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Mars announces production plant expansion

BY Jenna Duncan

ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa. Mars on Monday announced the expansion of one of its production facilities in Pennsylvania. The new wing, which cost $70 million to construct, was built on to one of Mars’ heritage factories, built in 1915.

President of Mars Snackfood U.S., Todd Lachman, said that the expansion comes as a response to growing sales of Mars’ Dove chocolate candies. Accordin to Lachman, demand for Dove has grown by about 20 percent in the last year—a rate that is four times the amount of growth of the premium chocolate category.

 At present, two dedicated Dove Promises production lines are up and running. Mars said that expansion has added 30 jobs to the employment roster.

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Pepsi sets new challenge: get more eco-friendly

BY Jenna Duncan

PURCHASE, N.Y. PepsiCo today announced the launch of two new Web sites, PepsiEcoChallenge.com and PepsiRecycling.com, which are geared towards promoting environmental awareness and urging users to become more active in sustainability efforts.

At PepsiEcoChallenge.com, three categories—energy, water and packaging—detail things that people can do every day to lessen their carbon footprint. The site urges people to lower water consumption by 20 percent, reduce the use of electricity by 20 percent and lessen dependence on fuels by 25 percent before the year 2015.

At PepsiRecycling.com, visitors are invited to take the Pepsi Recycling Challenge and promise to recycle more beverage cans and bottles. Site viewers can also register to enter different sweepstakes contests with prizes ranging from T-shirts and bicycles to Smart Cars. Furthermore, every Pepsi Stuff point entered in sweepstakes on the site will equal a $0.10-cent contribution to Keep America Beautiful.

“The Eco Challenge theme draws on our heritage with the Pepsi Challenge,” vice president of marketing for PepsiCo North America, Victor Melendez, said in a statement. “As the Web site points out, today’s challenge goes beyond the cola wars. The Eco Challenge is about protecting our planet’s resources for generations to come—a challenge that cuts across brands, companies, industries and even continents.”

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FDA readies to begin tests for pesticides in food products

BY Alaric DeArment

FOSTER CITY, Calif. The Food and Drug Administration has purchased seven machines that test for harmful pesticides in the food supply, the company that makes the machines announced Monday.

Applied Biosystems said the FDA had purchased its 4000 QTRAP systems, specialized mass spectrometers that detect trace levels of contaminants by analyzing compounds based in their molecular composition.

“The government’s efforts to increase food safety are directly impacted by the accuracy and reproducibility of the scientific information used to conduct the critical analysis that determines whether food is contaminated and a threat to the health of the general public,” said Laura Lauman, president of Applied Biosystems’ proteomics and small molecule division.

The machines will be installed at FDA field offices in Jefferson, Ark., Irvine, Calif., Lenexa, Kan., Jamaica, N.Y., College Park, Md., Bothell, Wash., and Atlanta.

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