CEI Daily Update
Issues in the News
Supermarket chain Whole Foods pursues a buyout bid for rival Wild Oats Markets.
…I predict, on the basis of what happened in court yesterday, that the Whole Foods merger with Wild Oats Market will eventually be approved. Antitrust aficionados will know that the crux of this case is how the court will define the relevant market, and whether or not the merged firm would be a monopolist in that market. Is the market to be narrowly defined as including only nationwide, premium, organic and “natural” foods supermarkets (a definition that really includes only the merging firms), as the FTC supports? Or should it include all retailers of organic and “natural” foods (which includes almost every major supermarket chain and Wal-Mart), as Whole Foods insists?
A Senate committee votes to give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco.
The bill has been criticized on health grounds because it would make it harder to market reduced-harm tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco products, to smokers, who would otherwise smoke cigarettes, which are much more likely to cause cancer. It has also been criticized for violating First Amendment rights to advertise and for undermining competition in the tobacco industry.
Montgomery County, Maryland considers requiring chain restaurants to post nutritional information about their menu items.
The big fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King already post nutrition information on their websites. (Links lead to nutrition pamphlets.) McDonald’s, in fact, prints nutrition information on nearly all food packaging. Since the proposed law applies to eating places with 10 or more locations, it might impose a substantial food laboratory bill on many smaller chains.
Blog feature: For more news and analysis, updated throughout the day, visit CEI’s blog, Open Market.
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