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    FDA warns Purell makers to correct unproven claims in its marketing

    The agency says the products have not been shown to kill germs linked to MRSA and VRE

    Part of the function of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to make sure companies don’t make false claims when advertising their products, and that appears to be what’s happening in the case of Gojo Industries, the maker of Purell hand sanitizer. 

    FDA officials have sent a warning letter to Gojo over some of the language that the company has used in its marketing materials. This includes claims that some Purell products have the ability to kill germs that are linked to MRSA and VRE. 

    Regulators say that these claims are unproven and misrepresent the products as more than just an over-the-counter antiseptic. The agency says that Gojo must investigate and correct these violations so that it can come back into compliance.

    “It is your responsibility to ensure that your firm complies with all requirements of federal law and FDA regulations,” the agency said in its warning. “You should take prompt action to correct the violations cited in this letter.”

    Gojo has been given 15 days to notify the FDA about the specific steps that it will take to correct the violations in its marketing materials. Failure to do so could result in legal action by the agency.

    Part of the function of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to make sure companies don’t make false claims when advertising their products, and...
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    Risk of Parkinson’s disease could be determined before a person is even born

    Researchers say consumers who are diagnosed earlier in life may have had faulty cells from birth

    As researchers continue to explore ways consumers can reduce their risk for Parkinson’s disease, like drinking more coffee or checking their proximity to major roadways, a new study conducted by researchers from Cedars-Sinai found that a diagnosis could be determined before birth. 

    The researchers found that cases of early-onset Parkinson’s disease, which affects patients under the age of 50, are likely linked to patients who were born with disordered brain cells. Knowing this, the researchers are hopeful they can create a drug that can help slow the advancement of Parkinson’s in these young patients. 

    “Young-onset Parkinson’s is especially heartbreaking because it strikes people at the prime of life,” said researcher Dr. Michelle Tagliati. “This exciting new research provides hope that one day we may be able to detect and take early action to prevent this disease in at-risk individuals.” 

    Roots of Parkinson’s 

    The researchers had patients who had been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s participate in the study. The team used a special kind of stem cell, known as induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), as a testing mechanism. 

    The iPSCS allowed the researchers to manipulate the patients’ cells by reverting them back to the stage they were in when the patients were still in the embryo phase of development. This was beneficial because the researchers could then see if there were links to Parkinson’s that were present from birth; it also allowed them to determine how the patients’ bodies would react in the future. 

    Using the patients’ specific genetic codes, the researchers were able to replicate dopamine neurons, the neurotransmitter most closely related to Parkinson’s. From there, they could assess the trajectory of how those cells would respond in each patient from the time of birth through the course of their lives. The researchers discovered that early-onset Parkinson’s was linked to brain cells that the patients’ were born with. 

    “What we are seeing using this new model are the very first signs of young-onset Parkinson’s,” said researcher Clive Svendensen, PhD. “It appears that dopamine neurons in these individuals may continue to mishandle alpha-synuclein over a period of 20 or 30 years, causing Parkinson’s symptoms to emerge.” 

    Disease prevention

    With this information, the researchers then wanted to see what they could do to protect these individuals who had been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s. 

    During early testing, the researchers have been able to identify PEP005 as a potentially viable drug option. When tested on both the participants’ cells and those of lab mice, the researchers saw improvements in the levels of alpha-synuclein. 

    The researchers hope that PEP005 can be used as either a method of treatment or prevention for younger people affected by this disease.  

    As researchers continue to explore ways consumers can reduce their risk for Parkinson’s disease, like drinking more coffee or checking their proximity to m...
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    Chrysler recalls model year 2020 Jeep Renegades and Fiat 500Xs

    Braking performance may be reduced, increasing the risk of a crash

    Chrysler is recalling 1,352 model year 2020 Jeep Renegades and Fiat 500Xs.

    The right rear brake caliper could have been fractured during the casting process.

    A cracked right rear brake caliper can fail, reducing braking performance and increasing the risk of a crash.

    What to do

    Chrysler will notify owners, and dealers will inspect and replace the right rear brake calipers -- as necessary -- free of charge.

    The recall is expected to begin February 7, 2020.

    Owners may contact Chrysler customer service at (800) 853-1403. Chrysler's number for this recall is VE8.

