Hilmar, Calif.-based Hilmar Cheese Co. has been fined $4 million by California’s water-quality enforcers for repeated pollution violations. Over the past two years, the cheese company allegedly has flushed high volumes of milky wastewater onto surrounding land. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board’s executive officer issued the fine via certified mail the same day as cheese plant co-owner Chuck Ahlem resigned as the state’s agriculture undersecretary, saying he needed to tend to his company’s waste-water issues, according to the Modesto Bee.
Orrville, Ohio-based Smith Dairy Products Co. has acquired the traditional ice cream business from Superior Dairy of Canton, Ohio. Both companies they are focused on expanding their market positions and maintaining their independence in the dairy industry. For more information about the acquisition, visit
This fall, New Ulm, Minn.-based Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) members shared equity and earnings payments totaling $9.3 million. AMPI’s board of directors approved the revolvement of $6.9 million of members’ capital retain investment and $2.4 million in allocated earnings. The payments make AMPI equity revolvement among the fastest in history, says the dairy marketing cooperative.
The dairy farmer owners of Kansas City, Mo.-based Dairy Farmers of America Inc. (DFA) have acquired all ownership interests in Harleysville, Pa.-based Keller’s Creamery LLC. Keller’s was formed in May 2000 as a joint venture between DFA and the former management team of Sodiaal North America Corp. For more information about the transaction, visit
As part of its Sensible Solution marketing initiative this year, Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods Inc., is phasing out advertising for certain products in media primarily aimed at children ages 6 to 11, including ads for Oreo cookies and Kool-Aid. During the year, Kraft will shift its promotions in these media outlets to its products that meet a new nutritional criteria derived from standards set by the recently released 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines and government authorities. Kraft will also add a Sensible Solution label on products for both kids and adults that meet the nutrition criteria, including Kraft 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Cheese. In 2006, the company plans to end advertisements for all products that do not meet the Sensible Solution criteria.
In other nutrition-related news, White Plains, N.Y.-based Dannon Co. Inc. is also tapping into the newly released U.S. Dietary Guidelines in order to promote the February launch of its new Light ‘n Fit with Fiber nonfat yogurt. Dannon says this addition to the Light ‘n Fit line is a good source of fiber and calcium, both nutrients the government says Americans are lacking in their daily diets.
Groupe Lactalis has acquired the McLelland Group, the third-largest cheese company in the United Kingdom. Based in Glasgow, Scotland, McLelland produces 100 million pounds of cheddar annually under the brand name Seriously Strong.
Dallas-based Dean Foods Co. has announced that it intends to pursue a tax-free spin-off of its Specialty Foods Group to Dean shareholders. The planned debt-free offshoot will create a publicly traded private label and regionally branded consumer packaged goods company with about 1,700 employees and 2005 revenues estimated at more than $700 million, the company reports.
Washington, D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) will present its SmartMarketing 2005 conference March 15 to 17 at the Westin Buckhead in Atlanta. This year’s only dairy-specific marketing meeting will focus on examining competitive pressures in the grocery channel, understanding consumers and expanding milk and weight-loss marketing opportunities. The program will also feature Hall of Innovation exhibitions and the announcement of the winners of the prestigious 2005 Achieving Excellence Awards. More information is at has launched exchanges for seven new condensed and dry dairy commodities. These markets include nonfat dry milk and dry and condensed versions of whey, whey protein concentrate and buttermilk. All of the markets support both spot and contract trading.