SC business notebook

March 1, 2013 

AT&T has invested heavily in S.C.

AT&T said it invested nearly $275 million in the Columbia area between 2010 and 2012, expanding its 4G LTE coverage and enhancing network performance. The company earlier this week announced it has spent more than $800 million statewide during that two-year period. Improvements included activating and upgrading cell sites for faster Internet speeds and adding or upgrading antennas near major venues and buildings. The investments led to accomplishments such as the AT&T network keeping 99 percent of all Columbia-area wireless calls connected in the fourth quarter of 2012.

McDonald’s tweaking menu

McDonald’s is getting rid of its Chicken Selects and Fruit & Walnut Salad, as well as considering the removal of Angus burgers. The world’s biggest hamburger chain also says in an emailed statement that it is “evaluating options as it relates to the Angus Third Pounders, and their role on the national McDonald’s menu.” The changeup comes as the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company continues tweaking its menu, with plans to step up the number of limited-time offers in the year ahead. Most recently, the chain introduced its “Fish McBites.” McDonald’s Corp. says the Selects chicken fingers were introduced in 2004. The Fruit & Walnut Salad was introduced in 2005 and the Angus Third Pounders in 2009.

Facebook revamping news feed

Facebook has sent out invitations to a media event next Thursday at which it’ll showcase a new look for the social network’s news feed. The invitation doesn’t say much more than “Come see a new look for News Feed,” but the event is set for the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., campus. Although Facebook has made drastic changes to its profile pages and search feature in recent years, it has left the news feed largely untouched for some time. In January, Facebook held another event at which it announced Graph Search, a large overhaul of its search feature. Graph Search, which has been rolled out to some English-speaking users, lets users search for information on the social network based on people’s “likes,” information, posted content and their interests.

Corn syrup, sugar limits for beverages?

A consumer watchdog has asked the federal government to determine how much high-fructose corn syrup and sugar is safe in beverages from sodas to energy drinks. Soft drinks are so full of sweeteners that they are unsafe, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which last week asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine “safe levels” of added sugars for beverages and to set limits for manufacturers. A typical 20-ounce bottle of soda contains about 16 teaspoons of sugar from high-fructose corn syrup — more than twice the daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association. The Center for Science in the Public Interest also wants caloric sweetener limits set for non-carbonated drinks and such sweetened beverages as sports, energy and fruit drinks and flavored milks.

Meat pie, hold the meat

Here’s one they weren’t expecting – meat pies with no meat. When officials in Iceland began hearing about horse meat being secreted into beef products around Europe, they decided to run tests to ensure the same thing was not happening in Iceland. Icelandic meat inspector Kjartan Hreinsson says his team did not find any horse meat, but one brand of locally produced beef pie left it stumped. It contained no meat at all. “That was the peculiar thing,” Hreinsson said in a telephone interview Friday. “It was labeled as beef pie, so it should be beef pie.” Hreinsson said it appeared to be some kind of vegetable matter.

The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and Cox newspapers contributed.

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