    Chrysler is recalling 1,352 model year 2020 Jeep Renegades and Fiat 500Xs. The right rear brake caliper could have been fractured during the casting pro...
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      PCNA recalls power banks

      The lithium-ion battery can overheat and ignite

      PCNA of New Kensington, Pa., is recalling about 5,000 Spare 10,000 mAh Power Banks in the U.S., and Canada.

      The lithium-ion battery can overheat and ignite, posing fire and burn hazards.

      The firm has received one report of fire. No injuries have been reported.

      This recall involves the Spare Power Bank used to charge electronic devices.

      They have a 10,000 mAh Grade A lithium ion battery, LED indicator lights, and a flashlight. The power banks are white and are decorated with various logos.

      PO number 1813582 is printed on the back of the power bank. The power banks measure about 5 1/2 inches long by 2 1/2 inches wide.

      The power banks, manufactured in China, were given to consumers as free promotional products at meetings or events nationwide from July 2019, through September 2019.

      What to do

      Consumers should immediately unplug and stop using the recalled power banks and dispose of then by following local laws for disposal of lithium-ion batteries.

      Consumers may contact PCNA at (800) 860-1555, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (ET) Monday through Friday, by email at CustomerService@leedsworld.com, or online at www.pcna.com and click on the “Recalls” link at the bottom of the page for more information

      PCNA of New Kensington, Pa., is recalling about 5,000 Spare 10,000 mAh Power Banks in the U.S., and Canada. The lithium-ion battery can overheat and ign...
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      Commercial air travel has never been safer, study finds

      Air travelers have less to fret over going forward

      A new study says that commercial air travel has never been safer, and that trend should hold for the foreseeable future.

      The study, which was conducted by MIT professor Arnold Barnett, looked at flight data from 2008-2017. It shows that the risk of death per boarding during that period fell by more than half compared with the previous decade. 

      When all the numbers shake out, that rate is one death per 7.9 million passenger boardings, globally. That’s compared to one death per 2.7 million boardings during the period between 1998 and 2007, and one death per 1.3 million boardings from 1988-1997.

      "The worldwide risk of being killed had been dropping by a factor of two every decade," concluded Arnold. "Not only has that continued in the last decade, the [latest] improvement is closer to a factor of three. The pace of improvement has not slackened at all even as flying has gotten ever safer and further gains become harder to achieve. That is really quite impressive and is important for people to bear in mind."

      Good news, bad news

      As with most studies, there’s upsides and downsides. 

      Two important developments came out of a) China, which Barnett says has made “exceptionally strong safety achievements” and is on course to become the world’s largest aviation nation within the next five years, and; b) the Eastern European members of the European Union, which had a fatality-free record in the last decade. Other low-risk countries are the United States, Canada, and Israel -- as well as New Zealand and Australia, countries that historically do well in safety reviews.

      Barnett found that less developed countries -- mostly Asian, African, and Latin American countries --  had room for improvement, with many of them failing to make any serious headway in passenger safety. All told, the death risk in those countries from 2008-2017 was one per 1.2 million passenger boardings -- an improvement from one death per 400,000 passenger boardings during 1998-2007. 

      "The risk now in the higher-risk countries is basically the risk we used to have 40-50 years ago" in the safest air-travel countries, Barnett noted.

      Looking forward

      While Barnett’s study didn’t include the Boeing 737 Max fatalities -- which turned many a passenger into a nervous ninny -- he says that the rate of fatalities has generally declined far faster than public fears about flying. 

      "Flying has gotten safer and safer," Barnett says. "It's a factor of 10 safer than it was 40 years ago. The risk is so low that being afraid to fly is a little like being afraid to go into the supermarket because the ceiling might collapse.”

      A new study says that commercial air travel has never been safer, and that trend should hold for the foreseeable future.The study, which was conducted...
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      E-scooters present security and privacy risks for owners, study finds

      Researchers say the products are prime targets for hackers

      E-scooters are becoming more popular among consumers, especially those who live in urban areas and value their high mobility. But a recent study shows that these devices have their drawbacks when it comes to security. 

      Researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio say that hackers can easily target e-scooters to mine for personal information or actively interfere with how the product works in real time.

      "We've identified and outlined a variety of weak points or attack surfaces in the current ride-sharing, or micromobility, ecosystem that could potentially be exploited by malicious adversaries right from inferring the riders' private data to causing economic losses to service providers and remotely controlling the vehicles' behavior and operation," said assistant professor Murtuza Jadliwala.

