Today's Consumer: News you can use

By United Press International  |  April 10, 2002 at 4:45 AM
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GOURMET PASTA RECALLED

The Georgia Department of Agriculture said persons who are allergic to eggs should check their cabinets for shaped pasta from The Pasta Shoppe in Nashville, Tenn.

"Eggs were not on the ingredient list on the labels, so the company is recalling all of the products. Our sanitarians are looking for these pasta products on their routine inspections," said Ag Commissioner Tommy Irvin in a statement.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to eggs run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

All of the recalled pasta is packaged in clear polypropylene bags and have decorative labels with The Pasta Shoppe listed as the manufacturer. These products include the following:

Think Snow Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Crazy for Tennis Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Happy Birthday Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Thinking of You Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Star of David Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Crazy for Golf Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

For a Special Mom Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Dear Santa Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

The Night before Christmas Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Lone Star Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Get Well Soon Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Love and Kisses Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Soccer Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Crazy for Fishin' Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Congratulations You're Out of This World Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Heavenly Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Surfin' the Net Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Crazy for Racing Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Good Luck Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

New York City Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Memphis Blues Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Crazy for Cats Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Hippity Hop Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Gourmet by the Pasta Shoppe Vineyard Pasta Grape Clusters & Leaves -- Vineyard Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Thanks a Million Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

My First Baby Pasta - My First Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Ghouly Ghost Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Music City Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Spooky Spider Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Football Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Music Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Fall Festival Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Heavenly Holiday Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Crazy for Dogs Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Home Sweet Home Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Stars and Stripes Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Cravin' the Crab Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Crazy for Sailing Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Baseball Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Crazy for Gardening Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Trees Christmas Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Snowman Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Bama Crimson Tide Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Auburn Tigers pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Gator Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Seminole Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Bulldog Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Jay Hawks KU Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Wildcat UK Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Wolverine Michigan Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Spartan Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Huskers Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Tar Heel's NC Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Fightin' Irish Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Buckeye Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Nittany Lion Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Big Orange UT Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Badger Pasta net wt 6 oz (170g)

Texas A&M Pasta, net wt 6 oz (170g) -- this product was distributed unlabeled.

Ready Set Chili, Quick Chili Mix with Boot Kicking Pasta in two varieties: Southern Homestyle, net wt 7.75 oz (219g) and Spicy Varieties, net wt 7.75 oz (219g)

Ready Set Soup, in the following varieties: Chicken Noodle, Chicken Shaped Pasta with Soup Mix, net wt 9.75 oz (275g); Garden Vegetable, Veggie Shaped Pasta with Soup Mix, net wt 8.5 oz (241g); Homestyle Veggie, Home Sweet Home Pasta with Soup Mix, net wt 8.5 oz (241g); and, Cowboy Black Bean, Boot and Wagon Pasta with Soup Mix, net wt 9 oz (255g)

Ready Set Salad in the following varieties: Team Sports Pasta with Sweet & Sour Vinaigrette, net wt 14 oz (396g); Picnic Pasta with Ranch & Herb Dressing, net wt 12.75 oz (361g); Garden Vegetable Pasta with Creamy Herb Dressing, net wt 12.75 oz (361g); Team Pasta with Sweet & Sour Vinaigrette, net wt 14 oz (396g); Golf Pasta with Ranch and Herb Dressing, net wt 12.75 oz (361g); Gingerbread Man Pasta with Sweet & Sour Vinaigrette, net wt 14 oz (396g); Bushel of Apples Pasta with Apple Cider Vinaigrette, net wt 14 oz (396g); Home Sweet Pasta with Sweet & Sour Vinaigrette, net wt 14 oz (396g), Heart Pasta with Sweet & Sour Vinaigrette, net wt 14 oz (396g); Million Dollar Pasta with Ranch & Herb Dressing, net wt 12.75 oz (361g); and, Vineyard pasta with Red Wine Vinaigrette, net wt 14 oz (396g).

Ready Set Meals in minutes in the following varieties: Sunshine & Flower Pasta Meal with Sunny Day Vinaigrette, net wt 14 oz (397g), Fall Leaves Pasta with Classic Marinara Sauce Mix, net wt 13.2 oz (374g); Chicken Pasta Salad with Chicken Salad Seasoning Mix, net wt 8.85 oz (248g); Musical Pasta Meal with Sweet Melody Vinaigrette, net wt 14 oz (397g); Snowman & Snowflake Pasta with Creamy Parmesan Sauce Mix, net wt 12.75 oz (361g); and, Trees & Santa Pasta with Classic marinara sauce mix, net wt 13.2 oz (374g) -- this product was distributed unlabeled.

