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Germany’s development minister has suggested food tainted with horsemeat should be distributed to the poor.

Dirk Niebel said he supported the proposal by a member of the governing CDU party, and concluded: “We can’t just throw away good food.”

The opposition dismissed the idea, but a priest said it should be considered.

Meanwhile, traces of horse DNA have been found in six tons of minced beef and 2,400 packs of lasagne bolognese seized from a company in Italy.

The products were packaged by Italian group Primia, which is based in the town of San Giovanni in Persiceto, near the city of Bologna.

The health ministry said Primia had used meat from another company in Brescia and originally supplied by two other companies, also based there.

It is the first positive test in Italy since the scandal erupted last month.

Earlier, the Italian authorities said they had found no traces of horsemeat in beef products seized this week from the Swiss food giant, Nestle.

The health ministry said the 26 tons of cooked and frozen mince beef meals would be returned. A Nestle spokesman welcomed the decision.

On Monday, Nestle announced that it was withdrawing two types of beef pasta meals from supermarkets in Italy and Spain after test revealed traces of horse DNA.

A problem was identified with a supplier in Germany, H J Schypke, it said.

Another German supplier, Dreistem, has been blamed for recalls of tinned goulash sold by the Lidl in Germany and Scandinavia, while a third, Vossko, has been accused by Liechtenstein’s Hiclona of supplying beef tainted by horse for a pasta product withdrawn in Austria and Germany. All three companies have blamed their own suppliers.

On Friday evening, Germany’s consumer affairs ministry announced that it had now found traces of horse DNA in 67 of 830 food products tested.

Germany's development minister has suggested food tainted with horsemeat should be distributed to the poor

Germany’s development minister has suggested food tainted with horsemeat should be distributed to the poor

On Saturday, a prominent member of the governing CDU party, Hartwig Fischer, told Bild newspaper that products tainted with horsemeat should be distributed to the poor.

The opposition has dismissed the idea as “absurd” and an insult to poor people, but Prelate Bernhard Felmberg, the senior representative of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), has backed the proposal.

“We as a Church find the throw-away mentality in our society concerning. How and whether to distribute the products in question would have to be examined,” the priest said.

“But to throw away food that could be consumed without risk is equally bad as false labelling and cannot be a solution.”

Meanwhile, France’s agriculture ministry said several horse carcasses containing the drug phenylbutazone, also known as bute, had probably entered the human food chain.

A ministry spokesman told the AFP news agency that it was alerted by the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) that six carcasses had been exported to France in January, but that the meat had already been processed. There was only a “minor” health risk, he added.

Earlier, three major French food companies have agreed to use only French beef in their products.

Findus – one of the firms at the heart of the scandal – and retailers Carrefour and Intermarche announced at the French Agricultural Salon that they would start using labels saying “100% French” from March.

French President Francois Hollande has said he wants mandatory labelling of the origin of meat used in processed food products. However, only a change in European Union legislation can compel manufacturers.

European agriculture ministers are expected to discuss origin labelling and meat traceability at a meeting in Brussels on Monday.

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Warren Buffett is set to buy food giant Heinz in a deal worth $28 billion.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company and private equity firm 3G have agreed to take over Heinz, famous for its ketchup and baked beans.

In a statement, Heinz called the deal “historic”, and the largest to date in the food industry.

Shares in Heinz soared nearly 20% in New York to hit the $72.50 price being offered.

And Class A shares in Berkshire Hathaway rose 1% to $149,240 a share – a record closing high.

The takeover has been approved by the company’s board, but still needs to be voted on by shareholders.

“The Heinz brand is one of the most respected brands in the global food industry and this historic transaction provides tremendous value to Heinz shareholders,” said Heinz chairman, president and chief executive William Johnson.

“We look forward to partnering with Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, both greatly respected investors, in what will be an exciting new chapter in the history of Heinz.”

The deal will marry one of the best-known brands in the food industry with one of the US’s most famous businessmen.

Warren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world, having amassed a multi-billion-dollar fortune over decades of investing. His investment expertise has earned him the nickname “the sage of Omaha”.

“It is our kind of company,” Warren Buffett told CNBC.

“I’ve sampled it many times.”

