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USA Today reports this morning that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “is failing to meet its goals for auditing food-safety inspections that states do on its behalf … The FDA fell short of its goal in at least 17 of 39 states it paid to do inspections in the 2007-08 contract year … In five states, the FDA did no audits.

“State agencies do half the FDA's food inspections. The FDA aims to audit 7% to help make sure states do good inspections.

“The FDA's performance has improved. Its data for the 2006-07 year show its audit goal was unmet in 21 of 37 states. In eight states, no audits were done. In 1998, the FDA did no audits in 21 of 38 states, said the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General in a 2000 report.”

• Confirming reports that began circulating earlier this week, Carrefour has signed a letter of agreement to acquire 75 percent of the Russian supermarket chain Sedmoi Kontinent (Seventh Continent). The precise terms of the buyout are still to be negotiated.

• Sprouts Farmers Market announced a new college and vocational school scholarship program to provide assistance to Sprouts employees and their families.

The Henry Boney Memorial Scholarship Program – named after the late patriarch of Sprouts’ founding family – will award up to 17 $2,000 scholarships to qualified applicants each year based on their academic record, track record of participation in school and community activities, and financial need. The initial application deadline is May 30th and the first grants will be awarded for the 2009-2010 academic year.

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