Two deaths are being investigated in relation to the outbreak ofE. coli-related illnesses that led to a 545,699-pound recall from Fairbank Farms. At least 28 people have been sickened.

The Centers for Disease Control are investigating the death of a New York adult with underlying medical conditions and that of a New Hampshire resident. New Hampshire state health officials have already attributed that death to E. coli O157:H7 bacteria, according to Reuters. Of the 28 illnesses reported by the CDC, all but three were located in the Northeast U.S. Eighteen of them are located in the New England States.

Source: Reuters

Some U.S. beef officially welcomed into Taiwan

As of Monday, Taiwan has officially opened its borders to U.S. bone-in beef and beef offal products, provided it comes from animals aged 30 months or younger.

"The United States has been looking forward to an announcement from Taiwan authorities that Taiwan would fully open its market to American beef and beef products on the basis of the bilateral protocol we have negotiated," the Department of Agriculture and the US Trade Representative's office said in a joint statement.

Taiwan's premier, Wu Den-yih, rejected the idea of a referendum on U.S. beef imports and dismissed the notion that the government should renegotiate the agreement with the United States. According to the Taiwan News, he said the government has confidence in its ability to protect its citizens' health and savety and will impose strict standards to prevent any questionable imports from entering the country.

As part of the Department of Health's regulations, all frozen ground beef and offal products will have to be defrosted upon arrival in the country, which effectively blocks the products without violating the agreement between the countries. Furthermore, Taiwan's trade authorities will not issue import permits for those products, because the USDA does not issue quality system assessment certificates for ground beef.

"The chances of U.S. ground beef and offal entering Taiwan markets are almost zero," Wu said.

Since Taiwan announced the resumption on bone-in beef imports, opposing political parties and consumer groups have protested the decision, claiming the government was putting its citizens' health at risk. The initial ban was imposed in 2003 as a result of one U.S. cow being diagnosed with BSE. The country resumed boneless beef imports in 2006.

Taiwan's Department of Health stated it was including “other additional domestic measures regarding beef and beef products,” but offered no details. "We are currently reviewing these measures to ensure they allow Taiwan consumers the opportunity to enjoy the same safe American beef and beef products that American families eat," the statement added.

Source: AFP, Taiwan News

Sara Lee to donate $1 for each new Twitter follower

Sara Lee Deli, the maker of Sara Lee Fresh Ideas pre-sliced deli meats, will commemorate National Sandwich Day on Nov. 3 with a campaign designed to contribute the equivalent of an estimated 16,500 sandwiches to Share Our Strength, the leading national organization working to make sure no child in America grows up hungry. During the 24-hour “Deli Difference” Twitter campaign, which will kick-off at midnight Pacific Time on Nov. 3, Sara Lee Deli will contribute $1 for each follower of @SaraLeeDeli on Twitter, up to $25,000.

“National Sandwich Day is a terrific opportunity for us to make a difference and help a hungry child in need,” said Jonathan Drake, vice president, Sara Lee Deli. “We are giving our consumers a simple way to participate in the program and join Sara Lee Deli in the fight against hunger.”

To help raise awareness of the campaign, the brand will be using #sldeli and #delidifference hash tags to spread the word among the Twitter community. The campaign will encourage followers to “re-tweet” (or re-post) campaign messages to help raise awareness about Sara Lee’s initiative to help fight childhood hunger.

“Share Our Strength is committed to ending childhood hunger in America by 2015,” said Chuck Scofield, chief development officer. “We are grateful for the support of Sara Lee Deli and excited to engage more people in the fight against childhood hunger.”

Sara Lee Deli also will celebrate on its Facebook Fan Page, including discussions, polls and various interactive tools for fans to participate in, as well as conversations surrounding this charitable cause. Fans and visitors to the Sara Lee Deli page also will have the opportunity to “celebrate the sandwich” by learning the seven steps to creating an award-winning sandwich, created by Sara Lee Chefs, in addition to tips and fun facts on National Sandwich Day.

