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GROCER RECALLS JALAPEÑO PRODUCTS: Grocery chain H-E-B has announced a voluntary recall of products containing fresh jalapeños after government inspectors found a strain of salmonella on a single Mexican-grown jalapeño pepper handled in Texas. The recall was announced Monday and includes fresh jalapeños, fresh pico de gallo and prepared items containing raw jalapeños. The recall does not include canned, cooked or pickled jalapeños. San Antonio-based H.E. Butt Grocery Co. says no customers have reported illness and the recall is precautionary. The privately held grocer operates more than 300 stores in Texas and Mexico. The Texas plant, Agricola Zaragoza, has suspended sales of fresh jalapeños and recalled those shipped since June 30, shipments it said were made to Georgia and Texas. A salmonella outbreak, originally linked to tomatoes, has sickened more than 1,200 people in 43 states. The last reported illness was July 4.

BMW BRINGING ELECTRIC CARS TO U.S.: BMW's Mini brand plans to have electric cars on U.S. roads by next summer. Mini USA Vice President Jim McDowell said Tuesday that the company is deciding whether to lease or sell the vehicles and where they'll be available. He wouldn't say how far the electric car will be able to go on a charge. McDowell said recent reports that Mini would sell 500 electric vehicles in California next year are premature because there is no final plan in place. U.S. Mini sales were up 34 percent in the first six months of this year as consumers sought smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles and the Mini Clubman was introduced. But McDowell says sales could slip in the coming months because the automaker doesn't have enough of its vehicles to meet demand.

FIRMS HIT BY LIQUIDITY CRUNCH: As the credit crunch gripping financial markets has raged over the past year, the number of companies issuing high-risk debt that suffer from very weak liquidity hit a record level last month, Moody's Investors Service said Tuesday. The credit rating agency said that for the first time since February 2003, its weakest liquidity rating was assigned to 53 companies, or 11 percent of the 490 companies whose bonds are considered higher risk. The percentage is double the level of June 2007, before the credit crisis erupted. Companies with weak liquidity have less cash and fewer assets that can quickly be turned into cash, potentially affecting their ability to repay debts and heightening the possibility of default. More firms are "struggling to maintain their liquidity positions" amid a slowdown in consumer spending and spikes in the costs of commodities such as fuel, New York-based Moody's said.

SPELLING WIDOW BUYS LUXURY CONDO: The widow of producer Aaron Spelling paid a whopping $47 million for a two-story condo atop a Century City residential tower that's still under construction, her lawyer said. The price paid by Candy Spelling for the 16,500-square-foot property works out to $2,848 a square foot, a record price for a Los Angeles condo unit, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday. The previous record of $2,700 was set at the same Century tower project in February. The condo isn't the first record-breaking residence for Spelling. Her current abode, a 123-room mansion that she and her husband dubbed "The Manor," is the largest home in Los Angeles County at 56,500 square feet. The house, in the Holmby Hills neighborhood, sits on six acres and has 11 bedrooms, 16 bathrooms and amenities such as a bowling alley, doll museum and gift-wrapping room.

BEE NEWS SERVICES

Figuratively Speaking

10: Estimated percentage of companies that have highly effective employee programs that improve morale, reduce turnover and boost corporate performance, according to a study by Best Practices LLC's Global Benchmarking Council.

50: Percentage of high-performing companies that track employee satisfaction and engagement.

JOHN MacINTYRE,

UNIVERSAL PRESS SYNDICATE

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