Heinz plans to send earthquake relief monies to China
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.
Gurkan appointed Campbell’s vp of development
CAMDEN, N.J. Campbell Soup Co. has appointed Tarkan Gurkan as its vice president of corporate development.
Gurkan joins Campbell after 14 years in the food industry business, including seven years with Lehman Brothers, four years with Nabisco Holdings Corporation and three years with Pepsi-Cola Company. He previously worked for the Koc Group, a Turkish industrial company.
Gurkan earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Turkey’s Bogazici University and his master’s in business administration from Dartmouth College.
Research shows use of sought-after sweetener is safe
ROCKVILLE, Md. A study into possible health effects associated with stevia, a natural, calorie-free herb used to make sweetener being researched for use in U.S. food production, concluded that the additive is safe. The study is expected to be published next week online, sources said.
A Web journal called Food and Chemical Toxicology is slated to publish findings from the study, funded by Cargill. Cargill and Coca-Cola are working towards gaining U.S. regulatory approval for a sweetener extracted from the South American herb, branded Truvia.
In the 1990s, the FDA denied stevia for use as an additive, stating that there was not enough evidence to prove its safety. However, it was approved later to be sold as a dietary supplement.
Some reports, dating back to 1985, have said that stevia can cause mutations in the livers of rats and potential fertility problems for men. Coke and Cargill have disputed these claims and insisted that their new product is much different from unrefined forms of stevia used in early testing. The companies are moving to go ahead with product development and distribution in countries that have approved stevia for use, such as Brazil, China and Japan.
Though some countries have reportedly banned stevia, a recent report by the World Health Organization said there were no major toxicity risks associated, but also said more studies should be done on the health effects on people with hypertension and diabetics.