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Steve Sanger steps down as General Mills’ chief executive officer

BY Tara Smith

MINNEAPOLIS Steve Sanger stepped down as chief executive officer of General Mills Monday and will be succeeded by Kendall Powell, the company’s president and chief operations officer. Sanger, who served as General Mills chairman and chief executive officer for more than 12 years, will continue as chairman to the end of the current fiscal year in May 2008.

“The board and I have great confidence that Ken [Powell] will be an outstanding chief executive officer of General Mills,” said Sanger. “Ken’s commitment to our culture and the development of our people make him uniquely qualified to lead General Mills in the next phase of our long-term growth.”

Sanger’s record will be a tough act to follow for Powell, who noted that since Sanger became chief executive officer in 1995, company sales have more than doubled to exceed $12 billion in fiscal 2007 and return to shareholders averaged 10 percent compounded annually over the period. Powell, himself, has held a number of management assignments over his 28-year career with General Mills, most recently as president and COO of the company in June 2006.

“It has been a great privilege for me to serve as Chief Executive Officer of General Mills,” Sanger said, “and I look forward to seeing General Mills continue to grow and prosper in the years ahead.”

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Dentists smile on sugarless gum’s impact

BY Tara Smith

CHICAGO Wrigley Co. today announced its received the American Dental Association’s seal for its Orbit, Extra and Eclipse sugarless gums. The gum brands are the first to receive the seal, which is found on Crest toothpaste and Listerine mouthwash, among other products, with Wrigley convincing the ADA that consumers can fight cavities while chewing sugarless gum.

“What consumers want from a chewing gum isn’t just flavor or fresh breath,” said Martin Schlatter, Wrigley’s marketing chief. “They also want oral health.”

A three-year clinical study found chewing Orbit, Extra and Eclipse sugarless gum strengthens teeth and creates saliva that reduces plaque acids.

Although ADA executives said no payment is involved for Wrigley’s use of the seal, Wrigley paid $36,000 to submit the three gums for scrutiny and will pay a $2,500 annual “maintenance” fee to use the seal to help defray the program’s cost.

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Vitasoy launches breast health education initiative

BY Tara Smith

AYER, Mass. Vitasoy announced Friday the launch of a breast health education initiative tackling the misperception that soy may be risky for people with breast cancer to include in their diet.

As part of the initiative, the company will serve complimentary soymilk to participants October?s breast health month activities. Additionally, the company is promoting its pink 8-ounce chocolate organic soymilks, which feature the breast health movement?s iconic pink ribbon symbol and information to sign up for the Vitasoy breast health e-newsletter atwww.vitasoy-usa.com/breasthealth.

“Soymilk is safe for people with a history of cancer when it is taken as part of a healthy diet,” said Suzanne Dixon, an recognized expert in cancer nutrition. “It also supports overall health because it is cholesterol-free, high in protein and a good source of calcium and other vitamins and minerals.”

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