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Today's Consumer: News you can abuse

By United Press International   |   Dec. 19, 2001 at 4:45 AM
CHICKEN NUGGETS RECALLED

The Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service on Tuesday announced the recall of 202,000 pounds of chicken nuggets that may be contaminated with plastic.

Luigino's Inc. of Jackson, Ohio, said the chicken nuggets were packaged between Nov. 6 and Dec. 5 and distributed to retail stores nationwide and in Canada.

The nuggets were packaged as Michelina's Zap 'ems Chicken Littles, and Fries and Chicken Nuggets, with P-18297 inside the USDA seal. The 5.5-ounce boxes of Chicken Littles, sold in the United States, bear identification codes J1310N8, J1312D8, J1330D8, J1323D8, J1331D8 or J1339D8. The 5.5-ounce boxes of Fries and Chicken, sold in Canada, bear identification codes J1310D8, J1312N8, J1320D8, J1320N8, J1316D8 or J1339N8.

For more information, consumers may call 218-723-5555.


SHRIMP RECALLED

Tai Foong USA of Seattle has recalled its Northern King 2-pound packages of frozen 26/30 Simple Peel Raw Shrimp because they may contain undeclared sulfites, posing an allergy risk for some people.

The product was sold at Wegman's supermarkets in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania between Sept. 1 and Nov. 3. The recall involves one shipment from an overseas packer and is considered an isolated incident.

For more information, consumers can call 800-388-3666.


CHILDREN'S DRESSERS RECALLED

Sandberg Manufacturer Co. of Los Angeles has recalled 8,200 children's dressers because they can tip over. Sandberg and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said they had received one report of a dresser tipping, but no injuries resulted.

The recalled dressers, model No. 26224, have four drawers and come in light brown or off-white, with heart-shaped handles. They were sold by independent home furnishing stores nationwide between July 1999 and November 2001 for about $230.

Consumers are advised to stop using the dressers immediately and call Sandberg toll-free at 800-498-2979 for instructions on how to fix them.


CRIBS RECALLED

LaJobi Industries Inc. of Edison, N.J., has recalled 400 cribs because the heads of young children could become stuck in the cutouts on the end panels, leading to possible strangulation. The company said it has received no reports of incidents and is conducting the recall as a precautionary measure.

The recalled cribs are the Molly and Betsy models. They came in natural, antique green and antique white, and were sold by juvenile specialty stores nationwide between May 2000 and September 2001 for $700 for the Molly and $650 for the Betsy.

Consumers are advised to stop using the cribs immediately and contact LaJobi toll-free at 888-266-2848 to receive replacement end panels.


CHEAPER GASOLINE

Barring more terrorism incidents, gasoline prices for Christmas should be like getting a nice gift from Santa Claus.

Many parts of the country are seeing the lowest pump prices in two years, with unleaded regular averaging $1.07 a gallon nationwide Tuesday, according to the American Automobile Association. Self-serve unleaded sold for an average 93 cents a gallon in the St. Louis area on Tuesday, down 14 cents from Thanksgiving week, and a price war broke out between two stations in Shrewsbury, Mo., with regular selling for just 85.9 cents a gallon.

Another price war between a discount station and a Citgo station in Rockford, Ill., on Monday, lowered unleaded regular to 89 cents at the corner of Harlem and Forest Hills Road.

"For some reason these guys just don't like each other," said Norma Cooper, spokeswoman for the AAA-Chicago Motor Club in Aurora, Ill.

Cooper said three factors had depressed demand for gasoline: airlines are using less jet fuel, business travel has not rebounded since Sept. 11 and leisure travel is down overall.

The AAA expects 53.7 million Americans to travel this weekend, 42.2 million by automobile, and with warm weather prevailing across much of the nation, this could be a good weekend to drive to grandma's.

In fact, this December could go into the weather records as the warmest ever in the Midwest. While it's too early to predict whether it will be a white or a green Christmas, the temperature in normally frigid Milwaukee averaged 40.4 degrees -- 13.5 degrees above normal -- during the first two weeks of December. And there has been no snow.

(Thanks to UPI's Al Swanson in Chicago)


NETFLIX DVD SERVICE THRIVES

NetFlix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings said a $40 late fee for a month-late copy of "Apollo 13" inspired him to launch his company, which rents DVDs over the Web for a flat rate per month and sends most of them through the mail.

"We were passe during the bubble because we weren't cutting-edge," Hastings told CNET News.com. "But like AOL, we've focused on the ease of use, flat fees and unlimited usage."

NetFlix works like this: Customers visit the company's Web site, and list about 10 movies in the order they want to rent them. After paying the $19.95 monthly fee, the customers get about three movies at a time in the mail, with NetFlix picking up the postal charges. There are no late fees.

NetFlix says it now has more than 300,000 subscribers, adding as many as 15,000 new subscribers a month since September.


CATALOG TROLLING VIA GOOGLE

Search engine Google has started a new service that allows users to search through the pages of more than 600 current traditional catalogs, as well as hundreds of back issues. The catalog search was made possible by scanning in each page of the catalogs and running the information through text-recognition software.

David Krane, a spokesman for the site, told Wired News: "Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. This effort is consistent with our mission."

The service is still being tested, and it cannot be reached from Google's home page. But it is available through Google's advanced search page, or by typing catalogs.google.com directly into a Web browser.

(The above two items thanks to UPI's Joe Warminsky in Washington)

© 2001 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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