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Today in Food Manufacturing

Daily news and top headlines for food manufacturing professionals

Black Worker Files 2nd Pa. Panera Fed Race Lawsuit

January 12, 2012 7:11 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A black man who says racial discrimination forced him to quit working at a Panera Bread restaurant has sued its franchisee, claiming the company doesn't want black employees in positions where they interact with the public. His lawsuit echoes allegations by a white manager of the suburban Pittsburgh store who sued last year, claiming he was fired for defending the employee.

Winter Wheat Plantings Rise Amid Higher Prices

January 12, 2012 7:10 am

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A government report shows the nation's growers planted more of their land into winter wheat for harvest this year amid high prices and easing drought conditions in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The National Agricultural Statistics Service said Thursday that planting of winter wheat acres across the nation totaled 41.

Corn Estimate Holds Steady, Low Supply Expected

January 12, 2012 7:08 am

The government said Thursday that it expects no real change in next fall's tight corn supply, a factor that promises little relief from high food prices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that there will be 846 million bushels of corn on hand at the end of the summer. The forecast was mostly unchanged from last month's estimate.

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Coca-Cola Plant In Ark. To Lose Production Jobs

January 12, 2012 7:07 am

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A Coca-Cola bottling plant in central Arkansas will get rid of nearly 50 production jobs as it ships bottling duties to facilities elsewhere in the state and in Texas. Coca-Cola spokeswoman Luisa Casso said Wednesday that the Little Rock plant will lose 49 jobs as the company moves production work to facilities in West Memphis and Dallas.

Consumer Trends: Americans Addicted To Fast Food Despite Healthy Trends

January 12, 2012 4:39 am

RED BANK, N.J. (PRNewswire) — HealthyWomen, the nation's leading nonprofit health information source for women, and Allrecipes, the world's #1 digital food brand, joined forces to survey home cooks about their healthy eating habits and, in particular, fast food consumption. Findings from the 1,563 persons polled, who were largely female, showed more than 56 percent ate at fast food restaurants at least several times a month.

Food Prices Drop Sharply

January 12, 2012 4:02 am

ROME (AP) — A U.N. agency says food prices dropped sharply at the end of 2011 but that uncertainties over the global economy makes predictions for the future unclear. The Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in its report Thursday that the decline was driven by sharp falls in international prices of cereals, sugar and oils due to bumper crops coupled with slowing demand and a stronger U.

Grocers Mull Idaho Liquor Privatization

January 12, 2012 3:58 am

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A grocery industry lobbyist met with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and other officials last month over mounting a campaign to privatize Idaho's state-controlled liquor sales, as retailers like Costco Wholesale Corp. hope privatization success in neighboring Washington late last year will spread elsewhere.

Vt. Dairies Scramble To Find Feed After Irene

January 12, 2012 3:56 am

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Flooding from Tropical Storm Irene swept away some bales of hay Doug Turner grew to feed his dairy cows and ripped open others, contaminating them with muddy water. When the water receded, he had to mow down a third of his corn, which had turned brown and moldy.

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Judge Approves Sale Of Bankrupt Ice Cream Maker

January 12, 2012 3:53 am

SEARCY, Ark. (AP) — A federal bankruptcy judge has signed off on the $1.3 million sale of Searcy-based Yarnell's Ice Cream to Schulze & Burch Biscuit Co. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Mixon signed the order Monday confirming the sale of Yarnell's to the Chicago-based snack manufacturer.

Coca-Cola Says It Alerted FDA About Fungicide

January 12, 2012 3:51 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Coca-Cola Co. says it alerted the Food and Drug Administration after it found some Brazilian growers had sprayed their orange trees with a fungicide that is not approved for use in the U.S. The FDA had said Monday that an unnamed juice company detected low levels of the fungicide in orange juice products after testing its own and competitors' products.

Photo Of The Day: Irene Floods Cause Feed Worries

January 12, 2012 3:48 am

In this Aug. 30, 2011 file photo, farmer's fields in Rutland, Vt. are flooded from Tropical Storm Irene in this aerial view. The storm wiped out some fields and flooded others. Agriculture officials are worried crops won't be as nutritious for cows, which will cut down on production, or could be moldy, at a time when feed prices are high.

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Michigan Cattle Protection Project Reaches Goal

January 11, 2012 7:03 am

ALPENA, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials have reached their three-year goal of protecting cattle farms in areas at highest risk for bovine tuberculosis, they announced Tuesday. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the $3.6 million project combined the efforts of cattle owners, the Alpena and other conservation districts, state and federal government agencies and the Michigan State University Extension.

Archer Daniels Midland To Cut 1,000 Jobs

January 11, 2012 7:00 am

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Agribusiness conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland Co. will cut 1,000 jobs company wide, the company's CEO announced Wednesday. The majority of the positions will be salaried staff, CEO Patricia Woertz said in statement. The move will cut about 15 percent of the Decatur, Ill.

Two More Sentenced In Le-Nature's Fraud

January 11, 2012 6:54 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Two more businessmen associated with the massive $800 million fraud scheme at a defunct western Pennsylvania soft drink company have been ordered to spend five years in prison. Former Le-Nature's Inc. Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Podlucky and North Carolina businessman Donald Pollinger both received sentences Tuesday well below federal guidelines in return for their cooperation in the case.

Hostess Blames Bankruptcy On Benefits Obligations

January 11, 2012 6:51 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Twinkies and Wonder Bread, is seeking bankruptcy protection, blaming its pension and medical benefits obligations, increased competition and tough economic conditions. The filing on Wednesday comes just two years after a predecessor company emerged from bankruptcy proceedings.

Pepsi To Pay $3.1M In Racial Bias Case

January 11, 2012 6:48 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pepsi Beverages Co. has agreed to pay $3.1 million to settle federal charges of race discrimination for using criminal background checks to screen out job applicants. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says the company's policy of not hiring workers with arrest records disproportionately excluded more than 300 black applicants.

Chesapeake Female Crabs Outnumber Males

January 11, 2012 4:08 am

BALTIMORE (AP) — Male crabs have their pick of mates in the Chesapeake Bay this year. Strict harvest restrictions designed to protect the bay's crab population have pushed the ratio of females to males, also known as Jimmies, to nearly 3-to-1, said Tuck Hines of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Orange Juice Prices Soar On Fungicide Concerns

January 11, 2012 4:06 am

Orange juice futures shot 10.7 percent higher Tuesday after the government said it will increase testing for a fungicide that was found in low levels in orange juice. Investors snapped up contracts because of the uncertainty about whether orange supplies will be affected by the testing program.

EU Fails To Comply With Self-Imposed Chicken Regs

January 11, 2012 4:03 am

FLEURUS, Belgium (AP) — When Eric Pierart takes in the chaotic wiggling of thousands of hens caged in his renovated barn, he's reminded of how tough it is for Europe to unite on anything. And how much time it takes. A dozen years after the European Union set Jan. 1, 2012 as the date to eliminate the most cramped cages to improve the living standards of egg laying hens, half of the 27 European Union nations have failed to fully comply — a flop seen as a metaphor for Europe's current state of disarray.

Congressional Report: Food Safety Audits Ignore FDA Guidance

January 11, 2012 3:59 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional investigators looking into an outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe linked to 30 deaths last year found that third-party auditors who gave Colorado's Jensen Farms a "superior" rating just before the outbreak largely ignored government guidance on food safety.

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