SUVA, Fiji (AP) — Fiji Water on Monday closed its operations in the South Pacific country that gives the popular bottled drink its name, saying it was being singled out by the military appointed government for a massive tax increase. A company statement announcing the decision did not say whether the company was shutting down permanently in Fiji, where an acquifer deep underground has been the source of one of the world's most popular bottled water brands.
CASHMERE, Wash. (AP) — A Canadian biotechnology company has asked the U.S. to approve a genetically modified apple that won't brown soon after its sliced, saying the improvement could boost sales of apples for snacks, salads and other uses. U.S. apple growers say it's too soon to know whether they'd be interested in the apple: They need to resolve questions about the apple's quality, the cost of planting and, most importantly, whether people would buy it.
DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. (AP) — Sara Lee Corp. is buying Brazilian coffee company Cafe Damasco for nearly $60 million as it continues to focus on its more-profitable coffee and meat businesses. Earlier this month Sara Lee said it was selling its struggling North American bread-making business to Mexican baking giant Grupo Bimbo for $959 million.
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A former Vermont slaughterhouse worker accused of abusing calves en route to slaughter pleaded guilty Thursday to animal cruelty and will be sentenced to 30 days on a work crew. Christopher Gaudette, 37, an employee of now-closed Bushway Packing Inc. in Grand Isle, entered the plea to a felony count after being accused of excessively shocking a downed calf, throwing a calf and pouring water on one and then shocking it.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Wine-grape expert Bill Shoemaker has taken to the roadsides of Illinois in search of wild grapes that he hopes can be crossed with their more refined cousins to create a tasty and hardy crop. The University of Illinois researcher has begun a years-long project that includes plenty of wild grape tasting — much of it not pleasant.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Some small farms would be exempt from government efforts to prevent foodborne illness under a Senate agreement on food safety legislation announced Thursday. The food safety bill now pending in the Senate would give the Food and Drug Administration more authority to recall tainted products, increase inspections of food processors and require producers to follow stricter standards for keeping food safe.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey-based cheese maker whose products are sold on the East Coast was shut down because it failed to fix conditions that the Food and Drug Administration deemed unsanitary, a newspaper reported. Federal food safety officials found repeated violations at Quesos Mi Pueblito, a division of the Mexican food products manufacturer that produces cheeses popular in Latin American cuisine.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's biggest private company says it will boost investment next year and is committed to promoting growth for its food businesses and the country as a whole — despite expropriation threats from Hugo Chavez. Pablo Baraybar, director of the Alimentos Polar division of Empresas Polar, told The Associated Press that the company plans to spend 580 million bolivars, or $134.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Packaging company MeadWestvaco Corp. said Wednesday it is investing about $480 million to grow its corrugated packaging business in Brazil. The Richmond company said it is expanding operations at its subsidiary Rigesa, in order to meet growing customer demand in South America.
MARIEHAMN, Finland (AP) — An accent of mushrooms merged with sweet notes of honey in a sampling Wednesday of what's been billed as the world's oldest champagne, salvaged from a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. An expert who tasted the vintage bubbly was lyrical, detecting hints of chanterelles and linden blossom.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The state Supreme Court stepped into a years-long family dispute involving one of the world's largest beef jerky companies Tuesday, when the son of the Wisconsin company's founder asked justices for a better valuation of a South Dakota subsidiary. Jay Link, a son of Link Snacks Inc.
IMMOKALEE, Fla. (AP) — Growers of the bulk of all U.S. winter tomatoes struck a major deal Tuesday with a Florida farmworkers' group to boost their wages and working conditions, clearing the way for food giants such as McDonald's, Burger King and upscale grocer Whole Foods to pass along more money to poor field pickers for their harvests.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A far-reaching food safety bill that could give the government more power to prevent foodborne illnesses has become a target of advocates for buying food produced locally. They worry the legislation's safety requirements could force small farms out of business. The opposition of these "locavores" — advocates for buying food directly from the farm or closer to home — and owners of small farms has become a sticking point in the Senate, which was to vote Wednesday on whether to consider the bill.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The manufacturer of popular caffeinated alcohol drink Four Loko said Tuesday it will remove the caffeine from its products, pulling the blend off the market just as the Food and Drug Administration is poised to ban it. Phusion Projects said in a statement posted on its website that the company will remove caffeine and two other ingredients from its products going forward.
ROME (AP) — Prices of wheat and other staples have risen "alarmingly" over the past year, a U.N. report said Wednesday, acknowledging fears of a repeat of the 2008 food crisis when a spike in the price of bread led to deadly riots in some countries. Further increases were likely unless production of major food crops increases significantly in 2011, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said, warning that international food import bills could pass the $1 trillion dollar mark in 2010.
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) — Even though this year's Dungeness crab catch is looking strong, many crabbers are waiting a little longer before filling their boats up this year. While Sunday marked the official opening to the Dungeness season off California's central coast, fishermen say the crustaceans need days or even weeks more to mature and fatten up.
NOGALES, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Department of Agriculture has halted its practice of doing some produce inspections in Mexico, citing concerns for inspectors' safety. Department director Donald Butler said inspectors have been hassled by Mexican authorities and told they shouldn't be driving vehicles in Mexico that aren't their own, although the inspectors are using vehicles owned by the state of Arizona.
BEIJING (AP) — China's government is trying to cool double-digit food price rises by releasing stockpiled pork and sugar to boost supplies in markets, the Commerce Ministry said Tuesday. The move comes after food prices jumped 10.1 percent in October over a year earlier due to shortages of some goods.
WARFORDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Police are investigating the deaths of more than 900 pigs inside a barn at an abandoned southcentral Pennsylvania farm. State Police Lt. Gregory Bacher says authorities are examining the deaths of 925 pigs found Nov. 8 in a warehouse-style barn in Warfordsburg.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Public oyster harvesting grounds open Monday along Louisiana's coast, but on a smaller scale than usual, in part because of complications from the BP oil spill. Louisiana's Wildlife and Fisheries Commission recently voted to indefinitely delay the opening for a broad area east of the Mississippi River, which state wildlife officials estimate produces about 28 percent of the oysters harvested in the state.