retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• Published reports say that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that it has found traces of salmonella bacteria in the Setton Pistachio plant in central California, and it says that it believes the contamination came from the mixing of raw and roasted nuts.

• A new study is out, from Ohio State University and Temple University, saying that almost 20 percent of American four year olds are obese – that’s a half-million kids, with the rates higher among Natïve Americans, Hispanics and African Americans.

• Whole Foods said this week that one year after it eliminated the use of disposable plastic bags in its US stores, it has seen the use of reusable bags triple – and has kept 150 million plastic bags out of the nation’s landfills.

• PCC Cooks, a comprehensive cooking program operated by Seattle-based PCC Natural Markets, has been honored by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) with a 2009 Award of Excellence at the IACP Gala Awards dinner held in Denver, Colo.

PCC Cooks was founded in 1983 by Goldie Caughlan, PCC’s nutrition education manager. Starting with in-store cooking demonstrations, she developed a curriculum of demonstration classes encompassing cooking, nutrition and health topics called FoodWorks. Classes are taught by experienced instructors and emphasize local and seasonal ingredients, practical kitchen skills and tested recipes. Daytime, evening and weekend classes for adults, as well as classes and summer camp programs for kids, are available.

• The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has released a proposal for food safety reform that includes “a requirement that all food manufacturers have a food safety plan in place, a requirement that all food manufacturers have a foreign supplier safety plan, an increase in FDA food-related spending, the establishment of new federal agricultural standards for fresh fruits and vegetables, the adoption of a risk-based approach for FDA inspections, and the establishment of mandatory recall authority for FDA in certain circumstances.”

“Our industry has a tremendous track record of success when it comes to product safety, but we can do even better,” said GMA president/CEO Pam Bailey, addressing the joint Grocery Manufacturers Association-Food Marketing Institute supply chain conferences in Miami. “We have a rare opportunity to enact meaningful reforms, and we urge Congress and the Obama Administration to enact those reforms right away.”
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