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  • The Rodale Institute, a nonprofit organic research organization, is creating the New Farm Organic Price Index (OPX), designed to be the first wholesale price index of certified organic foods.

    OPX has been set up to allow organic farmers to sell their products using competitive pricing established for the same organically grown or raised food being sold across their marketing region. Organic growers do not receive help from USDA's daily pricing information because organic farming only makes up 1.5% of the country's farming.

  • German discount retailer Aldi announced that it is on track to open seven stores in Melbourne, Australia, before June 2003.

  • Valassis, the marketing services company, has acquired NCH Marketing Services, the coupon processing and promotion information management company, for $60 million.

    "The acquisition of NCH complements Valassis' vision of being an innovative,
    integrated marketing solutions company," said Alan F. Schultz, Chairman,
    President and CEO of Valassis. "NCH and Valassis share similar cultures and
    values. We both strive to continually improve the promotional performance of
    our customers through consultative selling, data analysis and the increased
    use of technology."

  • Fleming Cos. will shutter its Fort Wayne, Indiana, distribution center, opened just two years ago, which will result in the loss of some 300 jobs. The company said the shutdown was a direct result of the dissolution of its supply contract with Kmart.

  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the highly contagious poultry virus, Exotic Newcastle Disease, has infected four more commercial poultry farms in California.

    The disease, harmless to humans but fatal to poultry, has infected flocks in California, Nevada and Arizona and has been described by USDA secretary Ann Veneman as a "threat to the US poultry and bird industries."

    Quarantines have been set up in California to try and prevent the spread of the disease.

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