business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Safeway said yesterday that the Canadian Competition Bureau "has entered into a consent agreement with Sobeys Inc. allowing the parties to proceed with their transaction whereby Sobeys will acquire the net assets of Canada Safeway. The parties now expect to close the transaction in early November 2013. As part of the consent agreement, Sobeys has agreed to divest 23 stores - 13 Canada Safeway stores and 10 Sobeys stores."


• Published reports say that Costco plans to expand its presence in Australia. The membership warehouse chain currently has three stores there, with two more scheduled to open next month - all of them in the Australian states of New South Wales and Victoria east coast. Now, it has announced plans to open a store in Brisbane, in the state of Queensland.


• The New York Times this morning reports that "nearly 60 percent of the scientists used as consultants by the European Food Safety Authority, or E.F.S.A., have direct or indirect ties to industries regulated by the agency, according to a report from the Corporate Europe Observatory, an advocacy group that criticizes corporate influence on public policy.

"The authority oversees food safety in the 28-nation European Union, a role similar to that of the Food and Drug Administration in the United States, or at least the “food” part of it. While the European agency has long been assailed as relying on scientists with perceived conflicts of interest, it says it has taken steps to address the issue.

"But consumer advocates say those steps have not gone far enough."
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