The Hershey Co. (Hershey, PA) and Lance Inc. (Charlotte, NC) have reported that their peanut snacks and confections are not involved in the extensive recall of products containing peanut butter from Peanut Corp. of America (Lynchburg, VA) that has received wide publicity over the past week.
Hershey said that no products it makes, including Reese's items, are affected by the recall. "Hershey does not purchase any peanut butter, peanuts or peanut products from the Peanut Corp. of America," the company explained. "Peanut butter for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups is made in Hershey facilities under the most stringent safety and quality standards.
"All of our products are safe to consume," Hershey emphasized. "This includes all items sold to other food companies and used as ingredients in other products."
Lance, which has built its business since 1913 largely on its peanut expertise, also reported that its products have not been implicated in the salmonella scare. "Lance manufactures 100% of the peanut butter used in its sandwich crackers," the company explained, "and does not receive peanut butter from the supplier involved in the recall.
"Lance enforces a very stringent food safety program with the raw ingredients and final product coming in and out of Lance facilities - particularly with peanut butter," the snack producer emphasized. "Lance regularly conducts extensive microbial testing of its peanut butter to ensure only high-quality, safe food ingredients are used."
The Food Safety Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture visited Lance's Charlotte bakery on January 14, in response to news of the recalls. "After reviewing the Lance food safety programs and records specific to peanut butter, Lance was given a clean bill of health," the company said.
Kellogg Announces Precautionary Hold On Peanut Butter Crackers
BATTLE CREEK, MI — Kellogg Co. has announced it has taken the precautionary measure of putting a hold on Austin and Keebler branded Toasted Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Crackers, Cheese and Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, and Peanut Butter-Chocolate Sandwich Crackers.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies have indicated that Peanut Corp. of America is the focus of their investigation into a recent Salmonella outbreak thought to be caused by tainted peanut butter. PCA is one of several peanut paste suppliers that the company uses in its Austin and Keebler branded peanut butter sandwich crackers.
Kellogg Co.'s investigation has not indicated any concerns, nor has the company received any consumer illness complaints about these products. Nonetheless, Kellogg Co. is taking precautionary measures including putting a hold on any inventory in its control, removing product from retail store shelves and encouraging customers and consumers to hold and not eat these products until regulatory officials complete their investigation.
While no additional consumer action is necessary at this time, consumers with questions or who would like a product refund can call the Kellogg Consumer Response Center at (888) 314-2060.
New Appliance Condenses Drinking Water From Air
CONCORD, MA — Computer-aided drafting and design software is playing an increasing role in bringing environmentally friendly technology to market, according to Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., a subsidiary of Paris-based Dassault Systèmes S.A.
A recent example is a line of appliances that condense pure drinking water from the atmosphere. Dassault noted that more than a billion people lack access to clean water, according to the United Nations. Many others arguably pay too much for water infrastructure, transportation and packaging.
For that reason, Island Sky USA (Hollywood, FL) has developed a patented technology for transforming water vapor from the atmosphere into potable water. It's the latest in a series of sustainability-focused innovations designed with software.
"High-quality water is typically transported from springs, distilled, perhaps packaged, and transported again, leaving a considerable carbon footprint," said Island Sky vice-president of engineering George Dubois. "Our mission is to provide low cost, high- quality drinking water to people in every corner of the world, and to supply critical emergency drinking water equipment to relief agencies for crisis areas where potable water is unavailable."
Island Sky has developed two pure-water delivery products: Skywater 14, a home/office model resembling a conventional water dispenser, and Skywater 300, a larger, higher-capacity outdoor model just entering mass production.
Other "green" breakthroughs designed with SolidWorks software include the BigBelly trash bin, an onsite solar-powered trash compactor; ultraviolet-light drinking water disinfection systems from Trojan Technologies; and the Reee chair, a stackable chair made entirely from discarded videogame consoles, along with other products that reduce dependence on oil, gas or electricity.
Hershey Museum Adds Attraction Showcasing Founder's Vision
HERSHEY, PA — The Hershey Museum has relocated to Hershey's reviving downtown area, and has added a new section celebrating the life and legacy of chocolate magnate and philanthropist Milton S. Hershey.
The museum - renamed The Hershey Story - opened in its new quarters on Jan. 9. A major attraction is an interactive exhibition, "the Museum Experience," that places visitors inside the imagination of Milton Hershey. Visitors can create their own exhibit experience using three audio listening stations, advanced mini-theaters and 11 interactive touchscreens.
The Hershey Story features a "Chocolate Lab," inspired by Milton Hershey's own candymaking apprenticeship and flair for experimentation. It explores the unique qualities of chocolate through playful, hands-on experiences, with classes on grinding cocoa beans by hand and chocolate tempering, molding and dipping. Schoolchildren can use chocolate's raw ingredients and various tools to learn about geography, history, economics and science.
The $23.5 million museum is located on Chocolate Ave., adjacent to the Hershey Press Building, making it a centerpiece of a revitalized downtown Hershey. It is the first landmark building to be built on Chocolate Ave. in the last 75 years. Details may be found online at hersheystory.org.
AVT Sees New Media Download Terminal Altering Consumer Habits
CORONA, CA — AVT Inc. (formerly Automated Vending Technologies) believes that its AVTi Media "Movies in a Flash" dispensing center is part of a major change in the way consumers will watch movies.
AVT founder Shannon Illingworth explained that the dispensing center is designed to transfer high- definition movies, as well as music, games, books and other digital content, to a user-owned USB flash memory device. "This will allow customers to choose from thousands of media downloads for their entertainment pleasure," he predicted. "This is part of the 'greening of America,' because we reduce the use of gas, paper products, discarded defective goods and other trash, while saving consumers time and reducing inventory control and other costs."
A recent Wall Street Journal story that speculates how AVT's next generation vending system is central to the new ways consumers will watch DVDs is available at the company's website.
AVT has developed several vending machine technologies that provide methods for cashless payment, remote tracking and inventory management, and dynamic advertising.
Compass Group Acquires KIMCO Plant Maintenance Organization
CHARLOTTE, NC — Compass Group PLC has announced the acquisition of the North American KIMCO Corp. from the Tarson family.
With 5,500 employees, KIMCO provides caretaking, cleaning, catering, waste disposal and grounds maintenance services to commercial and industrial customers across North America. Compass Group paid $75 million in cash for the acquisition, and has agreed to a further performance-related payment of a maximum of $15 million.
Officials said the KIMCO acquisition enables the company to deliver services to additional segments of the market and positions Eurest Services, its business-and- industry sector brand, for continued growth in North America.
Compass Group, one of the world's leading onsite foodservice companies, provides food, vending and related services on client premises. It's online at compass-group.com.