced recall, Abbott has posted the list of recalled lot numbers at the following sites, in addition to Similac.com/recall:  

  • Abbott.com
  • Abbottnutrition.com
  • Similac.com

This recall is limited to the U.S., Puerto Rico, Guam and some countries in the Caribbean.

Affected Products

  • All Similac powder formula in rectangular plastic tubs is being recalled.
  • For Similac powder formula in cans or other packaging, click here to obtain a list of all recalled lot numbers.

Unaffected Products

  • All Similac liquid formulas are NOT part of the recall.
  • Powder and liquid specialty formulas, such as Similac Expert Care™ Alimentum®, Elecare®, Similac Expert Care™ Neosure®, Similac® Human Milk Fortifier, and metabolic formulas (for inherited disorders) are NOT part of the recall.

Lot numbers can be identified as indicated in the image:

If consumers have formula being recalled, they should discontinue use of the product immediately and visit a local store to purchase a Similac liquid product or an alternative infant formula to feed their child.

Abbott is aware of a significant amount of call volume and website traffic, resulting in longer wait times.  We are increasing our call center resources (1-800-986-8850) and expanding the bandwidth of our websites, www.abbott.com, www.abbottnutrition.com and www.similac.com/recall, to accommodate more inquiries.

Product Return/Refund Information

Customers can return any affected product to their place of purchase.  Other options include calling the consumer hotline (1-800-986-8850) or visiting www.similac.com/recall and following the instructions to provide basic identifier information such as name, address and how many products are in their possession.  Once the information is completed and submitted online, consumers will receive a FedEx box with a return label.  Once the product is received, consumers will receive reimbursement by mail.

About Abbott

Abbott is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics.  The company employs nearly 90,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.  

Abbott’s news releases and other information are available on the company’s website at www.abbott.com.

MONTVALE, N.J.  (Food-News.net)  Eight O’Clock Coffee is the #1 retail whole bean coffee brand in the U.S., and is also one of the oldest, most proven coffee brands – since 1859. This September, after a century and a half of coffee experience, several changes of ownership and growth that has brought it to supermarkets across the U.S., Eight O’Clock will give its same great tasting coffee a new look to bring it firmly into the 21st century. The new packaging will be making its way onto retail shelves as early as next week on an item by item basis.

“We may be 151 years old, but we don’t have to look it,” says Alisa Jacoby, Senior Brand Manager at Eight O’Clock Coffee. “The new packaging unifies our brand family in a contemporary, more appetite appealing fashion while maintaining key equities appreciated by our current consumers.” Jacoby explains that the brand promise – sharing a high-quality coffee tradition – will remain the same, and there will be no change to the great-tasting product inside the bags.

  • The brand’s logo has been refreshed while keeping its classic feel, making it easy for consumers to identify on shelf.
  • The bags will retain their familiar color coding for the brand’s many varieties: red for Original, brown for 100% Colombian, violet for Dark Italian Roast, black for Bokar, and so on… but the color will no longer dominate the entire bag. Now, all bags in the Eight O’Clock Coffee family will have a subtly textured light background, with color coding contained in a box on the front of the bag around the variety name as well as on the sides of the bag.
  • Photography and color callouts on packages will differentiate between ground and whole bean varieties.

The new look was developed with extensive consumer input, including last year’s Eight  O’Clock Coffee Packaging Makeover Sweepstakes, which was timed to coincide with the brand’s 150th Anniversary. During that online promotion, fans of Eight O’Clock Coffee voted for their choice of two new bag designs. Fittingly, the brand will once again offer an on-line application to provide a fun way to reinforce its new look while offering free coffee giveaways: The Eight O’Clock Coffee Match Game, which debuts on the brand’s Facebook page today: www.facebook.com/EightOClockCoffee.

The great taste of Eight O’Clock Coffee has been delighting coffee lovers for over 150 years. Best known for their #1-selling whole bean coffee and Top-Rated 100% Colombian coffee, Eight O’Clock offers a full line of gourmet coffee varieties in ground and whole bean forms. Eight O’Clock Coffee is roasted and packaged in Landover, Maryland and available at most U.S. retailers where groceries are sold. Eight O’Clock is part of the Tata Global Beverages family of brands. For more information about Eight O’Clock Coffee, visit www.EightOClock.com, follow @8oclockcoffee on Twitter and/or become a fan at www.facebook.com/EightOClockCoffee.

KYIV, Ukraine  (Food-News.net)  Ukraine, one of the world’s major wheat producers, is set to help United Nations fight hunger in several regions of the world. This was one of the key messages the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych conveyed to the United Nations during his visit to the UN General Assembly.

In his speeches and meetings with the world’s leaders Yanukovych expressed his certitude that Ukraine will soon play a much more important role in fighting world food crisis because of the country’s large agricultural potential. Notably, last year Ukraine became the donor of the UN World Food Programme for the first time.

According to Sergiy Liovochkin, the Ukrainian President’s Chief of Staff, Ukraine intends to become one of the world’s top five agricultural producers in the nearest future. Currently, Ukraine ranks 8th among the world’s top wheat producers, according to UN Food&Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Grain is also among Ukraine’s main exports to many countries worldwide. According to Ukraine’s Agripolicy officials, this year’s harvest is estimated to be at 40 mln tons, which will provide for 14 to 15 mln tons for export, as an average annual consumption of grain inside the country is around 26 mln tons. On top of that, Ukraine now is the world’s main exporter of sunflower oil with 2,5 mln tons of export done last year and holds leading positions in other agricultural products.

