business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Almost 50 percent (49%) of U.S. online consumers believe their personal finance prospects will be  good or excellent  over the next 12 months , according to fourth quarter 2011 global consumer confidence findings released today from The Nielsen Co. The quarterly results were the highest for 2011 and a six percentage point increase from Q3 2011.  According to Nielsen’s survey, the number of U.S. respondents who described their job prospects as “bad” dropped from 28 to 19 percent between Q3 and Q4 of last year as well.

• Consumers Union, Food & Water Watch, and the Center for Food Safety announced that they have “submitted a formal petition asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to classify and evaluate AquaBounty’s ‘AquAdvantage’ genetically engineered (GE) salmon and all of its components as a food additive. The groups’ legal petition contends that the current agency review process that treats GE salmon only as a new animal drug is insufficient to protect public health, and that the agency is required by law to review the GE salmon under what should be a more rigorous process for any novel substance added to food.”

• Ahold USA announced “that for the first time it appears on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) list of the largest green power purchases. The company ranks No. 7 on the EPA’s Top 20 Retail list and No. 30 on the National Top 50 list. Ahold USA is purchasing more than 149 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, which is enough green power to meet 7 percent of the organization's electricity use. Ahold USA is buying renewable energy certificates (RECs) from 3Degrees. In addition, Ahold USA is generating green power from its on-site renewable energy systems which demonstrates a proactive choice to switch away from traditional sources of electricity generation and support cleaner renewable energy alternatives.”

• The Boston Globe reports that Martha Stewart’s latest product line - called “Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery” - is about to be unveiled exclusively at Staples stores around the country. There are more than 300 SKUs in the line, the company says, priced between $1.99 and $16.99.
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