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• The Associated Press reports that Japan has decided to lift a ban on the import of North American lobster, a ban that was put in place last week after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised consumers not to eat tomalley, the green substance that is found in lobsters, because it believed that the tomalley had been contaminated by red tide.

Rather than an outright ban, Japan has decided to test lobsters from affected areas for what is called “paralytic shellfish poisoning.” If a lobster passes, it goes to Japan and is ruled safe for consumption. If not, it goes to that large boiling pot in the sky.

• In the UK, the Observer reported over the weekend that Walmart-owned Asda and Waitrose are expected to testify during hearings held by the nation’s Competition Commission Tribunal that is looking into whether a competition test should be established for planning and zoning purposes. Such a test would ensure that a retailer could not have a market share greater than 60 percent in any single market.

The Tribunal was sought by Tesco, which wanted to prevent the establishment of such a test, but Asda and Waitrose are expected to take issue with Tesco on this matter.

• Clorox said last week that it plans to raise prices on roughly half of its brands – including Clorox bleach and Glad trash bags – to compensate for higher costs.

• The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that as costs rise, McDonald’s is testing various permutations as it prepares to change its popular Dollar Menu next year. According to the story, “the company has tested ways to make the burger less expensive to make. Some restaurants are selling it with one slice of cheese instead of two, and billing it as a ‘double hamburger with cheese.’ Others are offering a double hamburger without cheese. Some are selling the traditional double cheeseburger at prices ranging from $1.09 to $1.19. The company is also considering expanding what it considers the middle tier of its menu, items ranging from about $1.30 to $2.”

Forbes reports that H.J. Heinz Co., Frito-Lay, Kettle Foods Inc., and Lance Inc. have all settled a lawsuit brought against them by the state of California, and have agreed “to pay a combined $3 million in fines and reduce the levels of acrylamide in their products over three years.” California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued the manufacturers in 2005, charging that they were in violation of state law saying that companies must post warning labels on products with carcinogens.

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