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Target, Drug Maker End Relationships With Paula Deen

Cooking show host Paula Deen.
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Cooking show host Paula Deen.

Diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk and Target became the latest companies to distance themselves from Paula Deen on Thursday amid the racial controversy surrounding the celebrity chef.

The announcements Thursday came a day after Wal-Mart and Home Depot took similar action because of her use of the N-word.

(Read More: Paula Deen: I Would Not Have Fired Me Over Racial Epithets)

"Novo Nordisk and Paula Deen have mutually agreed to suspend our patient education activities for now, while she takes time to focus her attention where it is needed,'' the company said in a statement. "Novo Nordisk would like to acknowledge Paula's involvement in our 'Diabetes in a New Light' campaign, where she has helped make many people aware of type 2 diabetes and the lifestyle changes needed to control this serious disease."

Deen, who has Type 2 diabetes, had been a spokeswoman for Novo Nordisk's diabetes drug Victoza.

Target announced that it is severing its relationship with Deen entirely.

"We have made a decision to phase out the Paula Deen merchandise in our stores as well as on Target.com,'' the company said in a statement. "Once the merchandise is sold out, we will not be replenishing inventory."

The latest announcements came after Wal-Mart and Home Depot announced on Wednesday that they were severing ties with her.

"We are ending our relationship with Paula Deen Enterprises and we will not place new orders beyond those already committed," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Danit Marquardt said. "We will work with suppliers to address existing inventories and agreements."

Hours later, a Home Depot representative confirmed to NBC News that the company will stop carrying Paula Deen-branded items under its kitchen and cookware category as a result of the scandal.

The Food Network, Smithfield Foods and Caesars Entertainment also terminated their partnerships with Deen, who appeared in her first live interview on TODAY Wednesday to discuss the controversy over her use of racial slurs. Target, Sears and QVC all said they were evaluating their relationships with Deen late last week. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, has carried a variety of Paula Deen-branded products including cookware and health and wellness products for several years.

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—By Vidya Rao, TODAY.com; Scott Stump and CNBC.com contributed reporting to this story.

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