      Data leaks

      According to the researchers, there are many angles from which hackers can attack e-scooters. Perhaps one of the most invasive ways is to go after a rider’s smartphone by delving into the Bluetooth connection that often links these devices with the internal e-scooter systems. This can compromise a trove of information, including preferred routes, home and work locations, and other sensitive data.

      Companies who maintain and rent out e-scooters can also give hackers a way to access consumers’ personal information. The research team says that the billing information each business collects as part of a rental transaction can be up for grabs if it isn’t properly encrypted. The risk of a data leak or denial-of-service attack can also become high if proper protections aren’t in place.

      "Cities are experiencing explosive population growth. Micromobility promises to transport people in a more sustainable, faster and economical fashion," said Jadliwala. "To ensure that this industry stays viable, companies should think not only about rider and pedestrian safety but also how to protect consumers and themselves from significant cybersecurity and privacy threats enabled by this new technology."

      The team’s full study is being presented at AutoSec 2020.

      E-scooters are becoming more popular among consumers, especially those who live in urban areas and value their high mobility. But a recent study shows that...
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      New York City joins the parade of big cities saying 'no' to cashless retailers

      Is cashless the future? Could be, but it’s going to take awhile

      Taking a cue from San Francisco and Philadelphia, the New York City Council has voted to ban cashless stores and restaurants, claiming that they put consumers who don’t have access to a bank account at a disadvantage.

      New York City’s move will no doubt be the #1 water cooler topic at Kroger, Amazon, Apple, and Sam’s Club -- companies that have invested a lot of time, money, and hope in a cashless economy. 

      Cash -- equalizer or inefficient?

      At last count, 6.5 percent of American households -- a little more than 8 million -- do not have a bank account, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; World Bank says that another 1.7 billion people worldwide don’t have one. Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres claims that all-cashless retailers put those consumers in a tough spot.

      “Cash is the great equalizer, it is the universal currency.” Torres said. His council peers in Chicago and Washington, D.C. appear to be on the same page, as both of those cities are considering a similar move.

      On the other hand, over 70 percent of Americans like making payments on the go using their smartphones, although consumers are still a little leery of the security downsides in taking that route -- and perhaps with good reason. The last thing on any consumer’s bucket list is having their credit card hacked like 100 million people did in the Capital One breach last year.

      Despite that mixed blessing, one consumer policy analyst foretells that cashless stores will eventually become a fixture. 

      “What the council doesn’t understand is that while cash may have been king yesterday, today more people are paying by card and phone than ever before,” commented Janson Q. Prieb, a policy analyst at the American Consumer Institute. 

      “From ordering an Uber to shopping on Amazon, it’s becoming increasingly important to use forms of payments other than cash. It’s this kind of fear -- that society isn’t ready for improvement and increased efficiency -- that slows the progress we all want to see.”

      Taking a cue from San Francisco and Philadelphia, the New York City Council has voted to ban cashless stores and restaurants, claiming that they put consum...
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      CFPB seeks to redefine ‘abusive’ financial practices

      But a consumer group worries that many protections are being weakened

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken steps to define what “abusive” means in a statute protecting consumers from abusive acts or practices in connection with financial products or services. 

      In a policy statement the agency said it wants to address uncertainty about what the word actually means. It notes that uncertainty creates challenges for companies in the financial services industry that might end up withholding products and services that could be of benefit to consumers.

      From now on, the CFPB says it will consider conduct to be abusive only when its harm to consumers outweighs its benefit. Further, it will seek monetary relief for abusiveness only when there has been a lack of a good-faith effort to comply with the law. The CFPB will continue to seek restitution for injured consumers regardless of whether a company acted in good faith or bad faith.

      "I am committed to ensuring we have clear rules of the road and fostering a culture of compliance – a key element in preventing consumer harm," said CFPB Director Kathleen Kraninger. "We've developed a policy that provides a solid framework to prevent consumer harm while promoting the clarity needed to foster consumer beneficial products as well as compliance in the marketplace, now and in the future."

      Rewriting laws

      But the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says the policy shift will take some of the restraints off banks, debt collectors, payday lenders, and other consumer finance companies. Under present law, CFA says the regulations prohibit these companies from taking unreasonable advantage of consumers who do not have the ability to protect themselves or lack an understanding of the risks in complicated financial contracts.

