EU tackles horse meat scandal
The discovery of horse meat in beef products could spur “a blizzard” of European regulations for the food industry, as agriculture ministers meet today in Brussels and British cattle prices climb to records.
Ireland, which holds the European Union’s six-month rotating presidency, will convene an informal meeting of relevant agriculture ministers and the EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy Tonio Borg. France, the EU’s largest beef producer, will push for compulsory labeling of the origin of meat in processed food, Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said.
Supermarkets in the U.K., France, Ireland and Germany removed frozen beef burgers and lasagnas from shelves and France has threatened sanctions for negligence and fraud. Catherine Brown, the head of the U.K.’s Food Standard Agency, called on retailers to also test pork and chicken products for cross-contamination.
“This is going to run and run now as it spreads across Europe,” said Bryan Roberts, director of retail at market researcher Kantar Retail in London. “For now, it’s contained to beef and supermarkets but it will be really worrying if it starts hitting food services in hospitals and schools. We’ve seen a political response now with the horse meat summit and while that is good for consumers, the industry will no doubt be hit with a blizzard of red tape now.”
Maker’s Mark changes content
The producer of Maker’s Mark bourbon is cutting — probably permanently — the amount of alcohol in each bottle of the famous Kentucky whiskey. The alcohol volume is being lowered from its historic level of 45 percent to 42 percent — or 90 proof to 84 proof.
The brand known for its square bottles sealed in red wax has struggled to keep up with demand that more than doubled the past seven years. Distribution has been squeezed and the popular premium brand has had to curtail shipments to some overseas markets.
Netflix will create cartoon
Subscription video provider Netflix said it will team with DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. to create its first original cartoon series for kids.
The series will be based on DreamWorks’ upcoming movie, Turbo, which is about a snail who gets the power of super speed after getting in a freak accident.
Netflix has been adding original programming to its roster of movies, and debuted the original series House of Cards on Feb. 1.
TIRE & RUBBER
Michelin expects flat 2013
Michelin & Cie., Europe’s largest tire maker and the world’s second-largest behind Bridgestone, forecast no growth in sales volume and earnings in 2013 as a recession that hurt the region’s car and truck industries held back profit gains last year.
Michelin said profits rose 7.5 percent last year. Michelin reported $28.75 billion in sales, up 5.8 percent from $27.9 billion in 2011 but slightly below forecasts of $29 billion by analysts surveyed by financial analyst firm FactSet.
The company said 2012 profits were $2.1 billion, up from $1.96 billion the year before.
Operating profit excluding one-time items rose 25 percent to $3.2 billion from $2.6 billion a year earlier.
Earnings missed the $3.4 billion average of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg News.
Michelin said last September it plans to invest $2.1 billion to $2.96 billion a year through 2015 to fuel an expansion and to reach an operating income of about $3.4 billion that year, with positive annual free cash flow through the period. Michelin said Tuesday that it’s sticking to the strategy, and announced plans to raise the dividend 14 percent to $3.23 a share.
Dow ends day above 14,000
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 47.46 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 14,018.70. The close was the best since Oct. 12, 2007, and 1 percent off its record close of 14,164.53, set Oct. 9, 2007.
Financial stocks boosted blue chips with Bank of America Corp. leading the way with a 3.3 percent gain. Shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co. rose 1 percent, Travelers Cos. advanced 0.9 percent, and American Express Co. closed 0.4 percent higher.
Coca-Cola Co. was the worst performer on the Dow industrials, declining 2.7 percent, after the beverage giant’s quarterly revenue growth came in below analyst estimates.
The S&P 500 index advanced 2.42 points, or 0.2 percent, to 1,519.43. The Nasdaq composite index, after a brief swing into positive territory, closed down 5.51 points, or 0.2 percent, at 3,186.49.
Compiled from staff and wire reports