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Authorities say Chinese government was warned about food production standards

BY Jenna Duncan

SHIJIAZHUANG, China Chinese authorities have said that the country’s food producers as well as bureaucrats had plenty of warnings about poor safety and quality standards in food and drug production, but failed to respond before milk contaminated with an industry additive called melamine was used in products such as baby formula and candy, The New York Times today reported.

China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had promised about a year ago to initiate a nationwide review of safety standard for food, drug and other consumables made in China to assure that regulations were kept and safety standard maintained, reports said. Additionally, the Chinese government put $1.1 billion towards inspecting food and drug production companies and assigned 300,000 inspectors

Prime Minister Wen publically apologized for the release of the tainted baby formula to market which has so far led to 53,000 reports of children getting sick and at least three deaths. Analysts have also said that the scandal has devastated the dairy industry in China, according to reports.

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Campbell reports 14 percent dividend increase

BY Jenna Duncan

CAMDEN, N.J. Campbell Soup Company announced Thursday a 14 percent rise in its quarterly dividend bringing shares up to $0.25 per share (from $0.22 per share).

“This dividend increase demonstrates our ongoing commitment to creating shareowner value and reflects our confidence in the long-term growth prospects of Campbell,” said Douglas R. Conant, president and chief executive officer of Campbell.

As of the close of Oct. 6, the dividend payouts will be payed to shareholders on record by Nov. 3, the company has said. Reports have indicated that the dividend will increase annually from $0.88 per share to $1.00 per share.

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Coca-Cola Foundation gifts $300,000 to railroad conservation project

BY Jenna Duncan

ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Foundation this week announced that it would bestow a total of $300,000 in grant monies to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a project working towards converting abandoned rail lines into hiking trails around Chicago, New Orleans, New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Washington, D.C.

“Coca-Cola is committed to helping ensure the vitality of our communities,” chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation Ingrid Saunders Jones said in a statement. “This grant is an expression of our commitment to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s goal of creating trails that place 90 percent of Americans within three miles of a safe and healthy community trail system.”

The grant is part of an ongoing commitment by Coke to RTC. Coca-Cola donated $500,000 to the RTC for work on trails in the United States in 2005. In its local community, some of the funds from Coca-Cola’s past gifts were used to construct Gateway Park at the Georgia/Atlanta stateline.

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