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Responding to last week’s story about the US House of Representatives passing the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which will require manufacturers to change their labeling practices and list ingredients, including the allergic reactions they can trigger, in plain English (the US Senate already has passed the same bill, and President Bush is expected to sign it into law), one MNB user wrote:

Labels are already small enough with microscopic pt size lettering impossible to read. Add more wording required and we won't be able to read any of it at all. The truth is it is impossible to define on a label all the allergic reactions. Not only isn't there enough room, new reactions are occurring everyday given the GMO affect on immune system shifts and the like.

For example, I was just at our Vet's the other day and one of the Flea control products that had been FDA approved and on the market for 10 years is now no longer effective a the fleas have become superfleas tolerant to the product. The more our human immune systems become out of balance due to the things we are consuming that shutdown our immune system's efficacy of warding off things, the more allergies that will appear. At some point, particularly with labels we need to state clearly what ingredients are in a product and leave it up to the consumer to take responsibility to make their own choices...if more information is needed to determine if THEY might have an allergic reaction to say peanut or corn oil, then why do we need to state it may cause an allergic reaction...ALL things consumed in certain quantities can be unhealthful...

MNB user Dave Tuchler had the following thoughts about our story last week regarding foodservice companies trying to improve the quality of cafeteria food:

Re: your son's experience regarding Sodexho, my daughter is in a high school in Northbrook, IL, which is also handled by Sodexho. She is not a particularly picky eater (notwithstanding the fact that she's a teenage girl) but she has learned about what's healthy and what's not. As a result, she unfortunately generally refuses to eat the food there because it is too 'greasy, fatty and disgusting', and resorts to a bagel and juice or water. So I guess there's different plans for different programs. Would be nice if she had a few more choices.

On the other hand, she and her friends did amuse me recently by describing 'cafeteria food CPR', whereby they put the suspect greasy food between two wads of napkins, and simulate the heart resuscitation motion to squeeze the grease out.

Now there’s a gross image for a Monday morning…

In response to last week’s story about the seemingly limited market for single cup coffee brewers (we joked that we don’t even understand the concept of one cup of coffee), MNB user Karen Meleta wrote:

Okay, I have never weighed in on one of your discussions, but as a dedicated java drinker combined with having first hand experience with a Keurig single cup brewer, I ask the question "Who would ever want to do anything other than brew a single cup at a time?"

Trying is believing. I received the Keurig as a Christmas gift from my husband. I haven't brewed a pot of coffee since and my trips to the "coffee bar" are down to the rare occasion.

I simply pop in a K-cup (which come in more than a dozen varieties), push a button and I have a cup of the most delicious coffee at hand. Want another? Why draw from a pot that has been sitting on a burner. I simply pop in another K-cup (possibly another variety this time) push a button and voila . . . another delicious, freshly brewed cup of coffee. No waiting. No waste. Just for me. When company arrives, each guest can choose there own preference . . . Columbian, Decaf, French Roast, Hazelnut, Organic . . . the choices are endless.

Dare I say that the Green Mountain French Roast K-cup is as full bodied and rich as the pricey Starbuck version I was addicted to. To add to the convenience, I simply call Green Mountain (or one of the many other suppliers), place my order, and within 2 days it arrives at my doorstep. They will even create a custom assortment for me when I am indecisive as to which roasts, blends or flavors I am in the mood for.

I've tasted coffee brewed from "pods" and understand your disbelief – they are marginal at best However, the Keurig brewer is in a class by itself
and once you try it, there is no turning back.

Long live the single cup brewer!

P.S. I don't work for Keurig. I am just a devoted customer.

And MNB user Paul Schlossberg chimed in:

Single cup fresh-brewers have been uniquely successful in OCS (office coffee service) for several reasons. According to _Vending Times_ Census of the Industry 2003, single cup brewing is used by 44% of coffee service operators in 2002, up from 18% in 1992.

With single cup brewers you get a much wider selection (of coffee, tea and hot chocolate) without having to brew a pot of each. Compare that to regular and decaf as your only choices. Each cup of coffee is fresh-brewed every time. Compare that to a pot of coffee going "downhill" as it sits there.

How many times have we all poured out a half-full pot of "old" coffee? This saves money - less waste. The unit takes up less space on the counter. There is no coffee pot to wash. These are just a few reasons why single cup brewing might catch on for at home usage.

Responding to our recent story about how companies like Wild Oats are trying to communicate more successfully to customers the fact that they are full-service, full-line supermarkets, one MNB user wrote:

One explanation would be that people are willing to pay their inflated prices for their FOOD products. However, the same people do not want to pay the ridiculous prices for toilet paper, laundry detergents, etc.

Regarding Kmart’s decision to change its logo and slogan, one MNB user observed:

Let's see -- the last time they tried this was when the company first began its downward plummet. Changing it from Kmart to Big K was going to be the dawn of a new day.

So...spending all this money on signs, billboards, advertising, stationary, price tags, in-store merchandising, name tags for employees, etc., etc., etc. will somehow make it the Amazing Retail Destination, even though the stores are still half-stocked, filthy, and barren of anyone even remotely resembling an employee? The only employee I encountered on my last trip (thank God for self check-out -- I didn't even see a cashier!) was a security guard who insisted on searching my shopping bag and verifying my receipt for a $2.29 box of safety pins!!!

Either make some attempt to survive in the business or get out.

But another MNB user observed:

You can bet your bottom $ that Ed Lampert had an exit strategy that regardless of a turnaround was going to make Kmart a good investment for him. Leases probably worth more than he paid for control.

And responding to our piece about the cretins who were caught on video abusing chickens at a poultry processing plant, MNB user Denise Remark wrote:

You are correct, Kevin, firing is not enough. They should be investigated by local and state animal cruelty agencies and prosecuted for cruelty to animals. They should also be evaluated for mental illness and be required to undergo therapy at their own expense. They should also be required, under supervision, to clean animal cages and muck stalls at their local humane societies.

That may be too good for them.
KC's View: