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• The New York Times reports that “Arkansas is poised to become to the first state in the nation to officially encourage groceries to offer sanitary wipes to customers who use shopping carts.” According to the text of the legislation, it is intended to “increase awareness of Arkansas shoppers, infants and young children about potential contamination from contact with a shopping cart handle.”

• Pathmark Stores announced that it has reached a license agreement with MiniMedCare, PA to locate a medical care clinic in its Weehawken, NJ store. The clinic will open in March and will be staffed by qualified nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The company also announced that a second unit is planned for its Jersey City store and is scheduled to open later this year. When the full rollout is completed, twelve MiniMedCare facilities will be operating in Pathmark’s stores.

• The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed that foods made with whole oats be able to claim to be “low fat, reasoning that fat that comes from whole oats is less harmful that other kinds of fat. Current FDA rules allow companies to say that their whole oat products may help to reduce the likelihood of heart disease and control cholesterol.

MarketWatch reports that in its just-submitted budget plan for the coming year, the Bush administration is asking for a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) line of $2.1 billion, 5.3 percent more than the current fiscal year. Included in the request I s$10.6 million more than last year that will be focused on food safety initiatives such as better detection and tracking.
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