As this issue went to press Suiza Foods Corp. had agreed to purchase Dean Foods for $1.5 billion. Internet reports said the entity would retain the Dean Foods name but be based in Dallas. Its difficult if not impossible to determine if extended shelf life costs played a part in the sale. However Deans had reported earlier that costs associated with the significant ramp-up of complex state-of-the-art technology to produce these products are expected to impact earnings by approximately $4 million. The March 01 remarks seen on Deans Web site hinted at the strain associated with the Franklin Park IL companys investment in ESL. Deans National Refrigerated Products group president Lou Nieto said I cant really comment other than to reference what weve said in our press releases that weve had some cost issues associated with the start-up of new technology on some of our extended shelf-life products. Howard Dean the companys chief executive who reportedly will step down from his position next year said in the earlier Web site release We are confident the operational issues associated with the intermediate and extended shelf life technology will be resolved.