Notably, hunger stands among the key humanity problems that the UN Millennium Development Goals intend to eradicate. Reporting on the other Millennium Development Goals’ implementation in Ukraine at the UN General Assembly the Ukrainian President noted that his administration was able to improve its efforts in the area of social protection (increased minimum wage and pension rates), guarantee access to and high quality of education, decrease child mortality and improve maternal health. Resolving these and other issues, including gender equality and environmental safety, will remain a top priority for the current administration, he said.

During his two-day trip to New York, the Ukrainian Head of the State has also met with several world’s leaders, namely with the President of Austria Heinz Fischer, President of Israel Shimon Peres, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Minh Triet.

HOCKESSIN, Del.  (Food-News.net)  New data shows children under the age of 12 have been eating more fruits and vegetables since 2004.   Children under the age of 6 increased their fruit consumption by 11 percent from 2004 through 2009, while consumption for ages 6-12 increased by 7 percent. The vegetable trend was slightly less positive, but still an improvement, with children under the age of six consuming 3 percent more vegetables over the last 5 years and 6-12 year-olds consuming 2 percent more. Teen consumption of fruit and vegetables is on the decline, however, with a 6 percent decrease in vegetable consumption and a 2 percent decrease in fruit consumption since 2004.

Additional data from this study regarding the fruit and vegetable consumption of adults was generally consistent with findings the CDC study published in the September 10 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly which indicated that last year’s adult fruit consumption was down slightly and that vegetable consumption was about the same as reported in 2000.

“As president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH), I’m pleased to see that at least our younger children are consuming more fruits and vegetables,” said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D. “However, the decrease in fruit and vegetable consumption as children move into their teen years is troublesome. Is it because fruits and vegetables aren’t available at school, or because it isn’t ‘cool’ to eat them anymore, thanks to extensive marketing of less nutritious foods, or a combination of these factors and others?  Regardless, we still have a long way to go to get consumption up to recommended levels. We applaud the efforts of parents and policy makers that have helped increase consumption among younger children; we simply encourage them to do more of it.”

For ideas on how do more, parents can take America’s More Matters Pledge and strive to provide healthy fruits and vegetables to their children at home, while on the go, and at school.

This new data was obtained from research commissioned by PBH and conducted by NPD Foodworld® Group Research.  Details about findings and methodology are found here.

LANSING, Ill.  (Food-News.net)  Just 30 days after the country’s largest egg recall, demand for pasteurized shell eggs remains sky-high.  To meet this demand, National Pasteurized Eggs is launching a new pack for the $500 billion convenience store marketplace.

Marketed under the Safest Choice label, the twin pack features six salmonella-free shell eggs packaged specifically for convenience stores.  Shelf life for these best-selling eggs is more than double than that of non-pasteurized eggs, making it a strong choice for convenience stores.  In a blind taste test by the Chicago Tribune, Safest Choice Pasteurized Shell Eggs were preferred two out of three times, over farm-fresh eggs.

Consumer demand for safe eggs has driven retail sales of pasteurized shell eggs to record highs in the month since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended their use to prevent illness from egg-related Salmonella Enteritidis.

“Long available as the safe choice for food service providers, pasteurized shell eggs are fast becoming the first choice for consumers as they provide protection from Salmonella without compromising on taste or forcing the consumer to cook their eggs hard,” said Jay Berglind, vice president of business development, National Pasteurized Eggs.  “The extended shelf life combined with consumer demand will make them a profit center for convenience stores.”

Safest Choice eggs are “slow-pasteurized” in all-natural warm water baths while still in their shells to destroy Salmonella, but protect the farm fresh taste of the egg.  This innovative technology is recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to inactivate Salmonella and the Avian Influenza Virus.  NPE offers both cage-free and traditional eggs produced with its patented “Safest Choice” technology, and is the world’s largest producer of pasteurized shell eggs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), avoidance of Salmonella is crucial for at-risk populations such as seniors, children under 10, pregnant women, diabetics and other people with compromised immune systems. Use of pasteurized shell eggs makes sure the eggs served are safe, and also protects the kitchen from dangerous cross contamination.

Safest Choice eggs are delivered fresh to all 50 states. For more information or to find a retailer, visit www.safeeggs.com.

SANTA MONICA, Calif  (Food-News.net)  Using sand as a cow bed instead of straw and remodeling their cow houses for improved comfort has increased milk production, says Farmer Garrick Hall of Hall Jersey’s in Cove, Utah in this month’s edition of Food Nutrition & Science. The September issue features an interview with Hall as part of its monthly article on how farming efforts directly relate to our food supply.

“Every issue of Food Nutrition & Science examines the food process from the farm-to-our-tables and everything that happens in between,” said Phil Lempert, founder of Food Nutrition & Science and CEO of The Lempert Report and SupermarketGuru.com. “It’s fascinating that a cow or any animal with improved comforts can increase profitability for a farmer and improve the quality of our food supply. This dialog is important to help us better understand the food chain and keep it thriving and safe.”

With more than 26,000 subscribers that are mostly retailers, Food Nutrition & Science is a free monthly newsletter with articles relating to retailers, manufacturers, farmers, nutritionists, educators, government agencies and more. It’s also a newsletter that services members of the National Grocer Association and offers breaking food news and articles on food safety and industry-wide green initiatives.

