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New Michigan store marks major milestone for Meijer

BY Alaric DeArment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer will open its 200th store next week, the mass merchandise retailer said Thursday.

Calling the opening of the Swartz Creek, Mich., store a "milestone," the company said it will open on May 16. The store is the first of six new stores the chain plans to open this year in Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.

The 190,000-sq. ft. store will include a full-service drive-through pharmacy offering free generic antibiotics, prenatal vitamins and drugs for diabetes and high cholesterol. Other items will include groceries, a gas station, pet items, general merchandise and others. The store will also sell locally grown produce.


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Taylor Farms expands salad kit line

BY Jason Owen

SALINAS, Calif. — Taylor Farms Retail this week debuted a new Italian Chopped Salad Kit with salami and cheese, expanding on the company’s chopped salad line. The new "Italian Chopped Salad Kit" is a blend of romaine lettuce, broccoli, red cabbage, celery, Italian cheese blend, green onions, salami and parsley.

The newest product in Taylor’s Chopped Salad Kit line is the result of extensive company research and input from consumers through the company’s website and social networks, the company stated.

"We knew our chopped salad kits were great, but frankly the response we’ve gotten from customers has been truly remarkable," said Vicky St.Geme, vice president of marketing, Taylor Farms Retail. "Consumers are connecting with the flavor combinations and the flexibility the kits offer to create snacks or full family meals by adding in proteins and grains."

Featuring fresh produce varieties and tasty mix-in ingredients, Taylor Farms Chopped Salad Kits have rapidly become one of the company’s most popular salad offerings. In addition to the new Italian blend, Taylor Farms’ chopped varieties include Asian, BBQ Ranch, Garden Vegetable, and Southwest. Chopped kits are available a grocery stores and retailers nationwide.


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Senators propose legislation to carve out ‘compounding manufacturers’ subject to FDA regulation

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — One of the difficulties that federal regulators ran into during the nationwide scandal surrounding the New England Compounding Center — the Massachusetts-based pharmacy blamed for a nationwide fungal meningitis epidemic that has sickened hundreds and killed dozens — was the issue of when such pharmacies cross the line from compounding to manufacturing.

New draft legislation — proposed in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee by Sens. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and others — would seek to resolve the issue by creating a new category of drug compounders called "compounding manufacturers" that would be subject to Food and Drug Administration regulation.

In the wake of the NECC scandal, FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg called for giving the FDA the authority to regulate sterile compounding — compounding of medications, usually for injection, that differs from traditional compounding in its complexity and need for attention to sterile practices. Currently, compounding pharmacies are regulated by state boards of pharmacy.

The new legislation would require compounding manufacturers to register with the FDA and pay a fee intended to help cover inspections.

Trade group the National Association of Chain Drug Stores cautioned on what it called potential unintended consequences of the draft legislation, saying it was important to distinguish between traditional compounding – medication orders based on individual prescriptions for products not commercially available – and manufacturing.

“NACDS supports the mission and work of FDA in ensuring that Americans receive only safe and effective prescription medications. Safeguarding the health and welfare of our patients remains our highest priority,” the group said in a statement. “Pharmacist compounding services are the only source of critical medications for millions of patients who each have their own unique health care needs. For these patients, there are no commercially-manufactured preparations available. Accordingly, we agree with FDA that pharmacist compounding services are a valuable and important part of our nation’s healthcare system.”


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