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Bloomberg reports that "the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment increased to 83.7, the highest since July 2007, from 76.4 in April, a report today showed. Separately, the Conference Board’s gauge of the economic outlook for the next three to six months climbed 0.6 percent in April, more than forecast."

The Salt, on National Public Radio (NPR), reports that at the end of the month, a four decade ban on importing Italian pork-cured products called salumi will be lifted.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that the Italian regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto and Piedmont, and the provinces of Trento and Bolzano, are free of swine vesicular disease," the story says. "Imports of pork products from those areas, says the USDA, present a low risk of introducing the disease into the U.S. The disease was first detected in the 1960s and can survive cooking and even long curing.

"Up to now, only a few Italian pork products were approved for import to the U.S.: prosciutto di Parma and prosciutto di San Daniele, as well as mortadella — which was also banned until 2000.

"Starting soon, as long as they receive USDA approval, hundreds of artisanal products will arrive on American tables. It's not yet clear, however, what standards the producers will have to meet and what the costs will be. But even without a ban, Italian cured meat producers must pay hefty fees as part of the process of getting certified for importation."

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