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  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported late last week that prices for consumers, excluding food and energy, were up 1.9 percent for all of last year. Among the items getting more expensive were health care and housing, while clothes, cars and airline fares cost less.

  • Further evidence that irradiation is becoming more mainstream and acceptable: three school districts in Minnesota are considering using irradiated ground beef supplied by the federal government in school meals, which would make them the first in the state (and perhaps the nation, according to one report) to do so.

  • While Wal-Mart has had trouble making its low-price approach stick in Germany because of, among other things, legal restrictions on its pricing, German retailers Aldi and Lidl have been criticized by the ministry of Agriculture and Consumer Protection because their price cuts allegedly threaten small retailers.

  • Food Alliance, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit certifier of sustainable agricultural practices, announced a new partnership with 34-unit Brown & Cole Stores that will have the retailer featuring certified sustainably-grown products from Northwest growers.

    The partnership with Brown & Cole means that the company will source Food Alliance certified products as a top priority. Brown & Cole will begin featuring Food Alliance certified products in its stores this spring – promoting the sustainable values represented by Food Alliance certification.

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