The twists and turns of the ongoing peanut butter salmonella scandal in the US caught your attention this week. With the number of illnesses rising and the product recall widening, it remains a tense situation for those manufacturers and retailers caught up in the scare. Elsewhere, US chocolate giant Hershey booked some improving annual results - although confectioners of all sizes will be wary of spiralling cocoa prices.

These were the top ten stories on just-food this week.

US: Peanut butter recall now takes in peanuts
The peanut butter salmonella outbreak in the US has been widened to all peanut and peanut products produced since the start of 2007 at the Georgia plant at the centre of the scandal.

(For the latest in this ongoing saga, visit our pages dedicated to the outbreak).

US: Hershey sees profits beat expectations
Hershey, the US chocolate giant, said today (27 January) that its quarterly profits had beaten expectations as higher marketing spending and price increases boosted sales.

(Is the economic downturn hurting premium chocolate? Read Hershey CEO Dave West's thoughts in the just-food blog).

WORLD: Rising cocoa prices to hit chocolate makers
Soaring cocoa prices are likely to take their toll on chocolate companies, the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) has warned.

US: Kraft, Frito-Lay buyers to plead guilty in bribery case
Buyers for Kraft Foods and PepsiCo's Frito-Lay have admitted accepting bribes in return for awarding supply contracts to tomato company SK Foods.

Food companies eye potential down Mexico way
While Mexico may not receive the attention of larger emerging markets such as China and India, according to a new report from just-food, the Mexican packaged food market is set to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% between 2008 and 2013. Ben Cooper reports.

just the answer - Stephen Heslop, The Real Good Food Company
UK bakery and ingredients group The Real Good Food Company, a supplier to the country's major multiples and manufacturers, is in a period of transition. In this month's just the answer, CEO Stephen Heslop spoke with Dean Best about these changes and the outlook for the company.

FRANCE: Milk co-ops to merge
Three French co-operatives, Even, Terrena and Coopagri Bretagne, have announced the merger of their milk production activities.

UK: Asda to create 7,000 jobs
Asda, the UK unit of US retail giant Wal-Mart, has announced that it will be creating 7,000 jobs in 2009.

UK: Food retail resilient in recession - survey
Food will be one of the fastest-growing retail sectors in the UK in 2009, according to a research report by Verdict.

AUS: Grocery sales growth cheers Woolworths
Woolworths Ltd, Australia's largest food retailer, has posted an 8.8% rise in half-year revenue, boosted by faster sales growth from its domestic grocery business during the second quarter.