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Business Highlights

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FDA proposes sweeping new food safety rules

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The Food and Drug Administration on Friday proposed the most sweeping food safety rules in decades, requiring farmers and food companies to be more vigilant in the wake of deadly outbreaks in peanuts, cantaloupe and leafy greens.

The long-overdue regulations are aimed at reducing the estimated 3,000 deaths a year from foodborne illness. Just since last summer, outbreaks of listeria in cheese and salmonella in peanut butter, mangoes and cantaloupe have been linked to more than 400 illnesses and as many as seven deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The actual number of those sickened is likely much higher.

The FDA's proposed rules would require farmers to take new precautions against contamination, to include making sure workers' hands are washed, irrigation water is clean, and that animals stay out of fields. Food manufacturers will have to submit food safety plans to the government to show they are keeping their operations clean.

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'McDreamy' says he beat Starbucks for coffee chain

SEATTLE (AP) â¿¿ "Grey's Anatomy" star Patrick Dempsey may be the real "McSteamy."

The actor, who was dubbed "McDreamy" by fans of the hospital drama while his co-star affectionately has been called "McSteamy," won a bankruptcy auction to buy Tully's Coffee, a small coffee chain based in Seattle.

Among those Dempsey beat out is Tully's much bigger Seattle neighbor, Starbucks Corp., which wanted to convert the cafes to its own brand.

Dempsey, whose company Global Baristas LLC plans to keep the Tully's name, declared victory on the social media site Twitter with the message: "We met the green monster, looked her in the eye, and...SHE BLINKED! We got it! Thank you Seattle!

But Starbucks says not so fast. The chain, which has 18,000 cafes worldwide, said in a statement that a final determination on the winning bid won't be made until a court hearing on Jan. 11. Starbucks said it's in a "back-up" position" to buy 25 of the 47 Tully's cafes, with another undisclosed bidder making an offer for the remainder.

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