Coca-Cola has pledged $400,000 to help Michigan State University establish a Center for Packaging Innovation and Sustainability. The planned center, to be housed in the university’s School of Packaging, will serve as a think-tank for packaging innovation and sustainability.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced plans to reduce the overall packaging for the products it sells in North and South America by 5% by the end of 2013. To that end, Wal-Mart will introduce its Sustainability Scorecard throughout the Americas by the end of this year.

The kosher symbol was mistakenly left off 14 million boxes of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies recently produced by Interbake Foods. The company quickly secured a letter from the Orthodox Union, the largest U.S. kosher certification agency, confirming that the product-the best-selling Girl Scout cookie type-is, in fact, kosher.

A bill introduced to the Washington State Legislature would ban the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles. The chemical, a hardener used in many types of plastics and metal can linings, has been linked to various kinds of cancer.

A British advertising watchdog agency forced Kellogg Co. to pull ads for Nutri-Grain Oat Softies cookies that referred to the product’s “wholesome cookie goodness.” The Advertising Standards Agency ruled that while the ads made accurate references to the product’s fiber, vitamins and iron, they neglected to disclose its high levels of sugar and saturated fat.

Lance Inc. has sued a Canadian competitor in U.S. federal court, alleging trade dress infringement. The lawsuit charges that the red-and-gold packaging for Voortman Cookies’ oatmeal-raisin cookies is so similar to Lance’s Archway brand that it has the potential to confuse consumers.

Natural-related claims were the most frequent ones on new products in 2008, according to a Mintel report. Such claims, including all natural, no additives/preservatives, organic and whole grain, were on 23% of food and drink launches in 2008, a 9% increase over 2007.

Numi LLC, an organic tea company, has won a WRAP (Waste Reduction Awards Program) award from the California Integrated Waste Management Board for converting its tea boxes to a minimum of 85% post-consumer waste.

Shearer’s Foods, a regional salty-snack processor based in Brewster, Ohio, has promoted Randy Whisler to vice president, operations; Terry Mustard to vice president, engineering (a new position); and Steve Surmay to senior vice president of co-pack operations.