In addition to the farming article about Hall, this month’s publication also features a study on consumer attitudes toward genetically modified foods. According to a study from Wageningen University in The Netherlands and published in Food Quality and Preference last month, consumer attitudes toward genetically modified products could be more favorable when driven by personally relevant benefits.  

“The study found that acceptance of genetically modified food as a process increased with perceived personal benefits – in this case a reduction of allergic reactions to apples,” said Lempert. “With the increase in food allergies, perhaps people will be more open to genetically modified foods and this will certainly impact farmers, scientists, retailers and consumers.”

Other articles this month include research results of a study examining the purchasing behaviors of college students when food items were labeled indicating the products healthfulness; results from an Independent Grocers Survey detailing net profit margins; and an article on how to deal with picky eaters from Nutritionist Beth Stark.

According to Lempert, Food Nutrition & Science is committed to covering topics and trends that interest anyone with a stake in the food industry including supermarket retailers, food manufacturers and consumers.

The newsletter also features a monthly conversation with a farmer and guest columns written by dietitians, in-store nutritionists and other industry experts. Articles often include interviews with popular chefs and feature manufacturing and packaging processes on a variety of products including fruits, vegetables and general merchandise.  

For more information or to subscribe to Food Nutrition & Science, please visit www.FoodNutritionScience.com.

About Food Nutrition & Science

With more than 26,000 readers, Food Nutrition & Science from The Lempert Report is the only monthly newsletter that provides readers’ analysis and offers discussions on all issues relating to the food industry. Founded by food industry analyst and CEO of The Lempert Report and SupermarketGuru.com Phil Lempert, Food Nutrition & Science was created so that all industry players could communicate about the safest, most efficient and healthiest way to get food to our plates. For more information or to subscribe to Food Nutrition & Science, please visit www.FoodNutritionScience.com.

NEW YORK  (Food-News.net)  Harry & David, the brand that Delivers Happiness, was featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”: Ultimate Wildest Dreams Episode as the exclusive partner with the Centerville Pie Company to produce and distribute a Signature Chicken Pie. The partnership represents Harry & David’s unparalleled brand esteem as well as their commitment to public service, as demonstrated by their support of a local small business and its extended charitable affiliation, with a percentage of each purchase going to Cape Abilities, a non-profit that supports people with disabilities on Cape Cod.

On September 17th, Laurie Bowen and Kristin Broadley, founders of Centerville Pie Company, appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show®” where it was announced that Harry & David would work with them to produce pies by the thousands. Not only will Harry & David provide proceeds from pie sales to Laurie and Kristin, but they are more than matching the donations to Cape Abilities previously contributed by the Centerville Pie Company.

“We are both proud and thrilled to help Laurie and Kristin’s dream come true,” commented Gail Simon, VP Brand Marketing and Communications.

The Harry & David story is not unlike that of the Centerville Pie Company, having begun with two brothers and a dream of bringing their beloved Royal Riviera® Pears from the orchards of the Rogue Valley to New York City.

Laurie and Kristin recently visited the Harry & David Orchards and Headquarters in Medford, Oregon as part of the hands-on recipe testing and tasting to ensure that the pies will be authentic and match the flavor profiles that Harry & David and the Centerville Pie Company hold as high standards. The Centerville Chicken Pies are a delectable, satisfying addition to Harry & David unlike any other.

“I’ve always loved Harry & David. The food, the quality, the story. It’s a dream come true for us. We’re so thankful,” says Laurie Bowen.

Centerville Chicken Pies are currently available for order at www.harryanddavid.com or by calling (866) 233-7000. Beginning in October, pies will be featured in Harry and David Catalogs and available for purchase in stores nationwide. Pies can be purchased individually for $20 each or in pairs for $40, plus an additional delivery charge to ensure it arrives in perfect condition, packed in dry ice and shipped two day express. Customers can also go Deluxe with the Harry & David 3-Month, 6-Month or 12-Month Heritage Pie Club, which begins with the Centerville Chicken Pie featured in November.

About Centerville Pie Company and Cape Abilities

Centerville Pie Company makes hand-made pies from fresh ingredients. Founded in 2009 in Centerville, Massachusetts on Cape Cod by Laurie Bowen and Kristin Broadley, their pie shop sells over 20 varieties of savory and dessert pies. www.CentervillePies.com

Centerville Pie Company proudly supports Cape Abilities, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization that provides jobs, homes, transportation and other services for over 300 people with intellectual disabilities, autism, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities across Cape Cod, Massachusetts. www.CapeAbilities.org

About Harry & David

With a 75-year reputation for genuine farm-to-table freshness and unsurpassed artisanal quality, Harry & David is legendary for exclusive gifts such as the Fruit-of-the-Month Club® collection, featuring top-quality fruit, pampered on the tree, picked at its peak; Royal Riviera®, pears, prized for their lush juiciness, melting texture and exquisite flavor; Oregold® Peaches, the biggest, juiciest, sweetest-tasting peaches you’re likely to taste; and Moose Munch® gourmet popcorn confection made exclusively in our own confectionery in flavors for everyone – some with nuts, some sweet, and some savory. Gifts from Harry & David, and its brands Cushman’s and Wolferman’s, are designed for festive occasions, entertaining and self enjoyment throughout the year. Through its stores, catalogs and website, Harry & David offers an affordable “best-of-class” experience as part of everyday life. Happiness Delivered! Harry & David is a dba of Harry and David. www.harryanddavid.com

MINNEAPOLIS  (Food-News.net)  General Mills (NYSE: GIS) said today that results for the first quarter of fiscal 2011 met the company’s expectations, despite difficult comparisons to strong growth recorded in the previous year’s first quarter. This performance has the company on track to achieve its sales and earnings growth targets for the full 2011 fiscal year.

