For a second week, China’s probe into infant formula prices – which it emerged is part of a wider investigation into the dairy sector in the country – grabbed your attention. And the US food retail scene saw the biggest M&A story of the week when Kroger struck a deal to buy regional chain Harris Teeter for US$2.4bn. Click on the headlines for more.

CHINA: Beijing claims firms knowingly broke law on dairy pricing
Companies at the centre of China’s investigation into anti-trust violations in the dairy sector were knowingly breaking the law and had instructed staff to delete communications detailing their involvement in the alleged price fixing, Beijing has claimed.

CHINA: Nestle opens two plants
Nestle has opened two factories in China, including one run by its venture with local group Yinlu.

CHINA/US: Yili signs partnership deal with Dairy Farmers of America
Chinese dairy giant Yili Group has teamed up with US co-op Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) in a venture that will serve China’s fast-growing dairy market.

NETHERLANDS/NZ: FrieslandCampina to invest in Synlait Milk
Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina is to take a stake in New Zealand infant formula and dairy ingredients company Synlait Milk, which is set to float this month.

UK: Tulip to make up to 150 job cuts
UK meat processor Tulip is to cut up to 150 jobs across three manufacturing sites after failing to win a contract.

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FRANCE: Artemis takes majority control of Michel et Augustin
French fund Artemis, which counts Christie’s auction house and the Chateau Latour vineyard among its assets, has taken majority control of food firm Michel et Augustin.

UK: Premier to close plant as part of milling reorganisation
Premier Foods plc is to close a facility in Wales as part of a reorganisation of its milling business.

US: Smithfield reaffirms benefits of Shuanghui takeover
Smithfield Foods CEO Larry Pope has moved to try and reassure US lawmakers the sale of the meat giant to China’s Shuanghui International will not affect US exports and food security.

Interview: Walkers Shortbread US arm targets year-round sales
UK baker Walkers Shortbread generates over 40% of its sales outside its domestic market. The family-owned biscuit firm’s largest export market is the US. Dean Best spoke to Steve Dawson, CEO of Walkers Shortbread’s US arm, about the company’s business across the Atlantic and plans for growth.