Catching up is hard to do

We hope you had a wonderful holiday season, but it's difficult to stay abreast of the news when you are not online 24/7. December 2010 brought many legislative changes, among them the long-awaited $1.4 billion FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law by President Obama during the lame duck session of Congress. Republicans in the House warned they might not approve funding.


DeMet's Candy Co., owned by Brynwood Partners private equity fund, acquired the TrueNorth snack nut brand from Frito-Lay North America, a division of PepsiCo. The TrueNorth line includes pistachio crisps, almond clusters, almond pecan cashew clusters, pecan almond peanut clusters and almond cranberry crisps and will be merged into the DeMets portfolio of brands -- Turtles, Flipz, Treasures and Stixx. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


Other notable news includes: The Dannon Co. reached an agreement with 39 state attorneys general to pay $21 million to settle marketing claims made for its Activia yogurt and DanActive dairy drink, and agreed to stop claiming that one daily serving of Activia relieves irregularity, and that DanActive helps people avoid catching colds or the flu. Dannon has not admitted any wrongdoing, and said it will continue to advertise the core benefits of its products, that Activia helps to regulate the digestive system and DanActive helps to support the immune system; The Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) acquired the outstanding capital stock of Alimenta (USA), Inc. from Alimenta S.A., a trading company based in Geneva. ADM now controls 100% of the Golden Peanut Company LLC, Alpharetta, Ga., which processes and exports peanuts, peanut oil and peanut-derived ingredients. Financial terms were not disclosed; Dublin-based Fusion Nutraceuticals says it created a process that yields a sweetener with "the appearance, taste and feel of sugar" and fewer calories, reports FoodNavigator. The company says it is "at an advanced stage" of developing a sucralose-based product with 1.7 calories per teaspoon, for use in confectionery, cereal and soft drinks; and McDonald's has officially upped the ante on the quick-service breakfast wars with a national roll out of fruit and maple oatmeal, reports Available at all 14,000 U.S. stores all day, the oatmeal is made of 100-percent natural whole grain oats, light cream and brown sugar, and is topped with diced red and green apples, dried cranberries and two types of raisins and is made upon request for $1.99 a bowl.


Investors are betting that Downers Grove-based Sara Lee Corp. will be broken up or sold in the coming months, reports the Chicago Tribune. With its stock price up nearly 50 percent over the last year, the worst thing that could happen for shareholders, at least in the short term, is for it to do nothing, analysts say."It's trading at a very high multiple, which implies it's a potential takeout," Erin Swanson, an analyst with Chicago-based Morningstar Inc., said.