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Booming demand pushes Florida to limit sea cucumber harvest

By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - Florida is capping the number of sea cucumbers that fisherman can pull from state waters after booming Asian demand led to four times as many being harvested in 2013 compared to previous years. The leathery, cylindrical creatures scour ocean floors across the globe feeding on decaying organic matter. Named for their similarity to the vegetable, the marine animals are prized in China, sought for everything from an aphrodisiac to a cure for joint pain.

Confectioners sweet on ADM's decision to keep cocoa business

By Marcy Nicholson NEW YORK (Reuters) - Easter came early for the global chocolate makers this year. Just days before one of the busiest holidays for chocolate sales, Archer Daniels Midland Co <ADM.N> on Tuesday ditched long-running efforts to sell its niche cocoa business, easing concerns that have weighted on the market for months about a possible tie-up with ADM's closest rival.

British consumer watchdog to test for lamb meat substitution

(Reuters) - Britain's Foods Standards Agency (FSA) said it will begin a new round of tests on lamb takeaway meals from restaurants across the UK after the consumer watchdog found evidence of cheaper substitutes such as beef and chicken. The FSA said local authorities were being asked to test 300 samples from restaurants providing takeaway meals and report their findings to the agency. The sampling will start at the beginning of May.

China rejections of GMO U.S. corn cost up to $2.9 billion: group

By Tom Polansek CHICAGO (Reuters) - China's rejections of a banned variety of genetically modified U.S. corn have cost the U.S. agriculture industry up to $2.9 billion, a grain group said on Wednesday in the first estimate on losses from the trade disruptions.

Sodastream in talks to sell up to 16 percent stake: report

(Reuters) - At-home soda maker Sodastream International is in early talks to sell a stake of up to 16 percent to a strategic entity, Israeli financial news daily Calcalist reported on its website. U.S. shares of Sodastream rose as much as 12 percent to $42.25 on Wednesday after the website identified PepsiCo Inc, Dr Pepper Snapple Group or Starbucks Co as the potential investors in the Israel-based company. The website did not cite any sources for its information.

Danone says China recall weighs on first-quarter sales

French dairy food giant Danone reported on Wednesday a slide in first quarter sales as it struggles to turn around its Chinese business amid volatility in currency markets. Total sales in the first three months of the year fell by 5.2 percent from the performance a year earlier to 5.061 billion euros ($7 billion), the company said. The company was hit hard last year but a false health alert by a supplier which caused it to recall products in China and damaged its brand.

Coca-Cola sells more drinks but soda dips; first global soda decline since 1999

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Coca-Cola, the world's biggest beverage maker, said Tuesday that the amount of soda it sold globally fell for first time in 15 years. The drop in the first quarter was offset by stronger sales of its noncarbonated drinks that include Minute Maid, Powerade and Dasani bottled water. Overall volume rose 2 per cent, an improvement from the 1 per cent increase the previous quarter. But the 1 per cent decline in global soda volume is notable for Coca-Cola: The last time the figure fell was in 1999, according to the company.

Coca-Cola sales beat estimates as China volumes soar

By Siddharth Cavale (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue as strong sales in China more than offset a drop in Europe and flat volumes in North America. Coke's shares, which had fallen 3.4 percent in the 12 months to Monday's close, were up 3 percent in early trading. Global case volumes rose 2 percent in the quarter, while those in China rose 12 percent due to increased marketing around the Chinese New Year, the company said on Tuesday.

World Chefs: Jose Garces to put on a show at new restaurant

By Richard Leong NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jose Garces has been practicing his entertaining skills and refining the menu he will cook before guests at his latest fine-dining venture restaurant Volver, set to open on Wednesday in Philadelphia. Performing and cooking before a live audience has become second nature for Garces after he won the title of "Iron Chef," the popular U.S. television cooking competition in 2009.

UN warns banana fungus spreading from Southeast Asia, reaches Jordan and Mozambique

The United Nation's Food and Agriculture organization is warning banana growers that a fungal disease is spreading through crops from Asia to Africa and the Middle East. The U.N. agency says the disease called Fusarium Wilt TR4 has the potential to spread to Latin American banana crops. Bananas are the world's eight most important crop and the fourth most important food crop in poor nations, the U.N. says.
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