Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft Foods provided an initial $1 million in food and cash grants to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. This includes $700,000 in food donations. The first shipment included eight truckloads of Fruit20 flavored water, Planters nuts, Capri Sun beverages, snacks and cookies. The balance of $300,000 will come in the form of grants for food and shelter relief efforts. In addition to the $1 million commitment, Kraft is providing several ways to help their employees extend a helping hand including a matching gifts program, food and clothing drives, and other volunteer efforts. Read more about the dairy industry’s contributions to the relief effort in this month’s Udder End, page 100.
Dallas-based Dean Foods has announced Alan Bernon will assume the presidency of Dean Dairy Group, effective January 1, 2006. Bernon is currently chief operating officer of Dean Dairy Group’s Northeast Region and has been a member of Dean Foods’ board of directors since 1997.
In response to mounting pressure from health advocates, Coca-Cola, Pepsico and the rest of the soft drink industry are voluntarily banning sugary soda in elementary and middle schools and restricting sales in high schools, the American Beverage Association announced in August. The move is seen as a bow to concerns over childhood nutrition and obesity, and one that could ultimately be good for the dairy industry, since more milk is likely to be sold to fill the void. Pepsi has launched its own new milk beverage (see this month’s New Products, page 88), while Coke is pursuing a controlling interest in a manufacturer of popular milk beverages. Coca-Cola Enterprises and North Palm Beach, Fla.-based Bravo Foods International Corp. have announced a 10-year exclusive distribution deal in the United States. The agreement begins in the fourth quarter of 2005 and gives the soft drink giant the right to distribute Bravo’s vitamin-fortified and flavored milk Slammers®.
In comments filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 18, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., commended the government’s effort to establish “general principles” to update food Standards of Identity, but asked that the FDA choose an approach that would allow for timely and across-the-board modernization of these regulations. IDFA was responding to a public call for input on the joint FDA-U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed guiding principles on food standards, 40 percent of which cover dairy products.
DTN, Omaha, Neb., has launched an Internet version of DTN Dairy™, one of the industry’s only sources of comprehensive dairy-specific market, weather and news information available directly to customers with a single subscription. Through DTN Dairy online, dairy producers continuously receive a complete package of market analysis and commentary, real-time quotes, milk production information, highly localized weather and industry news.
Oakhurst Dairy, Portand, Maine, has unveiled a new cooler facility. The cooler supplements a smaller “hi-rise” cooler facility built in 1992 that had reached capacity. New raw milk receiving bays also are part of the project. The construction was prompted by several years of double-digit growth that saw increased business for Oakhurst in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts.
In August, Morton Grove, Ill.-based Lifeway Foods Inc., received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) listing product misbranding and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) violations among the deviations found after an inspection of the company’s manufacturing plant, L.F.I. Enterprises Inc. The FDA identified Lifeway’s Plain Whipped, Vegetable, Strawberry, Lox and Onion, and Lox and Chives cream cheese varieties, as well as Sea Specialties Cream Cheese & Lox, as misbranded. Based on the recipe the company provided the investigator, the products do not conform to the definitions and standards in that they contain sour cream, which is not permitted by the standards, says the FDA. Records also indicated the plant had not been registered with the FDA. In other company news, Lifeway has begun distribution of its kefir products to a limited test market of up to 17 Chicago-area Wal-Mart stores.