Afternoon Coffee: J&J Faces Reports of Asbestos in Its Talc; Chocolate Maker Targets Its Supply Chain to Curb Deforestation

Reuters reports that it has looked at decades of documents that indicate Johnson & Johnson knew that its Baby Powder talc contained some amounts of asbestos, which can be deadly. Much of the research was shielded for years but has come to light in recent court cases, Reuters reports.

Ernie Knewitz, J&J's vice president of global media relations, wrote in an emailed response to Reuters' findings, that "plaintiffs' attorneys out for personal financial gain are distorting historical documents” and that “thousands” of tests prove its talc doesn’t contain asbestos or cause cancer. “Any suggestion that Johnson & Johnson knew or hid information about the safety of talc is false," he said.

Cocoa Bean Traceability Called Key

Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate is working to have 100% cocoa bean traceability so it can eliminate deforestation from its supply chain by 2030, The Supply Chain Dive reports. Much of its production comes from Africa, with some from Brazil in South America. The Dive reports that digital mapping and other technology plays a role, saying:

“Cargill has committed to digitally mapping 100% of all farms in its direct supply chain and continually monitoring for deforestation risks. Traceability technology, including bar-coding bags of beans, will help trace the product to its source farm to ensure that no cocoa comes from protected areas.”

How GE Is Burning Out

The Wall Street Journal takes an in-depth look at how General Electric, a giant of industry, is burning out. “The company that was once America’s biggest and most admired, the maker of power turbines, the seller of insurance, the broadcaster of “Seinfeld,” has become a shadow of its former self,” the Journal writes. “This is the story of how generations of managers, who thought they could fix any company in any industry, finally ran into a problem they couldn’t solve.”

Stock Market Slides

And finally, an update on stocks: The U.S. stock market is taking a tumble today, with technology shares among the hardest hit, according to Bloomberg News, which says this slide is happening despite positive trade signals and “signs of strength in the American consumer.”

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