business news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today this morning reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) believes that meat recalls can be avoided or at least reduced by implementing a system that says companies cannot sell meat until test results come back saying that the product is not contaminated. Such a system would only apply to products with a reasonably long shelf life, as opposed to salad kits, for example, which tend t have a short window during which they can be sold.

• The Business Review of Albany reports that Golub Corp., which owns and operates Price Chopper Supermarkets, plans to move into a new 6-story, 240,000-square-foot headquarters building in Schenectady. The company is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

• The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) announced this morning that it has given the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) two weeks notice of its plans to close on its acquisition of Pathmark Stores.

• Macy’s has announced that it will begin selling a private label line of wines in its northern division stores located in Illinois and Wisconsin. According to the announcement, the line will include Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz, and a Sparkling Wine, all with a retail price of $11.95.

• The Boston Globe reports that “with more than 12 million Americans afflicted by food allergies, business is booming for specialty food manufacturers who have perfected such products as egg-free cakes and frosting, gluten-free cookies, and nut-free trail mix.” And the expectation is that the number of products can only grow, with more companies offering “free-of” items to a customer base that itself is growing and becoming more vocal about its needs.

• The New York Times reports that Kmart promised to “remove all jewelry advertised as ‘lead free’ from its shelves after workers at lead monitoring programs who tested the pieces found that some actually contained high concentrations of the metal.”

“Kmart believes these products are safe,” Chris Brathwaite, a spokesman for Kmart, said in a written statement. “However, out of an abundance of caution and to avoid customer confusion, we’re going to pull all jewelry products that are labeled lead free.”

KC's View:
“Lead free” means “lead free.” It doesn’t mean “sort of lead free,” or “just enough lead-free not to be dangerous.”

And I cannot fathom why some retailers and manufacturers don’t understand the difference.