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Food Roundup: PepsiAmericas Rejection, Cheese War Resolution, FDA Crackdown, and More

PepsiAmericas rejects PepsiCo -- The bottler turned down PepsiCo's bid to buy back the shares it doesn't already own, calling the offer "not acceptable" and "not in the best interest of the company's shareholders." This followed a similar move by Pepsi Bottling earlier this week. PepsiCo had offered a combined $6 billion to reacquire remaining shares in the two bottlers, which it sold off in the late '90s. But both bottlers say PepsiCo is undervaluing them and needs to raise its bid. [Sources: Food Business News, BNET Food]

End of cheesy trade war -- The U.S. has agreed to drop huge tariffs on EU products -- including a 300 percent tariff on Roquefort cheese -- put in place at the last minute by the Bush Administration. The tariffs were a retaliatory measure in response to the EU's ban on imports of beef with artificial hormones, but many interpreted them as a much more personal and vindictive move, a la "Freedom Fries." The Obama Administration had previously delayed implementation of the new tariffs to allow time for negotiation. The final agreement, reached this week, says that the EU can keep its artificial-hormone ban but Europe will quadruple imports of non-hormone-treated beef. [Sources: Foreign Policy, BNET Food]

Supervalu grabs Wal-mart exec -- Craig Herkert is leaving his post as Wal-Mart's director and CEO of operations in the Americas to become chief executive at Supervalu. Herkert is a 30-year veteran of the industry and will replace Jeff Noddle, who will stick around at Supervalu as executive chairman for at least a year. [Sources: Progressive Grocer, Supermarket News]

Former McDonald's boss jailed in Hong Kong -- Lau Si-sing, the former managing director of McDonald's in Hong Kong, has been sentenced to four years in prison for corruption and must pay back to the company the amount he took from suppliers in bribes and kickbacks. McDonald's welcomed the decision, according to a company VP in Hong Kong, who said the sentence "recognized the damage that was done to McDonald's by the corrupt actions of a person who abused their position." [Source: AFP]

Climate change could hurt shrimp supply -- A group of scientists has said a change in ocean temperatures could alter the mating habits of shrimp, thus reducing the number of larvae that survive and drastically reducing shrimp stocks. Shrimp eggs generally hatch when food is most abundant, but shrimp have proved sensitive to changes in the ocean's temperature, and the scientists have speculated that if higher temperatures prompt earlier mating, there may not be enough food available to sustain the larvae when they are born. [Source: BBC]

FDA orders seizure of unsanitary products -- The Food and Drug Administration had U.S. Marshals seize more than $1.5 million in products from the American Mercantile Corporation in Memphis, Tennessee. A March inspection found "extensive rodent and insect infestation," and since then, according to the FDA, "the company failed to correct these problems." The seized items are mostly herbs, and no illnesses have been connected to any of the products. [Source: FDA]


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