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• The Boston Herald reports that “a new consumer survey comparing Massachusetts supermarkets shows Market Basket and Wal-Mart Supercenter leading the pack for prices, while Whole Foods and Roche Bros. take top rankings for quality. The nonprofit Center for the Study of Services found that a family spending $150 a week based on average prices at Shaw’s and Stop & Shop - the state’s largest grocery chains - could save 21 percent, or $1,638 a year, by shopping at Market Basket.”

According to the story, “Whole Foods, Roche Bros. and Hannaford Supermarkets had the highest customer ratings for product and service quality. Those categories ranged from the quality of meats and variety of fresh produce to keeping things in stock and the pleasantness and helpfulness of staff. Market Basket’s customer ratings trailed those of Stop & Shop and Shaw’s.”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) begins to implement the new Food Safety Modernization Act, there remain concerns about how the regulations will affect small farmers and food producers.

The Journal writes: “The law exempts very small businesses from many of the new regulations, including developing hazard analyses and implementing preventive measures like a food allergen control program, a recall plan and a pathogen monitoring program. The exemption is designed to apply to small businesses selling less than $500,000 in the same state within 275 miles of the food production.

“But the exact details of the exemption will be determined by the FDA. Farms that are considered processing facilities - which could mean anything from bundling lettuce to full scale production - would be required to follow the new regulations. All farms, no matter the size, will be affected by new produce production regulations.”

• The New York Times reports that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) plans to “file federal lawsuits against Arizona and South Dakota in seeking to invalidate those states’ constitutional amendments that prohibit private sector employees from choosing to unionize through a procedure known as card check.

“In a letter sent on Friday, the labor board told those states that it would invoke the United States Constitution’s supremacy clause in asserting that the state constitutional amendments conflict with federal laws and are pre-empted by those laws.”

Under current law in those states, the story notes, “private sector employers can insist that secret ballots be used when unions are trying to organize. Unions like using card check because it makes it easier to win unionization campaigns.”
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