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General Mills joins aid efforts to ease earthquake woes in China

BY Jenna Duncan

MINNEAPOLIS General Mills Foundation, in cooperation with General Mills China, has agreed to provide $500,000 to the American Red Cross for earthquake response efforts led in the Sichuan Province, an area where General Mills has business operations. The relief funds will go to support the work of the Red Cross Society of China.

Chris Shea, president of the General Mills Foundation, said, “We were relieved to learn that our employees are safe, and our hearts go out those who have been impacted by this disaster. We want to provide immediate help because we know that rebuilding lives takes time.”

Leading consumer foods manufacturer and marketer General Mills has operations in more than 100 countries. In China, General Mills produces and distributes a variety of items including snack chips, Haagen Dazs ice cream and Wanchai Ferry brand frozen dumplings.

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Heinz plans to send earthquake relief monies to China

BY Jenna Duncan

PITTSBURGH The H. J. Heinz Co. today said that it is donating $350,000 to relief efforts for victims of Monday’s earthquake in the Sichuan Province in China.

A Heinz factory that produces frozen appetizers, desserts and dim sum—under the Long Fong brand name—is located in the Sichuan Province’s capital, Chengdu.

“While we are thankful that none of our employees or their family members were injured during the earthquake, our hearts go out to the thousands of victims of this tragic event,” Heinz chairman, president and chief executive, William Johnson, said. “We feel it is our moral obligation as a corporate citizen in Sichuan to do whatever we can to help bring comfort and relief to those who have been impacted by this catastrophe.”

The company has committed to donating $350,000, $100,000 of which will come from its foundation. The additional $250,000 will come from Heinz UFE. The chairman of Long Fong, Hector Yeh, has also pledged a large personal donation and has worked to secure donations of money and food from partners.

There has been no damage to the Heinz/Long Fong factory or warehouse facilities, Yeh said. However, production will be halted until potential dangers from aftershocks have ceded and the plant is cleared for safety. Meanwhile, employees will receive their regular pay, Yeh said.

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Cargill announces release of sweetener made from stevia

BY Jenna Duncan

WAYZATA, Minn. Cargill today introduced that it will be launching a natural sweetener, Truvia, made from leaves of the South American herb stevia.

Cargill has called the release of the new calorie-free sweetener a “milestone” because of its proposed uses in foods, beverages and for home use.

“We have spent more than two years validating the consumer demand for this new sweetener,” said Marcelo Montero, president of Cargill Health & Nutrition. “Soon consumers will recognize Truvia for quality and great taste, delivering the first natural, zero calorie sweetness people have been asking for.”

Truvia comes from rebiana, the leafy part of the stevia plant which is a shrub native to Paraguay, also grown in China for commercial purposes. A process of drying and then steeping the leaf in water releases the taste of the rebiana, which reportedly has a sweetness 200 times more potent than sugar.

Cargill has announced the release of Truvia the same day that a report was released online by the Food and Chemical Toxicology detailing results of a research study into the safety of rebiana. The study evaluated rebiana use for safety, stability and its effect on metabolism, as well as other health related effects.

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