Fiscal 2011 First Quarter Financial Summary

  • Net sales grew 1 percent to $3.53 billion.
  • Segment operating profit totaled $749 million, down 2 percent from very strong results a year earlier.
  • Diluted earnings per share (EPS) grew 13 percent to 70 cents per share.
  • Adjusted diluted EPS, which excludes certain items affecting comparability, totaled 64 cents per share, matching results in last year’s first quarter.

Net sales for the 13 weeks ended Aug. 29, 2010, grew 1 percent to $3.53 billion. Pound volume contributed 2 points of net sales growth, while foreign currency translation reduced net sales growth by 1 point. Cost of goods sold for the quarter included a $72 million increase in mark-to-market valuation of certain commodity positions (discussed below in the section titled Corporate Items). Excluding mark-to-market valuation effects, gross margin was 70 basis points below strong prior-year levels. Advertising and media expense grew 8 percent in the quarter. Segment operating profit totaled $749 million, down 2 percent from last year’s results, which were up 22 percent. First-quarter net earnings totaled $472 million including mark-to-market effects, and diluted earnings per share totaled $0.70, up 13 percent from $0.62 per share a year ago. Excluding mark-to-market effects in both years, earnings per share would total $0.64 for the first quarter of 2011, matching year-ago results that grew 33 percent.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Powell said, “We’re pleased to see continued growth in volume and net sales across our worldwide businesses. Consumer demand for our established brands remains strong, and new products are making good contributions to our sales results. This top line resilience, coupled with our continuing focus on holistic margin management (HMM), has us off to a solid start in 2011.”

U.S. Retail Segment Results

First-quarter net sales for General Mills’ U.S. Retail segment increased 2 percent to $2.45 billion, reflecting good growth on top of year-ago sales that rose 6 percent. Pound volume contributed 1 point of the net sales increase, and price and mix contributed another point of growth. Segment operating profit of $615 million was 3 percent below last year’s strong result, reflecting increased input costs and a 6 percent increase in advertising expense.

Net sales for Big G cereals grew 4 percent, building on year-ago sales that were up 9 percent. This reflected growth from established brands such as Multigrain Cheerios, Fiber One and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, along with contributions from new Chocolate Cheerios and Wheaties Fuel. Net sales for the Snacks division grew 5 percent including introductory shipments of new grain snack bars and fruit snack varieties. Yoplait net sales grew 4 percent including good contributions from Yoplait Light along with new Yoplait Greek yogurt varieties, and introductory shipments of Yoplait Splitz layered yogurts and Yoplait Original four-packs. Meals division net sales grew 3 percent in the quarter, led by gains on Green Giant frozen vegetables, Old El Paso Mexican foods, and new Wanchai Ferry and Macaroni Grill frozen entrees. Pillsbury division net sales declined 3 percent, reflecting a difficult comparison to double-digit sales growth a year earlier. Totino’s pizza and hot snacks recorded good sales performance, as did several new items including the Sweet Moments line of refrigerated ready-to-eat desserts. Baking Products net sales were 6 percent below prior-year levels, but Betty Crocker cake and frostings posted gains, and new items including gluten-free Bisquick and Supreme cake mix varieties recorded good initial sales results. Net sales for the company’s Small Planet Foods organic and natural products increased 15 percent, reflecting growth from Cascadian Farm cereals and granola bars, along with double-digit sales increases for Larabar fruit and nut energy bars.

International Segment Results

First-quarter net sales for General Mills’ consolidated international businesses grew slightly to $660 million. Pound volume contributed 4 points of net sales growth, while foreign exchange reduced net sales growth by 4 points. On a constant-currency basis, International segment net sales grew 4 percent overall, led by gains of 6 percent in Europe and 7 percent in the company’s Asia / Pacific region (see note 7 to the consolidated financial statements below for discussion of this non-GAAP measure). Advertising and media expense increased 17 percent in the quarter. Including this increased brand-building investment, International segment operating profit totaled $62 million, 1 percent below prior-year results.

Bakeries and Foodservice Segment Results

First quarter net sales for the Bakeries and Foodservice segment grew slightly to $427 million. Despite a weak U.S. foodservice industry environment, pound volume grew 3 percent in the quarter including the impact of a divested product line, which reduced net sales growth by 2 points. Price and mix reduced net sales growth by 3 points in the quarter. Segment operating profit grew 11 percent to $72 million.

Joint Venture Summary

After-tax earnings from joint ventures grew 9 percent to $26 million in the first quarter of 2011. Net sales for Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) increased 1 percent in the quarter, with volume contributing 2 points of net sales growth, price and mix adding 1 point of growth, and negative foreign exchange effects reducing net sales growth by 2 points. Net sales for Haagen Dazs Japan declined 1 percent, as lower volumes and prices were largely offset by favorable foreign exchange.

