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• The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) said Saturday it will sell its 19 New Orleans-area Sav-A-Center outlets to Rouses Supermarkets of Thibodaux, La., and two more to other buyers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the sale is expected to close within six weeks. Once it is completed, A&P will have exited all of its non-core markets, leaving it to focus just on the northeastern US, where it hopes to close soon on its acquisition of Pathmark Stores.

• In Indiana, the Star Press reports that virtually every store owned by Marsh Supermarkets will be hanged to one of two banners - Marsh Hometown Markets or Marsh The Marketplace. The only exception will be the O’Malia’s Food Markets owned by the company.

The move is seen by local analysts as reflecting a commitment by Sun Capital Partners, which bought the company from the Marsh family in 2006, to continue investing in the stores.

• The Cornucopia Institute, an organic watchdog group, reportedly has filed a series of legal complaints against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), alleging that the government has not sufficiently penalized Colorado-based Aurora Organic Dairy, which USDA found had violated 14 provisions of the Organic Food Production Act.

According to a statement released by Cornucopia, it is “conferring with a team of lawyers about a potential civil action on behalf of farmers and other processors that have been economically injured by a flood of surplus milk, much of which has come from illegal Aurora facilities. In the third quarter of 2007 organic farmers started to see the price of their milk drop, and some have been shut out of the marketplace.

Aurora supplies store brand organic milk for chains that Wal-Mart, Costco, Wild Oats, and Safeway.
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