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Kashi cereal company leaving La Jolla for Michigan

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LA JOLLA (CNS) - The Kashi cereal company is leaving its deep La Jolla roots and shifting most of its operations to Michigan this week, leaving about a dozen employees out of work and another dozen with a decision to make, it was reported Tuesday.

The Kellogg Co.-owned brand filed a notice with the state Employment Development Department saying it will lay off 14 employees and offer another 14 the option of moving to its corporate headquarters in Battle Creek, Mich., according to U-T San Diego.

Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles said in a statement that the move will best position Kashi for future growth, the newspaper reported.

"We do not take lightly the impact on the Kashi team and are working with impacted employees to consider alternative roles across Kellogg Company, where possible," she said.

The Kashi cereal company was founded in La Jolla in the early 1980s and remained relatively small company until it was bought out by Kellogg in 2000 for $33 million, according to U-T San Diego.

At the time, Kashi had just added snack bars to its cereal product line. Tuesday, Kashi products include cereals, bars, crackers and individual-sized frozen entrees and pizzas.

Kashi's operating profit declined by 2.7 percent to $595 million in fiscal 2012, spurred partially by a summer 2011 recall of its frozen pizzas, U- T San Diego reported. The company also took a publicity hit last year when a website reported that some of its products -- marketed as natural -- had genetically modified ingredients.

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