Corporate Items

Corporate unallocated items totaled $12 million of income in the first quarter compared to $70 million of expense in the period a year ago. This primarily reflects differences in the mark-to-market valuation of certain commodity positions, which increased $72 million in the first quarter of 2011 compared to a net reduction of $15 million in the first quarter last year. Excluding mark-to-market effects, unallocated corporate items totaled $60 million of expense in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 compared to $55 million of expense in the period a year ago. Net interest expense of $90 million was 2 percent below year-ago levels, reflecting a lower average debt level.

Cash Flow Items

Cash provided by operating activities totaled $178 million in the quarter, below year-ago levels due to increased use of working capital in the period. Capital investments totaled $133 million in the first quarter of 2011. Dividends paid increased to $184 million, reflecting the increase in the company’s dividend rate year over year. During the first quarter, General Mills repurchased 21 million shares of common stock for a total of $788 million. Average diluted shares outstanding for the first quarter were essentially unchanged from the year-ago level.

Outlook

As the second fiscal quarter begins, General Mills said it anticipates near-term financial results will continue tracking in line with year-ago levels, with accelerating sales and earnings growth expected as the year progresses. Ken Powell said, “The global operating environment is still quite challenging, but our food businesses are resilient and continue to demonstrate high-quality growth.” The company reaffirmed its full-year fiscal 2011 EPS guidance of $2.46 to $2.48 per share, excluding any mark-to-market effects. This would represent growth of 7 to 8 percent from adjusted earnings per share of $2.30 in fiscal 2010.

General Mills will hold a briefing for investors today, Sept. 22, 2010, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. You may access the webcast from General Mills home page: www.generalmills.com.

Earnings per share excluding certain items, total company segment operating profit, earnings excluding certain items expressed as a percent of sales and international sales excluding foreign currency translation effects are each non-GAAP measures. Reconciliations of these measures to their relevant GAAP measures appear in the financial schedules and Note 7 to the attached consolidated financial statements.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are based on our current expectations and assumptions. These forward-looking statements, including the statements under the caption “Outlook” and statements made by Mr. Powell, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the potential results discussed in the forward-looking statements. In particular, our predictions about future net sales and earnings could be affected by a variety of factors, including: competitive dynamics in the consumer foods industry and the markets for our products, including new product introductions, advertising activities, pricing actions, and promotional activities of our competitors; economic conditions, including changes in inflation rates, interest rates, tax rates, or the availability of capital; product development and innovation; consumer acceptance of new products and product improvements; consumer reaction to pricing actions and changes in promotion levels; acquisitions or dispositions of businesses or assets; changes in capital structure; changes in laws and regulations, including labeling and advertising regulations; impairments in the carrying value of goodwill, other intangible assets, or other long-lived assets, or changes in the useful lives of other intangible assets; changes in accounting standards and the impact of significant accounting estimates; product quality and safety issues, including recalls and product liability; changes in consumer demand for our products; effectiveness of advertising, marketing, and promotional programs; changes in consumer behavior, trends, and preferences, including weight loss trends; consumer perception of health-related issues, including obesity; consolidation in the retail environment; changes in purchasing and inventory levels of significant customers; fluctuations in the cost and availability of supply chain resources, including raw materials, packaging, and energy; disruptions or inefficiencies in the supply chain; volatility in the market value of derivatives used to manage price risk for certain commodities; benefit plan expenses due to changes in plan asset values and discount rates used to determine plan liabilities; failure of our information technology systems; resolution of uncertain income tax matters; foreign economic conditions, including currency rate fluctuations; and political unrest in foreign markets and economic uncertainty due to terrorism or war. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise any forward-looking statement to reflect any future events or circumstances.

 
Consolidated Statements of Earnings and Supplementary Information
GENERAL MILLS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
(Unaudited) (In Millions, Except per Share Data)
                       
    Quarter Ended
      Aug. 29,       Aug. 30,      
      2010       2009     % Change
                       
Net sales   $ 3,533.1       $ 3,482.4       1.5   %
                       
Cost of sales     2,008.8         2,041.6       (1.6 ) %
                       
Selling, general, and administrative expenses     762.9         748.7       1.9   %
                       
Restructuring, impairment, and other                            
exit costs (income)     1.0         (0.8 )     NM    
                       
Operating profit     760.4         692.9       9.7   %
                       
Interest, net     90.3         91.9       (1.7 ) %
                       
Earnings before income taxes and after-tax                            
earnings from joint ventures     670.1         601.0       11.5   %
                       
Income taxes     223.0         203.2       9.7   %
                       
After-tax earnings from joint ventures     26.5         24.2       9.5   %
                       
Net earnings, including earnings attributable                            
to noncontrolling interests     473.6         422.0       12.2   %
                       
Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling                            
interests     1.5         1.4       7.1   %
                       
Net earnings attributable to General Mills (a)   $ 472.1       $ 420.6       12.2   %
                       
Earnings per share – basic   $ 0.73       $ 0.64       14.1   %
                       
Earnings per share – diluted   $ 0.70       $ 0.62       12.9   %
                       
Dividends per share   $ 0.28       $ 0.24       16.7   %
                       
      Quarter Ended
      Aug. 29,       Aug. 30,     Basis Pt  
Comparisons as a % of net sales:     2010       2009     Change  
                       
Gross margin     43.1 %       41.4 %     170    
                       
Selling, general, and administrative expenses     21.6 %       21.5 %     10    
                       
Operating profit     21.5 %       19.9 %     160    
                       
Net earnings attributable to General Mills     13.4 %       12.1 %     130    
                       
      Quarter Ended
Comparisons as a % of net sales excluding     Aug. 29,       Aug. 30,     Basis Pt  
certain items affecting comparability (b):     2010       2009     Change  
                       
Gross margin     41.1 %       41.8 %     (70 )  
                       
Operating profit     19.5 %       20.3 %     (80 )  
                       
Net earnings attributable to General Mills     12.1 %       12.3 %     (20 )  
(a) See Note 4.
(b) See Note 7 for a reconciliation of these measures not defined by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
   
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.
 
