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• HEB reportedly will open a new format store in Cypress, Texas, next week, featuring expanded meat and produce departments as well as take-out and catering services. The company describes the new store as being years in the planning, and combines elements of both HEB’s traditional stores and its Central Market format.

• Aurora Organic Dairy said yesterday that it will defend itself “vigorously” against fraud allegations made in a series of class action lawsuits being filed against it by The Cornucopia Institute and charging the company with “consumer fraud, negligence, and unjust enrichment concerning the sale of organic milk by the company.

“There is absolutely no basis for claims we defrauded consumers by selling milk that isn’t organic – none whatsoever. Aurora Organic Dairy has maintained continuous organic certifications for all of our farms and facilities. Our milk is and always has been organic,” said Marc Peperzak, Aurora Organic chairman and CEO. “Our USDA consent agreement makes clear that all of our organic certifications are valid.”

“It’s ironic we’ve been falsely accused of misleading consumers,” Peperzak added. “The principal sources of misinformation and consumer confusion are the activist groups that are attacking our company and encouraging the filing of misguided lawsuits. Their agenda is clear: they want to limit the supply of organic milk and drive up the price paid by American families. This would harm consumers and slow the spread of organic agriculture. If they win, consumers lose. But we’re prepared to fight, and confident we will prevail based on the facts.”

• Rite Aid announced yesterday that it plans to open Lindora Health Clinics – which offer supervised both weight management and traditional in-store health care clinic services – inside five more of its Southern California stores, raising the number of Lindora clinics that Rite Aid has in the region to nine.

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that “a week after two of America's iconic brewers said they will combine forces, two European titans, Heineken NV and Carlsberg AS, said yesterday that they have formed a consortium to bid for the United Kingdom's best-selling brewer, Scottish & Newcastle PLC.

The companies said they plan to divide up the assets of S&N, which has a market value of $14.5 billion. The Edinburgh, Scotland, brewer, however, reacted coolly, calling the proposition ‘unsolicited and unwelcome’.”
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