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  • Tuesday marks the day in Canada when Parliament will vote on a national ban on trans fats – a ban that seems to be gaining political support from various sides of the aisle. The Canadian media notes that if the bill becomes law, it could prevent numerous US packaged grocery products from being sold north of the border.

  • In the UK, researchers are conducting a study to find out whether a supplement called Diindolylmethane that is found in cabbage may help fight the occurrence of cervical cancer.

  • The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has testified before the US House Government Reform Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources against proposed regulations on the sales of hundreds of cough and cold remedies.

    At issue is an Oklahoma law, which other states and the federal government are considering, that requires these products to be removed from store shelves and sold only by pharmacies by reclassifying them as Schedule V drugs under controlled substances laws.

    Testifying on behalf of the industry and FMI, Marsh Supermarkets Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Joseph Heerens emphasized that the industry strongly supports sales restrictions on such cold and cough remedies. “But a Schedule V approach is very troublesome. That’s because the overwhelming majority of grocery stores in the United States do not have a pharmacy department.

    “For example, my company currently operates approximately 120 supermarkets in Indiana and Ohio, but only 46 of them have a pharmacy department. Therefore, under the Oklahoma model, more than 60 percent of our stores could not sell the pseudoephedrine products that our customers expect us to carry.”

    Nationwide, only about 15,000 of the more than 210,000 retail food stores have pharmacies, according to industry data — meaning that if the Oklahoma law were adopted nationally, consumers could not buy cough and cold products at nearly 200,000 outlets, ranging from convenience stores to conventional supermarkets. And even in those stores that do have pharmacies, availability would be limited by pharmacy hours.

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