Operating Segment Results and Supplementary Information
GENERAL MILLS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
(Unaudited) (In Millions)
                       
      Quarter Ended
      Aug. 29,       Aug. 30,          
      2010       2009     % Change    
Net sales:                      
U.S. Retail   $ 2,446.6       $ 2,399.6       2.0   %
International     659.8         656.9       0.4   %
Bakeries and Foodservice     426.7         425.9       0.2   %
Total   $ 3,533.1       $ 3,482.4       1.5   %
                       
Operating profit:                      
U.S. Retail   $ 614.6       $ 634.3       (3.1 ) %
International     62.0         62.9       (1.4 ) %
Bakeries and Foodservice     72.5         65.2       11.2   %
Total segment operating profit     749.1         762.4       (1.7 ) %
                       
Unallocated corporate items     (12.3 )       70.3       (117.5 ) %
Restructuring, impairment, and                            
other exit costs (income)     1.0         (0.8 )     NM    
Operating profit   $ 760.4       $ 692.9       9.7   %
                       
      Quarter Ended
      Aug. 29,       Aug. 30,     Basis Pt  
      2010       2009     Change  
Segment operating profit as a                      
% of net sales:                      
U.S. Retail     25.1 %       26.4 %     (130 )  
International     9.4 %       9.6 %     (20 )  
Bakeries and Foodservice     17.0 %       15.3 %     170    
Total segment operating profit     21.2 %       21.9 %     (70 )  
                       
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.  
   
 
Consolidated Balance Sheets
GENERAL MILLS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
(In Millions, Except Par Value)
                   
      Aug. 29,     Aug. 30,     May 30,
      2010     2009     2010
      (Unaudited)     (Unaudited)      
ASSETS                  
Current assets:                  
Cash and cash equivalents   $ 697.0     $ 711.6     $ 673.2  
Receivables     1,173.1       1,139.0       1,041.6  
Inventories     1,665.2       1,645.7       1,344.0  
Deferred income taxes     35.6       1.4       42.7  
Prepaid expenses and other current assets     382.9       375.8       378.5  
                   
Total current assets     3,953.8       3,873.5       3,480.0  
                   
Land, buildings, and equipment     3,111.7       2,992.1       3,127.7  
Goodwill     6,613.5       6,668.9       6,592.8  
Other intangible assets     3,727.7       3,749.9       3,715.0  
Other assets     803.8       905.7       763.4  
                   
Total assets   $ 18,210.5     $ 18,190.1     $ 17,678.9  
                   
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY                  
Current liabilities:                  
Accounts payable   $ 888.0     $ 792.1     $ 849.5  
Current portion of long-term debt     107.3       508.5       107.3  
Notes payable     1,349.8       914.8       1,050.1  
Other current liabilities     1,746.4       1,496.9       1,762.2  
                   
Total current liabilities     4,091.5       3,712.3       3,769.1  
                   
Long-term debt     5,771.6       5,753.9       5,268.5  
Deferred income taxes     885.1       1,157.0       874.6  
Other liabilities     2,090.9       1,928.3       2,118.7  
                   
Total liabilities     12,839.1       12,551.5       12,030.9  
                   
Stockholders’ equity:                  
                   
Common stock, 754.6 shares issued, $0.10 par value     75.5       75.5       75.5  
Additional paid-in capital     1,282.5       1,232.7       1,307.1  
Retained earnings     8,410.4       7,500.0       8,122.4  
Common stock in treasury, at cost,                        
shares of 113.8, 102.0 and 98.1     (3,252.7 )     (2,576.8 )     (2,615.2 )
Accumulated other comprehensive loss     (1,390.9 )     (837.7 )     (1,486.9 )
                   
Total stockholders’ equity     5,124.8       5,393.7       5,402.9  
                   
Noncontrolling interests     246.6       244.9       245.1  
                   
Total equity     5,371.4       5,638.6       5,648.0  
                   
Total liabilities and equity   $ 18,210.5     $ 18,190.1     $ 17,678.9  
                   
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.            
             