“Anytime we see a deal is attractive and it’s our kind of business and we’ve got the money, I’m ready to go,” he said.

Warren Buffett is set to buy food giant Heinz in a deal worth $28 billion

Warren Buffett is set to buy food giant Heinz in a deal worth $28 billion

3G Capital also owns the fast-food chain Burger King.

The deal will offer shareholders $72.50 a share, a 20% premium on the company’s previous all-time high share price.

Berkshire Hathaway will contribute $12-$13 billion in cash to the deal. In total around $23 billion of the deal will be in cash, with the rest in debt.

Heinz has been operating in the US market since it was founded in Pittsburgh in the late 19th Century.

Heinz says it sells 650 million bottles of its ketchup worldwide every year.

Emerging markets make up around a quarter of its global sales, Heinz said.

At a press conference following the announcement of the deal, 3G Capital’s co-founder Alex Behring assured Heinz employees the 144-year-old business would continue to be headquartered in Pittsburgh. But he said it was too soon to discuss potential cost-cutting measures.

If agreed, the deal would be the latest in a string of big deals announced recently, after merger activity suffered during the global financial crisis.

Earlier American Airlines and US Airways confirmed plans to merge, in an $11 billion deal to create the world’s biggest airline, and last week computer maker Dell announced a planned $24 billion takeover by its founder Michael Dell.

The UK’s Virgin Media is also set to be bought by Liberty Global for $23.3 billion.

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McDonald’s disappointing sales have led the fast food giant to begin testing new menu items, including three new varieties of its prized Quarter Pounders.

The new burgers in development include a Habanero Ranch Quarter Pounder, with white cheddar, hickory-smoked bacon and a new habanero-ranch sauce; a Deluxe Quarter Pounder, with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickle, mayonnaise and mustard; and a Bacon and Cheese Quarter Pounder, with American cheese, bacon, red onion, pickle, mustard and ketchup.

The company is also getting ready to launch a new McMuffin made with egg whites.

McDonald’s is testing its new fast food products during a time of major transition for consumer goods companies in the US, as Nation’s Restaurant News reports.

McDonald’s posted its first monthly sales drop in nine years earlier this month, amid a loss of customers to rival chains such as Burger King. McDonald’s global same-store sales fell 2.2 per cent in October.

Soon after that sales drop made headlines, McDonald’s announced plans to replace its US president, Jan Fields, who has been with the company for more than 35 years and who drove the expansion of its popular McCafe drink menu.

Jan Fields will be replaced by Jeff Stratton, McDonald’s global chief restaurant officer effective December 1, the company said.

“We feel that now was the right time to make a change in leadership for the U.S. business,” company spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem said on November 15.

McDonald's is changing up its menu with three new Quarter Pounder burgers

McDonald’s is changing up its menu with three new Quarter Pounder burgers

McDonald’s chief executive, Don Thompson, recently told investors that slow growth and increased competition in the United States would be a “new normal” for the brand, requiring a greater emphasis on less expensive menu items.

Several factors are impacting McDonald’s declining sales, including the undercooked US economy and high unemployment among younger consumers who tend to favor fast food.

Other fast food chains, including Wendy’s and Yum! Brands, which operates KFC and Pizza Hut, have been suffering similar fates.

McDonald’s operates or franchises more than 34,000 restaurants worldwide, including more than 14,000 in the United States.


In-N-Out Burger, Subway and Wendy’s have emerged as the best fast food chains in a new survey by Zagat.

Zagat food guide, better known for its reviews of upscale restaurants, conducted a large-scale poll for its annual guide, which involved the input of 10,554 voters.

Chains were divided into two categories according to size: those with 100-5,000 U.S. locations and those with over 5,000 U.S. locations.

In-N-Out Burger and Wendy’s emerged as the chains with the best-rated food and overall ratings, while Subway ranked top for popularity and service.

Five Guys was named the chain with the best burger, however, beating Wendy’s and Burger King to the title.

Five Guys in turn was trumped to the title of top french fries by Fast Food giant McDonald’s.

Of course, some might be surprised to see the esteemed restaurant guide turning its hand to fast food in the first place.

The Zagat blog, however, insists that such chains are an important category, given the huge number of meals we consume from them each year.