Once followers are connected with @SaraLeeDeli on Twitter, they will have easy access to sandwich recipes, kitchen tips and coupon offers throughout the year.

“Sandwiches are the number one lunch and dinner entrée and Sara Lee Fresh Ideas pre-sliced deli meats are a delicious way to build a sandwich,” said Drake. “Coming together with our consumers, our product and Share Our Strength is a great way to celebrate National Sandwich Day and make a difference.”

Source: Sara Lee Corp.

OSI Restaurants names new CEO

OSI Restaurant Partners LLC announced the appointment of Elizabeth (Liz) Smith as its new chief executive officer effective November 16, 2009. Smith succeeds Bill Allen, who will retire as the company's CEO effective November 15, 2009 and will serve as chairman of the Board of Directors. OSI is one of the largest casual dining companies in the world whose portfolio includes Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba's Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar and Roy's restaurants.

Smith joins OSI Restaurant Partners following a five-year tenure with Avon Products Inc., where she served most recently as president. Prior to joining Avon, Smith worked for 14 years at Kraft Foods Inc. rising to the position of group vice president and president of the U.S. Beverages and Grocery sectors, a business with $6 billion in total sales.

"I am delighted to join the talented team at OSI, and believe this is an extraordinary opportunity to unleash the growth potential of a world class company," said Smith. "My career has been devoted to rejuvenating and energizing consumer brand businesses and driving operating excellence. I have been privileged to help lead a successful revitalization of Avon over the past five years by enabling the network of independent sales representatives to operate more effectively, and achieve greater growth in their businesses. I am now thrilled to partner with OSI`s entrepreneurial restaurant operators, everyone on the support team, and the executive leadership to seize the opportunities that lie ahead."

"I am pleased to turn over the reigns to an executive as accomplished as Liz Smith," said Allen, who was appointed CEO in March 2005. "Over the course of her career, she has demonstrated exceptional brand-building prowess, operational expertise, and leadership ability. I am confident she is the right person to move the business forward, and welcome her on behalf of the OSI family. The dedicated people of OSI have accomplished a great deal in the face of the enormous economic challenges of recent times, and I remain grateful for the opportunity I have had to know and work alongside them."

"I am delighted to welcome Liz Smith as our new CEO," said Chris Sullivan, founder of OSI. "Liz is the right leader to take the business to the next level. I also want to thank Bill Allen for his leadership over the past five years. Bill has done an outstanding job managing through a turbulent time, and turns a business over to Liz that is much stronger for his efforts."

Source: OSI Restaurant Partners LLC

Dunkin' Donuts adds new chicken sandwiches to menu

Dunkin' Donuts has introduced two new chicken sandwiches and a tuna sandwich to select markets. The new sandwiches are available at participating Dunkin' Donuts shops in select northeast markets.

Dunkin' Donuts' restaurants throughout New England (excluding Boston and Springfield) and Upstate New York will offer two new varieties of chicken croissant sandwiches and chicken wraps. The new chicken wraps served on a soft flour tortilla will be available for the suggested retail price of $1.49 - $1.79. The new chicken sandwiches will be available for the suggested retail price of $2.49 - $2.99. Varieties include:
* Original Chicken Sandwich, featuring seasoned chicken with ranch sauce and melted Monterey Jack cheese.
* Bacon Jack Chicken Sandwich, featuring seasoned chicken with ranch sauce, Monterey Jack cheese and crispy bacon.

Throughout Metro New York, Dunkin' Donuts shops will offer a new Tuna Sandwich, featuring fresh tuna salad served with or without cheese on an oven-toasted bagel for the suggested retail price of $2.99.

"Customers want new choices to keep them going throughout their afternoon and evening without compromising on convenience, quality or taste," said Dunkin' Donuts Executive Chef Stan Frankenthaler. "By expanding our variety of afternoon offerings to complement our current menu items, Dunkin' Donuts customers have more ways to keep themselves running any time of day."

Source: Dunkin' Donuts