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Nestle responds to allegations over FDA compliance

BY Allison Cerra

SOLON, Ohio The situation described in the June 26 edition of the Wall Street Journal bears no relation to Nestle’s recent voluntary withdrawal of Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough, the company stated.

In response to the the article published in the newspaper, Nestle said that it “always fully cooperates with the regulatory authorities wherever it operates, and Nestle is fully cooperating with the Food and Drug Administration at our Danville, Va., plant in this matter. To date, no E.coli 0157:H7 has been found in our plant or in any Nestle product.”

Nestle also said that it rejected the Wall Street Journal’s implication that it did not cooperate with the FDA. The company pointed out that during an inspection of its plant in September 2006, no food safety issues were identified and that it passed its regulatory inspection.

“It is our standard policy to provide the FDA and other government agencies access during routine inspections to all reports that are required by law,” Nestle said of its compliance with the FDA. “Nestle continues to fully cooperate with the FDA on this ongoing investigation, and is openly sharing all requested information.”

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Report: Kimberly-Clark to cut 1,600 jobs

BY DSN STAFF

CHICAGO Kimberly-Clark said on Thursday that it would cut about 1,600 salaried jobs, or roughly 3% of its workforce, as it tries to trim costs and respond faster to rivals and store brands.

The latest move comes four years after the maker of Kleenex tissues kicked off a three-and-a-half year cost-cutting plan that included slashing about 6,000 jobs and closing about 20 manufacturing plants.

The plan announced on Thursday does not include closing any facilities. Kimberly-Clark had said in April that it expected to cut jobs in the second and third quarters as it tries to squeeze more costs out of the organization.

Its household products, such as Kleenex and Huggies diapers, have faced stiff competition from lower-cost store brands sold by such retailers as Walmart as consumers cut back. At the same time, its K-C Professional division has been pressured because the restaurants and other businesses it serves have been hit hard by the recession.

The move is “likely a necessary step” to allow Kimberly-Clark to invest in such areas as advertising and promotion as it tries to protect its market share, Sanford Bernstein analyst Ali Dibadj said.

Procter & Gamble in particular, has stepped up its push to grab cash-strapped consumers with lower-priced versions of Bounty paper towels and Charmin toilet paper, as well as a lower-cost line of diapers, Luvs. Kimberly-Clark competes directly with P&G in those categories.

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Pepsi Bottling Group taps Mexico market with energy drink

BY Allison Cerra

SOMERS, N.Y. The Pepsi Bottling Group announced a multi-year agreement to distribute ROCKSTAR Energy Drink in Mexico, part of PBG’s strategy to strengthen and diversify its global brand portfolio by expanding into high-growth segments.

Under the terms of the agreement, PBG will have exclusive rights to distribute ROCKSTAR products throughout all of its Mexico territories. PBG already distributes the brand in the United States and Canada.

PBG will begin distributing ROCKSTAR in Mexico in July. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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