Heinz, HP Foods to Merge
The UK's Competition Commission has provisionally cleared the acquisition by HJ Heinz Company of the HP Foods Group. Both Heinz and HP produce ketchup, brown sauce and barbecue sauce. Heinz also produces baked beans and canned pasta products, while HP branded baked beans and pasta products are currently produced by Premier Foods plc, under a license from HP.
Leprino Foods Co. began construction on an $83 million cheese plant expansion in Allendale Township, MI. The expansion will add 10 million pounds of cheese production to the existing 70 million produced annually.
Alien Technology Corporation opened a new facility last month focused on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, discovery, innovation and implementation. Located in Dayton, OH and comprising 23,000 sq. ft. of educational, R&D and real-world implementation resources, the RFID Solutions Center will work to capture the benefits of RFID applications such as improved asset visibility within supply chains, enhanced consumer safety and security and greater operating efficiencies for private and public sector organizations.
Slaughterhouse operators can expect closer scrutiny from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in the months ahead. In a critical report, USDA's Inspector General warns federal beef inspectors aren't strictly following cattle screening rules, thereby increasing the risk of mad cow disease in the nation's meat supply. The report said it found cases where rules covering the slaughter of cattle are sometimes ignored.
Congress may consider streamlining rules covering food labels. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY) have introduced the National Uniformity for Foods Act (H.R. 4167) that would create national, uniform food safety standards and warning requirements, replacing what backers call a patchwork of state and federal regulations that leave consumers and manufacturers at a disadvantage.