Published on: January 4, 2022
Yesterday, we took note of a Washington Post report about how the US Department of Agriculture's new labeling rules for genetically modified foods have gone into effect - the big change being that "GMO" is out, and “bioengineered" is in. But it isn't that simple - there are a ton of caveats and loopholes and contingencies.
One MNB reader responded:
I read through this article until my eyes glazed over then moved on with the thought “that certainly clears that up”. Wow. Rules with as many exceptions as these have, are a good example of muddling the issue in the name of clarifying it.
I commented, in part, yesterday:
My position over the years, I think, has generally been consistent, though, to be honest, I've been writing about this for so damned long I'm not even sure what I was saying at the beginning.
I like labels. I think the more transparency, the better, I think information in the hands of consumers, properly and contextually communicated, can be a powerful and positive thing. I generally think that loopholes end up being black holes of disinformation and deception, because the people and companies that exploit them usually have the means and motivation to avoid transparency.
And I think that about pretty much everything, not just bioengineered foods. I'll acknowledge that there are exceptions, like national security. But making sure that people understand what they are eating and where it came from? That ought to be low-hanging fruit (whether it is organic, bioengineered or some other kind).
Another MNB reader wrote:
As is often the case, I agree with you – and we have been talking about this forever! However, while the thirst for transparency is seemingly infinite, the space on a physical package is not. This is where SmartLabel or some other digital solution should take over.
One of the byproducts of the pandemic is that we're all a lot more used to QR codes, which can serve as a way for companies to provide a ton of information to consumers who want to use it.
On the subject of Kroger's planned stock buyback, one MNB reader wrote:
Here is my take on the Kroger "corporate speak" touting their $1 billion stock repurchase program. If Kroger used that cash to pay stockholder dividends, the high income corporate executives with huge Kroger share holdings would be paying federal income tax (as well as state income tax) on that income. Whereas a stock repurchase program is expected to increase the value of the remaining Kroger shares there is no income tax due unless and until those shares are sold. Moreover any such shares left unsold when they pass away get a stepped up basis at death which means no income tax, federal or state, on those shares. While this repurchase program may benefit ordinary shareholders to some degree, it can benefit large shareholders (such as Kroger executives) to a greater extent.
The things I never would've thought about…
We reported yesterday that Hy-Vee announced that it is creating what is being called the Hy-Vee Retail Security team, which eventually will see officers deployed in all of its retail stores during operating hours "to ensure the health and safety of both its customers and employees."
One MNB reader responded:
A sad commentary on society when retailers have to deploy security in all their stores. Maybe we should send this article to Elizabeth Warren so she can better understand higher prices due to increased retailer costs. Makes me wonder 1) if this a preemptive action by Hy-Vee or based on increased criminal activity and 2) Have any of the communities that Hy-Vee operates in reduced police budgets in support of defund the police movements? Maybe it’s time for law abiding citizens to assert their rights rather than merely allow lawlessness…
Another MNB reader had a somewhat less jaundiced response, especially in view of my suggestion that these security guards could enforce mask mandates:
I think this is a great idea, I work in a high volume store in Exeter, NH and the town has mandated masks for everyone for a three month period, going back a few weeks now.
We were told not to say anything to those who still won't wear a mask, unless ANOTHER customer complains about it, in which case we are to get the store manager involved.
From another reader:
Steal what you want, just make sure you are wearing a mask.
Hy-Vee certainly didn't say that. I don't think I suggested that. So I'm not sure what your agenda is when you suggest that anyone did take that position.
Yesterday we had a piece referencing a Boston Globe story about a new mobile app called To Good To Go, described as one that "connects consumers with surplus from restaurants, bakeries, cafes and grocery stores at the end of each business day, ensuring that unsold food doesn’t go to waste. The app, which already operates in Boston, just launched in the Providence market."
MNB reader Jeanette Coulson responded:
Wow, what a great idea!
On another subject, from MNB reader Monte Stowell:
Regarding Amazon building a new facility in Arkansas, in Walmart’s backyard. I am sure this quote has been used before in MNB about Amazon, but if it has been used, it is more apropos than ever. “Resistance is Futile, You Will Be Assimilated.” The Borg is alive and still growing. Not saying Walmart will be assimilated, but nothing is going to stop Amazon from being more dominant in the retailing arena.
The thing is, to use another science fiction metaphor, identifying the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire sort of depends on where you are standing. Amazon probably thinks of itself as being part of the rebellion against Walmart …
Finally, I got a lot of emails yesterday about my FaceTime video with Barry and Buckeye, the two Guiding Eyes puppies that we were socializing over the holiday.
MNB reader David Spawn wrote:
Great to see the good start you are providing for those puppies!! It’s great work and greatly appreciated!
My brother & sister-in-law have worked with the Guide Dog Foundation on Long Island for years to provide the 13-month training regimen for service dogs (at least 8 that I can remember). Thanks for the puppy video!!
We raised a puppy for Guiding Eyes a number of years ago … we had Fan for more than 18 months, and though it was hard to give her up, it was enormously gratifying to hear from the blind woman some time later, telling us how Fan had saved her life.
From another reader:
While catching up on my 2022-too news Kevin, I only can say that Barry & Buckeye deserve a continued cameo on FaceTime. Because you’re right, nothing is better than puppies.
And from another:
We're giving you two thumbs and two paws up.
What a great way to start my day, watching you with Barry and Buckeye. Keep giving us updates with your two new furry friends.
I'm afraid that I'll have no more updates about Barry and Buckeye … we only had them for about five days, and now they're off to another family.
We miss them, though I'm not sure our dogs - Spenser and Zazu (who, by the way, are Guiding Eyes dogs who did not make the cut, and now belong to us) - feel the same way … witness this one photo from the weekend: