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  • Published reports say that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has agreed to consider proposals made by meatpackers that would permit private testing of all their cattle for mad cow disease. The move would be contrary to USDA's previous position against all private testing, though reports are that the meat packer testing would not be considered a food safety test, but a marketing tool.

  • Coinstar, the Washington State-based manufacturer of coin-counting machines, has bought CellCards, a wholesale distributor of prepaid telecommunications products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    The move seems to be tied to Coinstar's strategy of offering a broader range of products in its machines, including phone service and bill payment.

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