      Christopher Peterson, CFA’s director of financial services, says the agency is attempting to rewrite the law without any input from Congress or the courts.

      “The new policy statement fabricates a ‘good faith’ exception that lets businesses engaging in abusive practices off the hook for financial penalties when they claim violations of the law were unintentional,” Peterson said.

      CFA says the policy change would hamper law enforcement, resulting in slower investigations and less protection for consumers. Peterson, who served as a CFPB law enforcement official in the Obama administration, warned that the new policy would make it “easier for the banking industry to insert tricks and traps in their contracts with the public.”

      The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has taken steps to define what “abusive” means in a statute protecting consumers from abusive acts or pract...
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      Google suspends sales of all commercial Chrome extensions

      The company cites a ‘significant increase’ in extension-related fraud

      Google has taken the unusual step of temporarily suspending all commercial browser extensions sold in the Chrome Web Store.

      The company says it has been alerted to a “significant increase” in scams and frauds being launched by some of these extensions. Chrome users are sometimes urged to download and install certain extensions to enhance the browser’s performance or to make it do special things. There’s almost always some kind of fee involved.

      Now, Google says some of these extensions “aim to exploit users” and all are being suspended until everything can be sorted out. It turns out the problem may have been building over time.

      Unwanted popups

      Nearly a year ago, ZDNet reported that a popular commercial Chrome extension had started serving users with popup ads. At the time, the extension was being used by more than 4 million consumers.

      This particular extension was called Automatic 4K/HD for YouTube and was used to enhance and control the quality of YouTube videos.

      “The popup ads abuse Chrome's ability to show desktop notifications, permission that the extension contains from users during installation, but which it is not allowed to abuse to bombard them with unrelated content, such as ads,” ZDNet reported in February.

      A few months later, Google reviewed and updated its policies regarding third-party extensions for its browser. Most of those updates had to do with better protecting user privacy. In October 2018, Google said it was taking steps to “ensure that all Chrome extensions are trustworthy by default.” 

      Recent discovery

      According to Forbes, this most recent action was driven by a discovery earlier this month that some commercial Chrome extensions were carrying out fraud and that the activity had recently increased.

      Chrome users who have not downloaded or installed extensions that require payment are likely not affected. Users who have paid for extensions will not receive any extension updates until Google lifts its ban.

      In November, the Security Research Team at Checkmarx reported finding a vulnerability in both the Google and Samsung camera app that allowed hackers to commandeer the app and take photos and/or record videos via a malicious application that had zero permission to go that far. 

      Google responded quickly, telling ConsumerAffairs the issue was addressed on impacted Google devices via a Play Store update to the Google Camera Application. A patch was made available to all partners.

      Google has taken the unusual step of temporarily suspending all commercial browser extensions sold in the Chrome Web Store.The company says it has been...
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      Mercedes-Benz recalls CLA250 and CLA45 class vehicles

      The front passenger airbag may not deploy properly

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 129 model year 2015-2018 CLA250 & CLA250 4MATIC, and model year 2017-2018 CLA45 AMG vehicles.

      The Occupant Classification System (OCS) may have been improperly calibrated, which may prevent the proper deployment of the front passenger airbag.

      If the airbag does not deploy as designed, the front seat passenger has an increased risk of an injury.

      What to do

      MBUSA will notify owners, and dealers will replace the passenger seat cushion free of charge.

      The recall is expected to begin February 11, 2020.

      Owners may contact MBUSA customer service at (800) 367-6372.

      Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) is recalling 129 model year 2015-2018 CLA250 & CLA250 4MATIC, and model year 2017-2018 CLA45 AMG vehicles.The Occupant Classi...
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      Fresh Location recalls protein snack tray and protein trail mix

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes

      Fresh Location of Lenoir City, Tenn.. is recalling protein snack tray and protein trail mix.

      The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

      There are no reports of illnesses to date.