 
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
GENERAL MILLS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
(Unaudited) (In Millions)
      Quarter Ended
        Aug. 29,       Aug. 30,
        2010       2009
Cash Flows – Operating Activities                
Net earnings, including earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests     $ 473.6       $ 422.0  
Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to net cash                
provided by operating activities:                
Depreciation and amortization       111.3         111.1  
After-tax earnings from joint ventures       (26.5 )       (24.2 )
Stock-based compensation       37.9         37.5  
Deferred income taxes       22.4         12.5  
Tax benefit on exercised options       (35.0 )       (14.7 )
Distributions of earnings from joint ventures       21.5         16.8  
Pension and other postretirement benefit plan contributions       (2.4 )       (2.2 )
Pension and other postretirement benefit plan expense (income)       18.3         (1.8 )
Restructuring, impairment, and other exit income       (1.0 )       (0.7 )
Changes in current assets and liabilities       (406.1 )       (298.8 )
Other, net       (36.4 )       17.6  
                 
Net cash provided by operating activities       177.6         275.1  
                 
Cash Flows – Investing Activities                
Purchases of land, buildings, and equipment       (132.6 )       (126.3 )
Investments in affiliates, net       (1.9 )       0.8  
Proceeds from disposal of land, buildings, and equipment       1.8         5.7  
Other, net       12.5         2.7  
                 
Net cash used by investing activities       (120.2 )       (117.1 )
                 
Cash Flows – Financing Activities                
Change in notes payable       299.0         101.4  
Issuance of long-term debt       500.0          
Payment of long-term debt       (1.8 )       (2.1 )
Proceeds from common stock issued on exercised options       88.1         75.4  
Tax benefit on exercised options       35.0         14.7  
Purchases of common stock for treasury       (788.4 )       (233.9 )
Dividends paid       (184.1 )       (156.2 )
Other, net       (5.1 )        
                 
Net cash used by financing activities       (57.3 )       (200.7 )
                 
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents       23.7         4.5  
Increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents       23.8         (38.2 )
Cash and cash equivalents – beginning of year       673.2         749.8  
                 
Cash and cash equivalents – end of period     $ 697.0       $ 711.6  
                 
Cash Flow from Changes in Current Assets and Liabilities:                
Receivables     $ (121.1 )     $ (181.0 )
Inventories       (316.0 )       (297.4 )
Prepaid expenses and other current assets       (6.0 )       94.5  
Accounts payable       76.1         44.1  
Other current liabilities       (39.1 )       41.0  
                 
Changes in current assets and liabilities     $ (406.1 )     $ (298.8 )
See accompanying notes to consolidated financial statements.                
                 
 
GENERAL MILLS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
(Unaudited)
       
       
(1)     The accompanying Consolidated Financial Statements of General Mills, Inc. (we, us, our, General Mills, or the Company) have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States for annual and interim financial information. In the opinion of management, all adjustments considered necessary for a fair presentation have been included and are of a normal recurring nature.
       
(2)     At the beginning of fiscal 2011, we revised the classification of certain revenues and expenses to better align our income statement line items with how we manage our business. We revised the classification of amounts previously reported in our Consolidated Statements of Earnings, Operating Segment Results, and Supplementary Information, to conform to the current year presentation. These revised classifications had no effect on previously reported net earnings attributable to General Mills or earnings per share.
       
(3)     In May 2010, our Board of Directors approved a two-for-one stock split to be effected in the form of a 100 percent stock dividend to stockholders of record on May 28, 2010. The Company’s stockholders received one additional share of common stock for each share of common stock in their possession on that date. The additional shares were distributed on June 8, 2010. This did not change the proportionate interest that a stockholder maintained in the Company. All shares and per share amounts have been adjusted for the two-for-one stock split throughout this report.
       
(4)     We use captions in our Consolidated Financial Statements as required by guidance on noncontrolling interests, including “Net earnings attributable to General Mills,” which we have shortened to “Net earnings” in this release.
       
(5)     For the first quarter of fiscal 2011, unallocated corporate items totaled $12 million of income compared to $70 million of expense in the same period last year. We recorded a $72 million net increase in income related to mark-to-market valuations of certain commodity positions and grain inventories in the first quarter of fiscal 2011, compared to a $15 million net increase in expense in the first quarter of fiscal 2010.
       
       
(6)     Basic and diluted earnings per share (EPS) were calculated as follows:
           
          Quarter Ended
          Aug. 29,       Aug. 30,
In Millions, Except per Share Data         2010       2009
Net earnings attributable to General Mills       $ 472.1     $ 420.6
                   
Average number of common shares – basic EPS         647.3       653.0
Incremental share effect from: (a)                  
Stock options         17.8       14.6
Restricted stock, restricted stock units, and other         6.8       5.2
Average number of common shares – diluted EPS         671.9       672.8
Earnings per share – basic       $ 0.73     $ 0.64
Earnings per share – diluted       $ 0.70     $ 0.62
            (a)   Incremental shares from stock options and restricted stock units are computed by the treasury stock method.
(7)     We have included four measures in this release that are not defined by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP): (1) diluted earnings per share excluding mark-to-market valuation of certain commodity positions and grain inventories (“mark-to-market effects”) and enactment date tax charges related to Federal health care reform (“tax charge – health care reform”) (collectively, these two items are referred to as “certain items affecting comparability” in this footnote), (2) earnings comparisons as a percent of net sales excluding certain items affecting comparability, (3) total segment operating profit, and (4) sales growth rates for our International segment in total and by region excluding the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange. We believe that these measures provide useful supplemental information to assess our operating performance. These measures are reconciled below to the measures as reported in accordance with GAAP, and should be viewed in addition to, and not in lieu of, our diluted earnings per share and operating performance measures as calculated in accordance with GAAP.
       
