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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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Chiquita creates premier rewards program for fruits, vegetables

BY Jenna Duncan

CINCINNATI, Ohio Chiquita Brands International has announced the rollout of its rewards program for consumers who buy Chiquita branded fresh fruits and vegetables.

The “Fresh Funds: Healthy Rewards for Healthy Living” rewards service is the first ever to reward customers for purchasing specially marked produce.

The company has said that its goal in creating the program is to increase repeat purchases by enticing buyers with points that can later be exchanged for bids on auction items online, prizes or donations to select charities. A rotation of weekly prizes will also be offered to rewards members.

Chiquita has said it is specifically targeting professional women who pay close attention to health and wellness.

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