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• The Associated Press reports that coffee growers in Hawaii - the only place in the US that grows coffee - is looking for the state legislature there to strengthen labeling regulations for their product.

According to the story, current state rules require that coffee packages say what percentage of the coffee was grown in Hawaii; to call the coffee Hawaiian, it must be at least 10 percent. Now, the Kona Coffee Farmers Association wants tougher rules that establish the origin and percentage of other coffees in the blend.

It is noted in the piece that pure Kona coffee can sell for $25 a pound, but that diluting the product and not being transparent about it can only dilute the perception of what should be a differentiated and proprietary product.

Transparency is all.

• Whole Foods announced that it is expanding its offerings of organic wines with no sulfites added, and said that it now will be “the only national retailer to carry the first USDA Certified Organic NSA wines from Italy and Spain.”

Geof Ryan, national wine buyer for Whole Foods Market, said in a prepared statement: "We see more and more interest in these wines from wine enthusiasts who believe NSA wines provide the most pure expression of the grape and from those who have sulfite sensitivities or allergies."

• The Associated Press reports that “a listeria outbreak that killed 30 people and sickened 146 others might have been avoided if a Colorado cantaloupe processor had followed U.S. guidelines and washed the fruit in chlorinated water, a congressional investigation found.”

Here’s the interesting paragraph from the story: “The FDA, which oversees produce, doesn't have specific regulations for cantaloupe processing and offers only guidance, the committee said in its report. The agency can't shut a facility for violations and doesn't regulate auditors hired by farms to certify that facilities comply with good safety practices.”

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Nielsen Holdings “has acquired fresh food data consulting firm Perishables Group Inc.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to the story, “Nielsen has been buying up other information providers to bolster its ability to offer more-complete retail data it calls ‘total store reporting’.”

• The Washington Post says that “the main theme of the Consumer Electronics Show this year, in case you’ve been hiding under a rock this week, is the ultrabook. These lightweight laptops are chasing after the MacBook Air, trying to undercut Apple’s $1,000 price tag and add their own flair to the lineup of super-slim devices. Intel, the company behind the chips that make the devices “ultra,” has been pushing this newly named genre hard, announcing in its Monday keynote that at least 75 models are on their way.

“There are three main distinguishing features of an ultrabook. First, they’re light and thin — really thin. Acer’s Aspire S5 Ultrabook is just .6 inches thick at its widest point, and the HP Envy Spectre 14 is .8 inches thick. Ultrabook makers favor solid-state hard drives that start up quickly and don’t add nearly as much weight to a device as a traditional laptop. Design is the key factor for any ultrabook, and many of the laptops mirror Apple’s devotion to slender, simple, shiny computers. Second, despite their light frames, they’re still most closely related to laptops than to tablets and run full versions of Windows operating systems instead of mobile software. Finally, they have a fairly agreeable price point ... Most more or less match the MacBook Air, ranging from around $900 to $1,500.”
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