Easy Cheesy Pasta in the following varieties: Team Sports, net wt 12 oz (340g); Under the Sea, net wt 12 oz (340g); Heart to Heart, net wt 12 oz (340g); and, Down on the Farm, net wt 12 oz (340g).

(Web site: agr.state.ga.us)


INS PROPOSES SHORTENING VISA STAYS

The Immigration and Naturalization Service has proposed limiting foreign visitors to 30-day stays. They currently may be granted visas for six months.

"These new rules strike the appropriate balance between the INS's mission to ensure that our nation's immigration laws are followed ... and our desire to welcome legitimate visitors to the United States," INS Commissioner James W. Ziglar was quoted as saying in the Washington Post. "While we recognize that the overwhelming majority of people who come to the United States as visitors are honest and law-abiding, the events of Sept. 11 remind us that there will always be those who seek to cause us harm."

The rule change, announced Monday, would take effect after a 30-day period for public comment.

Tourists and business visitors would be required to explain the purpose of their trip. The INS would then decide upon the appropriate length of stay. If such a determination cannot be made, the INS would allow a stay of 30 days, the Post said.

Another rule change, which takes effect immediately, requires foreign students who wish to study in the United States to get student visas before they attend classes. In the past, students could enroll in classes while holding tourist or business visas, and then apply for a change to student visas.


KMART AND PENSKE PART WAYS

Penske Corp. is offering outplacement assistance to about 4,000 employees laid off with the sudden closing of 563 Penske Auto Centers nationwide.

On Monday, Kmart Corp. lost a fight in U.S. bankruptcy court to keep the auto repair shops at its stores open when a judge ruled it was too late to force the car-repair chain to remain in business while Kmart reorganizes under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Penske shut down the repair shops on Friday, days after Kmart failed to make a $5 million payment.

Kmart, the nation's second largest discount retailer, is closing 283 of its 2,114 stores and laying off 22,000 employees -- 63 with Penske auto-repair outlets.


NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR HAILING A CAB

Londoners with mobile phones, handheld computers and other text-capable gizmos will be able to use them to hail a cab, reports the Telegraph newspaper.

Radio Taxis has been testing a text-message system for about six months and expects to offer it citywide within the next two weeks. The company's marketing director, Martin Cox, told the newspaper: "It is a brand new revenue stream for us. We want to tap into the younger market, particularly young professionals, who are increasingly using private hire firms. We also want to get more women customers, who can use the service to get a cab from inside a bar or restaurant rather than having to go outside to hail one."

Customers will have to register a credit card number with Radio Taxis in order to use the service, which also will be available over the Internet. When a cab is ordered, the customer will receive a confirmation, including the taxi's number and the name of the driver.

(Thanks to UPI's Joe Warminsky in Washington)


CREDIT CARD USE

The latest gimmick to encourage credit-card use is letting consumers charge their rent -- which horrifies debt counselors.

"Nobody in our industry in their right mind would be in favor of this," Dianne Wilkman, president of Springboard, a consumer counseling service, told Tuesday's Los Angeles Times. "We don't advise putting the necessities of life on credit," said the head of the nonprofit company based in the Southern California city of Riverside.

More than 1.4 billion credit cards are used by Americans, according to Robert McKinley, president of CardWeb.com, which monitors credit card usage. "It's a saturated industry," McKinley told the Times. "Now the emphasis is to get consumers to use cards for everything."

In an arrangement with credit-card giant Visa, Apartment Investment and Management Co. of Chicago -- the largest property manager in the United States -- allows nearly 1 million tenants to charge their rent. The program, begun two years ago, now covers 46 states, the Times said. Visa declined to reveal how many of the tenants charge their rent.

Archstone-Smith Trust -- a real estate company based in Denver with nationwide holdings -- allows credit-card charges for rent at one of its properties, Studio Colony Apartments in Studio City, Calif. The previous landlord had permitted such charges.

Debt counselors are worried about overuse of credit cards -- unless the consumers pay off their credit card balance in full each month, avoiding interest charges, which can amount to as much as nearly 30 percent per year, depending on the size of the debt owed on the credit card.

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