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ID NEWS: USF cites success of Passport event; General Mills contacted in probe

As the investigation into U.S. Foodservice (USF) dealings with its suppliers widens-General Mills, Minneapolis, is the latest supplier to be contacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-it's business as usual for the Columbia, MD, based broadliner.

The $17.5-billion distributor has reported on the success of its first national trade show, entitled "Passport," recently held in Las Vegas. The meeting was designed as an appreciation event for top customers, suppliers, and the distributor's own top sales reps. It featured seminars on a wide variety of food industry issues, ranging from food safety to menu design, and hosted more than 60 supplier booths. Among 6,000 attendees were 38 nationally branded vendors, 25 Signature brand vendors and some 3,000 customer representatives. Booth fees paid by suppliers offset much of the cost of the event, which featured entertainment, including headliners Jay Leno and Elton John.

USF continues to stress that it is fully cooperating with investigators into the accounting issues concerning bookings of more than $500 million in promo monies over a two-year period.

As for the latest news reported by the media in this investigation-that General Mills has been contacted by the SEC for information-Steve Sanger, the cereal manufacturer 's ceo, states, "We have been contacted by the SEC as part of its investigation of Ahold, and we will be cooperating fully with their request for information."

Separately, Sanger notes that General Mills is working actively to help ensure continuity of supply for The Fleming Companies, Lewisville, TX, the nation's largest wholesale-grocer, which just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (ID web news 4/2/03).

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