Sparta Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq: SPFO), today announced that it will hold a special meeting of shareholders on June 1, 2000, to vote on the previously announced merger of Sparta with Cenex Harvest States Cooperatives. A definitive agreement was announced by the Company on Dec. 31, 1999, whereby Cenex Harvest States would acquire Sparta Foods by merger, and Sparta shareholders would receive consideration of $1.41 per share in cash.

A. Merrill Ayers, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said, “We are now seeking the approval of our shareholders to finalize this transaction. A definitive proxy statement has been filed with the SEC and is being mailed to all shareholders of record as of April 24, 2000.”

Sparta Foods, Inc., located in New Brighton, Minn., and Phoenix, Ariz., is a regional market leader in the production and distribution of tortillas and value-added tortilla products to the retail and foodservice industries. The Company’s product lines include tortillas, tortilla chips and other snack products, and picante and other salsas. Sparta Foods distributes its food products to retail grocery chains and general merchandise retailers throughout the Midwest and Southwest U.S. principally under the Arizona Brand®, Cruz®, La Campana Paradiso®, La Canasta®, and Spanish Bell® labels. Foodservice customers include Perkins Family Restaurants, Friendly’s Restaurants and other nationally-known restaurants and distributors. For more information about Sparta Foods, please visit

For more information, contact Doug Ewing of BlueFire Partners, 612-371-0000, for Sparta Foods, Inc., A. Merrill Ayers, CFO of Sparta Foods, Inc., 651-697-5500.