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FDA warns Peanut Corp. of America products still linger in market

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCKVILLE, Md. Though Peanut Corp. of America has all but ceased to exist, its ghost lingers on in the American food industry.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Monday against eating peanuts and related products sold by Irvington, N.J.-based Westco Fruit and Nuts after they were linked to recalled peanuts from PCA. The FDA has requested that Westco voluntarily recall all products containing peanuts from PCA because they may contain Salmonella bacteria. The agency said that between Nov. 19 and Dec. 30, Westco received three shipments of Oil Roasted Salted Redskin Jumbo Peanuts from PCA’s processing plant in Blakely, Ga.

Lynchburg, Va.-based PCA went out of business last month after widespread Salmonella contamination and unsanitary practices discovered at the Blakely plant and another plant in Texas. The contamination has been linked to nearly 700 illnesses and possibly nine deaths in 46 states.

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Google executive joins PepsiCo board of directors

BY Allison Cerra

PURCHASE, N.Y. PepsiCo has added a Google executive to its board of directors.

Shona L. Brown, SVP business operations of Google Inc., was elected to the board Friday. She will participate as a member of the board’s compensation committee and mominating and corporate governance committee.

The election of Brown to PepsiCo’s board brings the total number of independent directors to 11. In addition, the board has two inside directors, Indra Nooyi, the company’s chairman and CEO, and Mike White, vice chairman of PepsiCo and CEO of PepsiCo International, for a total of 13 directors.

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Solo Cup Co. teams up with community improvement organization

BY Allison Cerra

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. Solo Cup Company announced plans for its partnership with Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s largest community improvement organization.

As a national sponsor of KAB and its Great American Cleanup, Solo be on-site at selected KAB cleanup events to educate consumer volunteers on environmentally preferable options in single-use tableware, as well as on recycling and composting. In addition, Solo will ask its employees to volunteer in the Great Solo Cleanup from March through June 2009, to help beautify the communities in which they live and work.

Great American Cleanup activities include beautifying parks and recreation areas; cleaning seashores and waterways; handling recycling collections; picking up litter; planting trees and flowers and conducting educational programs and litter-free events. The annual Great American Cleanup engages three million volunteers in more than 17,000 separate cleanup events, taking place March 1 through May 31, in all 50 states.

This year, Solo has donated thousands of cases of Bare by Solo products to help serve food and beverages to more than 100,000 Great American Cleanup volunteers across the country. The product contribution includes cups made with 20% post-consumer recycled PET plastic, paper cups made with 10% post-consumer recycled content, and plates made with bamboo and other renewable materials such as sugarcane and other natural fibers.

Bare by Solo is the industry’s first full line of eco-forward single-use products for restaurants and consumers made using recycled, recyclable, compostable or annually renewable materials. Bare by Solo products are available at Target stores and other retailers.

“Our partnership with Keep America Beautiful is in keeping with our goal to be an industry leader in environmental sustainability,” said Robert M. Korzenski, president and CEO, Solo Cup Company. “We want people to understand their options and the inherent trade-offs associated with each material and disposal options in their community so they can make informed decisions about what best fits with their priorities.”

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