Tomatoes suspected of salmonella
USA: Wal-Mart, Kroger, McDonald's and Burger King are among companies to have halted sales of some raw tomatoes as health officials work to trace the source of a salmonella food poisoning outbreak. The move follows recommendations that consumers avoid red plum, red Roma or round red tomatoes. The source of the tomatoes responsible for illnesses in at least 16 states has not been pinpointed. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that since mid April, 145 people infected with salmonella with the same 'genetic fingerprint' have been identified. At least 23 people have been taken to hospital.

Rewe group raises dairy retail prices
COLOGNE: Rewe Group has this week raised the retail price of milk and butter. Milk prices are up 10c a litre, while butter has been upped by 20c per pack. The move follows protests by German dairy farmers, who halted deliveries to factories to protest against falling prices. They had demanded at least 40c a litre for milk, claiming the average 35c they received was not covering their costs. Reports said supermarkets had faced shortages of dairy products as farmers poured milk down drains or fed it to calves rather than sell it for a loss.

SABMiller to buy Vladpivo brewery
VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA: SABMiller is to acquire the Russian brewer LLC Vladpivo for an undisclosed fee. Vladpivo, the largest brewer in the Russian far east Primorie region, has an annual capacity of one million hectolitres. The value of the gross assets is approximately £35m. The Russian far east represents 7.6% of the Russian beer market and is projected to grow faster than the total Russian beer market from 2007 to 2013. "The acquisition of Vladpivo complements our existing capability and will allow us to expand the presence of our brands ," said James Wilson, managing director of SABMiller in Russia.

Private label perceived poor quality
SOUTH AFRICA: Private-label goods in South Africa are still dogged by a reputation for poor quality, according to Nielsen South Africa. If the image was improved, retailers could earn far more on private-label goods than on major brands, said Nielsen retail director Nigel Thatcher. But retailers had not invested enough in marketing to alter perceptions, he said. Retailer New Clicks said it would work to further boost sales of private-label goods, and Spar said the economic downturn would also help to increase sales.

Albertsons sells off further 49 stores
FLORIDA: Albertsons plans to sell 49 stores to Publix Super Markets by September. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Albertsons has been dubbed the incredible shrinking grocery chain because it was once the United States' number two operator. The 2,500-store chain was sold in 2006 to a consortium that included rival grocer Supervalu, drugstore chain CVS, investment firm Cerberus Capital Management, and Kimco Realty for about £4.85bn. After cherry-picking the best stores, the consortium sold off most of the estate leaving it with around 300 outlets.