From the announcement of the merger between Dow Chemical and DuPont to ongoing food safety issues within Chipotle, below are some interesting reads from this week:
DuPont and Dow Merger
If you haven’t heard by now, surely you must be living under a rock. It was announced earlier this week that mega chemical companies, Dow Chemical and DuPont, are in talks for what might be the biggest merger we’ve seen within Industry this year.
The two chemical giants will be merging into what analysts have concluded will be a $130 billion dollar company (DowDuPont). After 18-24 months following the final merge, the conglomerate with then split into three different public companies, segments focused on agriculture, including seeds and pesticides; materials, including coatings, plastics and industrial chemicals; and specialty products, including chemicals key to the electronics, biosciences and health industries.
This affects Industry because together, they would form the world’s largest seed and pesticide company, controlling around 17% of global pesticide sales and roughly 40% of America’s corn and soybean markets.
According to Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch, “Any merger that consolidates this market into fewer hands will give farmers fewer choices and put them at even more economic disadvantage. The Department of Justice needs to block this merger to prevent the further corporate control of the basic building blocks of the food supply.”
What’s going on at Chipotle?
The E. coli outbreak in the Pacific Northwest late last month seemed unusual for the beloved brand, but resulted in 43 locations being closed out of precaution when only six of those locations were actually affected. The overly cautious closings were meant to help squander the fear of the public regarding Chipotle’s food safety practices and ensure the issue was promptly addressed and corrected. However, issues continue to arise.
Since the announcement of the closings, there have been similar cases linked to Chipotle in seven more states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and then there's the blow that came on Monday when at least 140 Boston College students fell ill after eating at the local Chipotle. Although health officials have announced the cause of the foodborne illness cases are linked to the norovirus and not E. coli. Some relief I guess you can say.
If that weren’t enough, just today health officials announced the closing of another Seattle location for repeated food safety violations within the past year, another large blow to the perception of food safety within Chipotle for customers.
To help aid in the rebuilding of the company’s public image, Chipotle has hired food safety consultants to work with locations and employees, and has promised it will be the safest place to eat.
Retaliation Tariffs Approved for COOL
As mentioned in our last Friday Food News update, a group of senators urged leadership to repeal COOL, a law that would require countries like Canada and Mexico to include country of origin labels on their imported meats.
This law received backlash from both Canada and Mexico, in which both countries felt it would harm products sold within the U.S. In retaliation for such a law being passed, Canada and Mexico stated they would impose high tariffs on imported U.S. products. And just this week, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has authorized both countries to demand more than $1 billion in tariffs on U.S products in response to COOL. Canada is authorized at $780 million, and Mexico at $228 million.
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