      The following products, sold by convenience stores, micro markets, hospitals, hotels and vending machines in Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana and Mississippi, are being recalled:

      • Protein Snack Tray 6.44 oz total weight packaged in a 4-compartment plastic tray with UPC: 8-5511000804-6 and with Fresh by lot dates of: 12/21/19, 12/22/19, 12/24/19, 12/27/19, 12/28/19, 12/29/19, 12/31/19, 01/03/20, 01/04/20
      • Protein Trail Mix 3.52 oz total weight packaged in a 10.5 ounce plastic cup with UPC: 8-5511000813-8 and with Fresh by lot dates of: 12/23/19, 12/24/19, 12/26/19, 12/29/19, 12/30/19, 12/31/19, 01/02/20, 01/05/20, 01/06/20

      What to do

      Customers who purchased the recalled products should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

      Consumers with questions may contact the company at (865) 717-6800, Monday – Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 p (ET).

      Fresh Location of Lenoir City, Tenn.. is recalling protein snack tray and protein trail mix.The products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogene...
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      CDC confirms second case of potentially deadly coronavirus in U.S.

      The agency says as many as 63 other cases are being investigated

      Shortly after citing the first U.S. case of an outbreak of coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a second consumer in Chicago has been diagnosed with the condition.

      The consumer in question had recently visited the Wuhan area of China where the outbreak is believed to have originated. After experiencing symptoms for a few days, the traveler called their health care provider and was admitted to the hospital. Infection control measurements are currently in place, but health officials say the infected individual is in stable condition and doing well. 

      “The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) are investigating locations where this patient went after returning to Illinois and are identifying any close contacts who were possibly exposed,” the CDC said. “The patient has limited close contacts, all of whom are currently well and who will be monitored for symptoms.” 

      The CDC noted that, luckily, the patient had not left their home much after returning from their trip, which should reduce the risk of infection to other people. CNBC reports that the CDC is monitoring as many as 63 other potential cases of the virus.

      Limiting travel and taking precautions

      The current outbreak of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has already been responsible for several deaths abroad and hundreds of sicknesses. Symptoms of the virus are similar to pneumonia, with respiratory problems such as coughing and trouble breathing being reported.

      Consumers are being advised to limit their travel to the Wuhan area of China to avoid infection.

      If any traveler has recently traveled to China and is experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, health officials say they should seek medical care immediately and avoid contact with others. More information about the outbreak can be found on the CDC’s website here.

      Shortly after citing the first U.S. case of an outbreak of coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a second consumer in Chic...
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      FCC may shut New York out of broadband funding under proposed program

      State senators aren’t very happy about it, but the FCC says their time will come

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may shut New York state out of a planned $20.4 billion broadband-funding program, and the Empire State’s U.S. senators aren’t happy about it.

      The reason for the supposed exclusion is that New York already has programs that it participates in that expand rural broadband access. However, state lawmakers say that those programs shouldn’t preclude consumers from benefiting from additional funding.

      “The federal government should be investing—not divesting—in Upstate New York rural internet access. Just because New York participates in certain federal rural broadband expansion programs certainly doesn’t mean it should lose access to others. It makes absolutely no sense to punish New York for taking positive steps to address broadband access,” said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). 

      Why New York?

      In making an argument for New York, Sen. Schumer says that the FCC should reverse its decision to exclude New York to support rural areas in the state. Schumer’s fellow U.S. Senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), also called out the FCC for leaving New York out in the cold. 

      “The FCC’s justification for this is unacceptable. New York shouldn’t be penalized for helping its rural communities get online, and this proposal will only make it harder for rural residents to do just that,” she stated.

      The FCC probably thinks Shumer and Gillibrand should cool their jets a bit and wait their turn. The agency estimates that 98 percent of New York state's residents -- 99.9 percent in urban New York and 87.1 percent in rural New York -- already have access to home broadband. Schumer and Gillibrand argue the number of New Yorkers lacking access to broadband is “close to 20 percent.” 

      Bringing rural America up to speed -- or is it?

      The FCC says the upsides of its proposed program are tremendous for consumers in rural areas, with heavily rural states like Texas and Arkansas being allocated hundreds of thousands of “bid eligible locations.”

      Consumers would also get better internet service than they do now -- 25Mbps download speeds and 3Mbps upload speeds is the goal -- although pundits say that speed lacks ambition and still leaves the U.S. lagging behind Canada’s goal of 50 Mbps/10 Mbps and that the U.S. will still have to play catch-up.

