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FDA approves Coca-Cola, PepsiCo sweeteners derived from stevia plant

BY Jenna Duncan

ATLANTA, GEORGIA and PURCHASE, N.Y. The Food and Drug Administration has announced that a sweetener derived from the stevia plant that were developed by Cargill and Coca-Cola, and one developed by PepsiCo, have been approved for use in foods and beverages.

Coca-Cola and Cargill had partnered to develop the branded sweetener Truvia which will be used to sweeten soft drinks and fruit-flavored beverages, the companies have said.

PepsiCo’s PureVia sweetener, also created from a process using rebiana, a natural extract from the South American –native stevia plant, also received designation as “generally safe” for human consumption.

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Pilgrim’s Pride CEO and COO resign

BY Melissa Valliant

PITTSBURG, Texas Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., one of the largest chicken producers in the United States, announced Tuesday that its CEO and COO have stepped down due to the bankruptcy process that it started earlier this month when it filed for bankruptcy.

President and CEO Clint Rivers, as well as chief operating officer Robert Wright, have resigned. Don Jackson, formerly president of Foster Farms’ poultry division, will be filling the role of president and chief executive, following approval by the bankruptcy court. In the meantime, Lonnie Ken Pilgrim, the company’s board chairman, will be interim president.

The company plans to restructure its operations but will be operating as usual while it determines its next steps out of bankruptcy.

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Cargill acquires two of Carneco’s meat processing facilities

BY Jenna Duncan

COLUMBUS, Ohio Cargill Value Added Meats, part of Cargill Inc., has said that it will complete its acquisition of Carneco Foods by January. The companies announced that they had come to terms on a purchase agreement Thursday for Cargill to buy two of Carneco’s processing plants, reports said.

Cargill Value Added Meats was searching for a new operating plant after it lost its Booneville, Ark., facility to a fire March 23. by fire on Easter Sunday. Cargill Value Added Meats president, John O’Carroll, told the press that Cargill was approached by Lopez Foods, the owner of Carneco, and Lopoez offered to sell its two facilities. O’Carroll also said that originally Cargill has planned to open a new plant in Texas.

Carneco is the maker of beef chubs, frozen beef patties and pre-packaged fresh ground beef.

Details of the buyout are said to be finalized on or around Jan. 2, 2009.

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