      Diluted EPS excluding certain items affecting comparability follows:
               
        Quarter Ended     Year Ended
          Aug. 29,     Aug. 30,       May 30,
    Per Share Data     2010     2009       2010
    Diluted earnings per share, as reported   $ 0.70     $ 0.62     $ 2.24
    Mark-to-market effects (a)     (0.06 )     0.02       0.01
    Tax charge – health care reform (b)                 0.05
    Diluted earnings per share, excluding                      
    certain items affecting comparability   $ 0.64     $ 0.64     $ 2.30
            (a)   See Note 5.
            (b)   Effect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as modified by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Earnings comparisons as a percent of net sales excluding mark-to-market effects follows:

      Quarter Ended
  In Millions       Aug. 29, 2010       Aug. 30, 2009  
                Percent of                 Percent of  
  Comparisons as a % of Net Sales       Value     Net Sales           Value     Net Sales  
  Gross margin as reported (a)   $   1,524.3     43.1 %     $   1,440.8     41.4 %
  Mark-to-market effects (b)       (71.9)     (2.0) %         14.8     0.4 %
  Adjusted gross margin   $   1,452.4     41.1 %     $   1,455.6     41.8 %
                                     
  Operating profit as reported   $   760.4     21.5 %     $   692.9     19.9 %
  Mark-to-market effects (b)       (71.9)     (2.0) %         14.8     0.4 %
  Adjusted operating profit   $   688.5     19.5 %     $   707.7     20.3 %
                                     
  Net earnings attributable to General Mills as reported   $   472.1     13.4 %     $   420.6     12.1 %
  Mark-to-market effects, net of tax (b)       (45.3)     (1.3) %         9.3     0.2 %
  Adjusted net earnings attributable to General Mills   $   426.8     12.1 %     $   429.9     12.3 %
            (a)   Net sales less cost of sales.
            (b)   See Note 5.

A reconciliation of total segment operating profit to the relevant GAAP measure, operating profit, is included in the Statements of Operating Segment Results.

The reconciliation of International segment and region sales growth rates as reported to growth rates excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange below demonstrates the effect of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations from year to year. To present this information, current period results for entities reporting in currencies other than United States dollars are converted into United States dollars at the average exchange rates in effect during the corresponding period of the prior fiscal year, rather than the actual average exchange rates in effect during the current fiscal year. Therefore, the foreign currency impact is equal to current year results in local currencies multiplied by the change in the average foreign currency exchange rate between the current fiscal period and the corresponding period of the prior fiscal year.

      Quarter Ended Aug. 29, 2010
            Impact of      
      Percentage Change in     Foreign     Percentage Change in
      Net Sales     Currency     Net Sales on Constant
      as Reported     Exchange     Currency Basis
  Europe   (2 )%     (8 )%     6 %
  Canada   6       7       (1 )
  Asia/Pacific   11       4       7  
  Latin America   (19 )     (23 )     4  
  Total International   Flat       (4 )%     4 %

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.  (Food-News.net)  Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE: DOLE) today announced that the Company completed an animal monitoring study carried out at El Bosque, a Dole pineapple farm in Costa Rica, together with scientists working with FUNDECOR, a Non-Governmental organization active in protecting the natural resources of the Costa Rican central mountains. The study reveals not only that wildlife has been preserved, compared to a baseline survey carried out in 2005, but also that several vulnerable species are being effectively protected in the forest flanking the farm.

El Bosque is a Dole-owned pineapple plantation located in the province of Limón, Costa Rica. The farm covers a surface of 1,400 hectares, 850 hectares are dedicated to pineapple production and the rest is mostly protected forests.

The study was performed in July 2010 and focused on the use of infrared cameras to gauge the presence of fauna on the forest-floor of the 80-hectare reserve at El Bosque. A total of 11 mammal species from 11 different genus, 9 families and 5 orders were registered by the cameras.

“This exploratory study revealed the presence of species that are highly vulnerable to fragmentation, habitat destruction and hunting, such as the Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and the Paca (Cuniculus paca), a forest-dwelling herbivore. This is evidence that the surveillance and conservation practices implemented by Dole are effectively protecting the forest”, stated German Obando, Director of Research and Technology at FUNDECOR.

“As the survey confirmed, the forest at our El Bosque farm is fundamental to maintaining and increasing several mammalian populations. The results illustrate that despite frequent misconceptions about high-yield plantation agriculture, our Dole production practices make it possible to co-exist with nature and produce in a truly sustainable way and in harmony with nature”, said Richard Toman, Vice President Pineapple Operations for Dole Latin America. Mr. Toman went on to add, “we are also pleased to announce that we have commissioned two similar studies at our Zurqui banana plantation in Sarapiqui and our Muelle & Ecopinas pineapple farms in San Carlos.”

The survey was commissioned during World Environment Day last June and was part of a broader set of initiatives organized by Dole at banana and pineapple operations, not only in Costa Rica but also in Honduras, Ecuador and Peru. These other initiatives included the planting of 30,000 trees with community, schools, workers and their children, the conduction of environmental awareness seminars for the children, the collection of trash alongside rivers and roads, the presentation of recycling programs by women leaders and the installation of bird feeders for hummingbirds and others.

About Dole Food Company

Dole, with 2009 net revenues of $6.8 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas and producer/shipper of organic pineapples. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.

About Fundecor

Founded in 1991, Fundecor is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to protect the natural resources of the Costa Rican central mountains by using market-based strategies and cutting edge research and development for the creation and improvement of public policy under the principle that conservation and development should coexist in harmony.