Mondelez says R&D site remains closed

Mondelez says R&D site remains closed

Global snacks group Mondelez International has revealed an R&D site in New Jersey is still closed in the wake of the super storm Hurricane Sandy that swept across the eastern parts of the US this week.

Food manufacturers that shut facilities ahead of the storm hitting the region on Monday evening local time are reopening some of the sites.

Mondelez, which owns brands including Oreo biscuits and Cadbury chocolate, said its sales, distribution and manufacturing were "operational", including three production plants that were in the path of the storm.

Its regional HQ in East Hanover in New Jersey reopened yesterday (31 October) but an R&D facility just three miles west in Whippany is closed because of a loss of power. Local reports said today 95% of East Hanover was without power.

"Our sales, distribution and manufacturing are operational today, including our three manufacturing plants that were in the path of the storm. Our ability to re-stock the shelves of our customers will depend on the safety and accessibility of the roads, and whether or not our customers are receiving deliveries," the company told just-food.

Unilever, meanwhile, said its US headquarters in Englewood in New Jersey had opened today "on a limited basis". A spokesperson said: "Safety remains our paramount concern and we're happy to report that our employees are safe and our factories, warehouses and distribution centers are operational.

"Given the situation in and around metropolitan New York and northern New Jersey, we're encouraging employees to tend to their families and personal business first and, where possible, to work from home or other nearby locations."

Hershey, which was among the food manufacturers operating in the region to have closed sites before the hurricane hit the region, said all its facilities in Pennsylvania reopened yesterday.

Wal-Mart Stores said today it had 14 of its outlets across New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania still closed. Its closures had reached a maximum of 294 stores.

Delhaize Group, the Belgium-based retailer with stores across the north-east of the US, said only one outlet, a Bottom Dollar Food shop, remained closed. It had shut 135 of its stores earlier in the week.

Reports say there have been over 80 deaths in eight US states as a result of the storm, which hit the US in Atlantic City at 2000 ET on Monday but engulfed swathes of the eastern part of the US. It is estimated to have been 1,100 miles in size. Reports in Canada say two people there died as a result of the storm.