• Kroger Health, Kroger's healthcare division, last week announced an agreement with Prime Therapeutics LLC, described as "a diversified pharmacy benefit manager collectively owned by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans that serves more than 33 million people," that will allow Kroger's pharmacies to remain in-network.
The announcement says that "this direct agreement demonstrates a continued commitment to provide millions of patients with quality, affordable healthcare services."
• Caribbean-based holding company Massy, which owns 57 stores in various markets there, announced that it has acquired Florida's Rowe's IGA Supermarkets, a seven-store independent, for $47 million (US).
According to the announcement, the acquisition "is aligned with the Massy Integrated Retail Portfolio's strategy to expand its retail footprint in the US market. The acquisition will represent a 1% increase in the Massy Group's assets and is expected to contribute to an increase in the Group's profit before tax of approximately 4%. For the
Integrated Retail Portfolio, the acquisition is expected to increase its profit before tax by 7%."
• Consumer Reports has announced "its support … for the USDA’s proposed regulatory framework for reducing salmonella illnesses from poultry. In a letter sent to the USDA, CR endorsed the proposal to test incoming flocks for salmonella contamination before they are sent to processing plants and called on the agency to focus prevention efforts on the strains that are most likely to make people sick."
According to the announcement, "An estimated 1.35 million Americans are sickened by salmonella every year and nearly a quarter of those cases come from chicken or turkey. Salmonella contamination is widespread in chicken in part because of the often crowded and filthy conditions in which they are raised. A recent CR investigation, for example, found almost one-third of ground chicken samples tested contained salmonella. Of those, 91 percent were contaminated with one of the three strains that pose the biggest threat to human health: Infantis, Typhimurium, and Enteritidis.
"While the USDA currently requires producers to test poultry for salmonella, a processing facility is allowed to have the bacteria in up to 9.8 percent of all whole birds it tests, 15.4 percent of all parts, and 25 percent of ground chicken. Producers that exceed these amounts are given what amounts to a warning, but not prevented from selling the meat … Under the USDA’s proposal, poultry producers would be required to test incoming flocks for salmonella before slaughter and provide documentation of salmonella levels or serotypes to processing plants. The requirement is meant to incentivize plants to implement measures to reduce the salmonella load in the final poultry product."