“The convenience of these establishments makes them super-popular – the surveyors averaged 9.4 meals a month at chains, with 5.8 at fast-food restaurants and 3.6 at full-service eateries,” it read.

“That’s an amazing 1.2 million chain meals per year. Not quite one billion served, but still pretty impressive.”

Zagat reviewers cast verdict on each of the most popular menu items, with KFC taking home the title of Best Fried Chicken, and Chick-fil-A ranking top for the grilled variety.

McDonald’s had the best breakfast sandwiches while Steak ‘n Shake ranked top in the milkshake category.

For those attempting to cut back on calories, Panera Bread had the best healthy options, while Wendy’s was a winner again when it came to the best salads.


LARGE CHAINS (100 to 5,000 U.S. locations)

1. In-N-Out Burger

2. Panera Bread

3. Chipotle

4. Five Guys

5. Chick-fil-A

MEGA CHAINS (over 5,000 U.S. locations)

1. Subway

2. Wendy’s

3. McDonald’s

4. Taco Bell

5. Burger King




1. In-N-Out Burger

2. Papa Murphy’s

3. Chipotle

4. Panera Bread

5. Bojangles’


1. Wendy’s

2. Subway

3. Pizza Hut

4. Taco Bell

5. Burger King




1. In-N-Out Burger

2. Papa Murphy’s

3. Jimmy John’s

4. Fazoli’s

5. Panera Bread


1. Subway

2. Wendy’s

3. Taco Bell

4. Pizza Hut

5. McDonald’s




1. In-N-Out Burger

2. Fazoli’s

3. Panera Bread

4. Papa Murphy’s

5. Chipotle


1. Wendy’s

2. Subway

3. Pizza Hut

4. Taco Bell

5. McDonald’s



1. Five Guys

2. Wendy’s

3. Burger King

4. In-N-Out Burger

5. Fuddruckers



1. McDonald’s

2. Five Guys

3. Burger King

4. Wendy’s

5. Chick-fil-A



McDonald’s became the subject of an outburst of vitriolic hatred on Twitter when critics hijacked a promotional hash-tag created by the fast-food giant.

The critics accused McDonald’s of making customers vomit, serving pig meat from gestation crates and dishing up a burger containing a finger nail.

One fierce opponent claimed he would rather eat his own diarrhea than visit the famous Golden Arches.

Jumping on the social media bandwagon, McDonald’s last week launched a campaign featuring paid-for tweets, which would appear at the top of search results.

An initial hashtag, “#MeetTheFarmers”, meant to promote the corporation’s guarantee of fresh produce, concentrated on wholesome stories about farmers.

McDonald’s tweeted: “Meet Dirk Giannini, McDonald’s lettuce supplier, as he shows u his life on the farm #MeetTheFarmers http://mcd.to/AyvF4M”

All was humdrum until 2:00 p.m. last Wednesday when the global chain sent out two tweets with the more general hash-tag “#McDStories”.

Some marketing whizzkid proclaimed: “When u make something w/pride, people can taste it,” – “McD potato supplier #McDStories http://t.co/HaPM5G9F”

But within minutes the tweets began to go radically off message, as the hash-tag took on a life of its own.

McDonald's became the subject of an outburst of vitriolic hatred on Twitter when critics hijacked a promotional hash-tag created by the fast-food giant

McDonald's became the subject of an outburst of vitriolic hatred on Twitter when critics hijacked a promotional hash-tag created by the fast-food giant

Detractors seized on “#McDStories” as an opportunity to document their alleged horror stories at the Golden Arches.

@jfsmith23 wrote: “Watching a classmate projectile vomit his food all over the restaurant during a 6th grade trip. #McDStories”

One of the worst was @MuzzaFuzza who wrote: “I haven’t been to McDonalds in years, because I’d rather eat my own diarrhea.”

Followers chimed in including @nelo_taylor who wrote: “These #McDStories never get old, kinda like a box of McDonald’s 10 piece”

Social media director Rick Wion told paidcontent.org: “Within an hour, we saw that it wasn’t going as planned,

“It was negative enough that we set about a change of course.”

However the campaign wasn’t a complete failure.

The “#meetthefarmers” hashtag, which escaped the battering, stimulating mostly positive tweets, has stayed put.