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Egg supplier faces cruelty allegations

MINNEAPOLIS — McDon­ald’s Corp. said Fri­day it has dropped a Minnesota-based egg supplier after an animal rights group released an undercover video of operations at the egg producer’s farms in three states.

The video by Mercy for Animals shows what the group calls animal cruelty at five Sparboe Farms facilities in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado. Its images include a worker swinging a bird around by its feet, hens packed into cramped cages, male chicks being tossed into plastic bags to suffocate and workers cutting off the tips of chick’s beaks.

“The behavior on tape is disturbing and completely unacceptable,” said Bob Langert, McDonald’s vice president for sustainability.

The move also follows a warning letter to Sparboe Farms this week from the Food and Drug Administration saying inspectors found serious food safety violations at five Sparboe facilities.

A Sparboe Companies LLC spokesman said the company has a “zero-tolerance policy” for animal abuse or cruelty.

Heinz confronts new economic realities

PORTLAND, ORE. — H.J. Heinz Co.’s second-quarter profit fell yet narrowly beat expectations on an adjusted basis Friday as it focused on fast-growing emerging markets.

In struggling developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe, the world’s biggest ketchup maker is shrinking product sizes and selling lower-priced products such as ketchup for 99 cents and beans for around a dollar to appeal to budget-stretched shoppers.

Heinz also announced plans to close three more plants – not identified yet – as it tries to keep its costs under tighter control.

Heinz said that to meet cost-conscious consumers’ needs, it is selling pouches instead of bottles of some of its condiments, reintroducing bean products to the U.S. and selling a bag of french fries for family dinners at $1.99.

Troubled poker site has potential buyer

LAS VEGAS — A French investment group hoping to buy an online poker operator dogged with legal troubles in the United States has a preliminary agreement with prosecutors that would broker a sale and help gamblers get their money back.

Benham Dayanim, a lawyer for Groupe Bernard Tapie, said Friday that he received a signed letter of agreement Thursday from the U.S. attorney’s office in New York that could broker Full Tilt Poker’s sale.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

“It’s the first step in a process,” Dayanim said. “What it provides is that if the Full Tilt companies agree to forfeit their assets to the United States, the United States will sell those assets to Groupe Bernard Tapie.”

Full Tilt’s operations in the United States have been shut down since April, when an indictment against executives and others associated with Full Tilt, Poker Stars and Absolute Poker accused them of fraud, money laundering and tricking banks into illegally processing funds for online gambling in defiance of a 2006 law that prohibits the transactions.

In other news

AMAZON.COM INC. is taking a small loss on each $199 Kindle Fire it sells, according to a new report from the research firm IHS iSuppli that pegs the total cost to make each tablet at $201.70.

DEUTSCHE BOERSE AG and NYSE Euronext are offering concessions on their derivatives businesses in a bid to overcome objections to their planned merger from the European Union’s competition watchdog.

DIAMOND CRYSTAL BRANDS Inc., based in Savannah, Ga., is recalling sugar canisters that were inadvertently filled with non-dairy coffee creamer. The recall is for lot G293 B. Cus­tomers affected are asked to call (800) 654-5115 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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Fire Department raises sought

The Augusta Fire Depart­ment will present a pay raise proposal for firefighters and administrators to the county’s public safety committee Monday.
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