retail news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Private Label Manufacturers Association has released the results of a study suggesting, not surprisingly, that “a summer shopping basket of store brands vs. national brands and finds that consumers can save more than 35% off their grocery bill, on average, by opting for the retailer’s brands ... The study results indicate that consumers who choose the retailer’s brand for products on the list rather than the national brand could save, on average, $44.04 off their total market basket – a savings of 35.7%. When buying national brands, the total bill came to $123.23 on average over six separate trips, while the same purchases for the retailer’s brands cost $79.19.”

• The Wall Street Journal reports that “ground turkey contaminated with a particularly dangerous and antibiotic-resistant form of salmonella is being investigated for links to dozens of illnesses and one death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ... The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating the source of contamination and has issued a public-health alert on ground turkey, but no recall for the product has been announced.”

According to the story, “The CDC said it is investigating a total of 77 people who reported illnesses, one of whom died, in 26 states. Symptoms of diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, which are common in people sickened by salmonella, were severe enough with 22 people to require hospitalization. The ages of those infected with the bacteria ranged between 1 and 88.”

• The New York Daily News reports that the city’s “new system of giving restaurants letter grades for cleanliness has been such a hit it should be expanded to food-cart vendors,” according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

According to the story, “Since the letter-grading system began last summer, 90% of city restaurants have been inspected. Some 69% got an A grade, 15% scored a B and 4% earned a C. Bloomberg crowed that the new system has saved eateries that made fast improvements about $3 million in fines citywide - savings that in some cases may have prevented restaurant owners from jacking up prices.”

"I love to eat from the street vendors," Bloomberg tells the News. "Personally, I would love to see ... a sign up there telling whether or not the guy washed his hands before he reaches in and pulls out the hot dog.”
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