      Reflecting on a Pew Research study that a regular U.S. household has 5 devices and that 18 percent of households actually have 10+ devices, Community Network’s Hannah Trostle foretells a problem the FCC may not have taken into consideration. 

      “Too many people get caught up in how much capacity a single device needs, but our households have many devices that are each vying for access,” Trostle posed. “The question is whether a connection can handle the peak demand, not average.

      The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may shut New York state out of a planned $20.4 billion broadband-funding program, and the Empire State’s U.S. s...
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      Americans are wasting nearly a third of all food in their homes

      Researchers say this translates to hundreds of billions of dollars per year

      Many consumers are making conscious efforts to reduce their food waste, which oftentimes requires a careful reading and understanding of food labels

      However, researchers from Penn State have found that despite these sustainability efforts, food waste is still running rampant across the United States, with consumers throwing away nearly one-third of all food in their homes. 

      “Our findings are consistent with previous studies, which have shown that that 30 percent and 40 percent of the total food supply in the United States goes uneaten -- and that means that resources used to produce the uneaten food, including land, energy, water, and labor, are wasted as well,” said researcher Edward Jaenicke. 

      “But this study is the first to identify and analyze the level of food waste for individual households, which has been nearly impossible to estimate because comprehensive, current data on uneaten food at the household level do not exist.” 

      The food waste epidemic

      The researchers analyzed 4,000 responses to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Household Food Acquisition Survey. 

      Because respondents to the survey are required to provide information like height, weight, gender, and age, the researchers could use these factors to most accurately assess food waste. Participants reported on the food they were getting and throwing away, and the researchers were able to calculate the waste by determining how much food the participants’ bodies physically required. 

      While food waste was occurring in nearly 32 percent of all participants’ homes, the researchers learned that some participants were more likely to waste than others. 

      For example, proximity to the grocery store was a factor in food waste, as those who had a further commute back and forth to the store were less likely to waste food. Conversely, households following specific, oftentimes healthy, diets were throwing away more food, most likely because the shelf life of fruits and vegetables isn’t very long. 

      “More than two-thirds of households in our study have food-waste estimates of between 20 percent and 50 percent,” Jaenicke said. “However, even the least wasteful households waste 8.7 percent of the food it acquires.” 

      Plan before you shop

      According to Jaenicke, planning before going to the grocery store is essential, as those who went grocery shopping with a list were also less likely to waste food. 

      “This suggests that planning and food management are factors that influence the amount of wasted food,” said Jaenicke. 

      The researchers hope that these findings can inspire further work in this area, as knowing what leads consumers to waste food can hopefully help put plans in place to reduce such waste. 

      “While the precise measurement of food waste is important, it may be equally important to investigate further how household-specific factors influence how much food is wasted,” said Jaenicke. “We hope our methodology provides a new lens through which to analyze individual household food waste.” 

      Many consumers are making conscious efforts to reduce their food waste, which oftentimes requires a careful reading and understanding of food labels. H...
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      Amazon files motion to stop Microsoft/Pentagon contract

      The company says the agreement shouldn’t go into effect until after its legal challenge is dealt with

      Being passed over for a big contract can be frustrating for any company, but Amazon isn’t going to take a recent government decision lying down. 

      Reuters reports that the online retailing giant filed a motion earlier this week to stop a contract between Microsoft and Pentagon from taking effect until after its legal challenge to the deal has been dealt with. 

      Amazon alleged back in November that the Pentagon awarded Microsoft a massive cloud contract for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure Project -- known as JEDI -- based on political considerations. The company said it lost out on $10 billion in potential revenue by being passed over. 

      “It’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence,” Amazon spokesman Drew Herdener said in a statement back in November. “Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias -- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”

      Protesting the contract

      The JEDI contract is meant to provide the military with better access to the technology and information it needs when working in remote locations around the world. In challenging the government’s decision to work with Microsoft, Amazon said that it wouldn’t be proper for the contract to proceed while its legal challenge is still being considered.

      “It is common practice to stay contract performance while a protest is pending, and it’s important that the numerous evaluation errors and blatant political interference that impacted the JEDI award decision be reviewed,” Amazon Web Services said in a statement. 

      Officials at the Pentagon have rejected the notion that its choice to work with Microsoft was made with political considerations. 

      Being passed over for a big contract can be frustrating for any company, but Amazon isn’t going to take a recent government decision lying down. Reuter...
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