Category Archives: Original

Bagged Salad Recall Expands To Include Vegetables Sold At Walmart, Target, Others

This morning, we shared a recall notice from grocery chain Trader Joe’s that its kohlrabi salad mix had been recalled after a supplier let the company know about potential listeria contamination. It turns out that recall was much bigger, involving other retailers including Albertsons, H-E-B, and Walmart, and vegetables that are less fun to say than “kohlrabi.”

What happened

The company behind the recalled products, Mann Packing, exports some products to Canada, and routine testing of those exports turned up Listeria. While there have been no reported or confirmed illnesses from these products, note that the incubation period for Listeria ranges from three to 70 days, so people could get sick more than two months from now.

What to look for

There are a lot of products included in this recall. They were sold under Mann’s own brand name, and also under the store brands of Archer Farms (Target), H-E-B, Little Salad Bar, Signature Farms (Albertsons), Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and Western Family. You can find a table with all of the items listed at the bottom of this post, and images of the Mann’s packaging for each product is available on the company’s website.

What to do

Mann’s asks that you throw affected products away or return them to the store where they were purchased for a refund. If you have any questions about the recall or the products, contact the company at 888-470-2681 or use its email form.
Product “Best Before” Date UPC
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Carrots, 12 oz bags 10/14, 10/15, 10/16 716519013058
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Cauliflower Florets, 16 oz bags 10/14, 10/16 716519012174
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Cauliflower Florets, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013034
10/16/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw, 1 lb bags 10/15/2017 716519011009
10/17/2017
Mann’s Broccoli Cole Slaw, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013072
10/15/2017
10/17/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Wokly, 1 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519010163
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Broccoli Wokly, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013010
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Culinary Cuts Shaved Brussels Sprout, 9 oz bas 10/14/2017 716519036859
10/15/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites California Stir Fry, 2 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519020186
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites California Stir Fry, 1 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519012181
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites California Stir Fry, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013065
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Cauliflower Florets, 3 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519020292
10/16/2017
Mann’s Culinary Cuts Cauliettes Chopped Cauliflower, 14 oz bags 10/15/2017 716519069017
10/14/2017 716519069017
10/15/2017 716519069017
10/16/2017 716519069017
Mann’s Family Favorites Cauliflower Florets, 10 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519014031
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Snacking Favorites Cheddar Pretzel Veggie Tray, 19.6 oz tray 10/15/2017 716519020445
10/16/2017
Mann’s Fiesta Vegetable Tray, 35.5 oz tray 10/14/2017 716519088728
10/16/2017
Mann’s Snacking Favorites Honey Turkey Cheddar, 20.3 oz Tray 10/14/2017 716519020483
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Kale Beet Blend, 8 oz Bags 10/14/2017 716519000287
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowls Southwest Chipotle, 10.5 oz trays 10/18/2017 716519036958
10/19/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowls Bacon Maple Brussels, 7.15 oz Tray 10/12/2017 716519036941
10/13/2017
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
10/18/2017
10/19/2017
10/20/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowl Monterey Risotto, 8.75 oz Tray 10/11/2017 716519036798
10/12/2017
10/13/2017
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/18/2017
10/19/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowls Sesame Sriracha, 12 oz Tray 10/12/2017 716519036811
10/13/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
10/19/2017
10/20/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowl Cauli Rice Curry, 11 oz Tray 10/11/2017 716519036897
10/12/2017
10/13/2017
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/18/2017
10/19/2017
Mann’s Nourish Bowls Southwest Chipotle, 10.5 oz Tray 10/12/2017 716519036859
10/13/2017
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/18/2017
10/19/2017
Mann’s Vegetable Tray, 54 oz tray 10/15/2017 716519014055
Mann’s Power Blend, 20 oz bags 10/17/2017 716519000416
Mann’s Power Blend, 10 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013119
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
Mann’s Rainbow Salad, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013089
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Vegetable Medley, 2 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519020155
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Vegetable Medley, 1 lb bags 10/14/2017 716519012150
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Family Favorites Vegetable Medley, 12 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519013041
10/16/2017
10/14/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Vegetable Tray, 2.5 lb tray 10/15/2017 716519014079
10/16/2017
Mann’s Snacking Favorites Hummus Tray, 16.5 oz trays 10/14/2017 716519014758
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Mann’s Snacking Favorites Veggie Ranch Tray, 16.5 oz bags 10/14/2017 716519020575
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Archer Farms (Target) Broccoli Slaw 12 OZ bags 10/16/2017 85239343142
Archer Farms Broccoli Cauliflower Florets, 12oz bags 10/14/2017 085239341148
10/15/2017
Archer Farms Broccoli Florets 12oz bags 10/14/2017 085239319147
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Archer Farms Broccoli Medley 12oz Bags 10/14/2017 085239339145
10/15/2017
Archer Farms Brussels Sprouts, 12oz bags 10/14/2017 085239301142
Archer Farms Shaved Brussels Sprouts, 9oz bags 10/15/2017 085239193143
Archer Farms Cauliflower Florets, 10oz bags 10/14/2017 085239030141
H-E-B Broccoli Carrots, 12 OZ bags 10/15/2017 4122097508
10/16/2017
H-E-B Broccoli Cauliflower, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122097503
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
H-E-B Broccoli Florets, 12 OZ bags 10/15/2017 4122097505
10/16/2017
H-E-B Broccoli Slaw, 12 OZ bags 10/16/2017 4122097512
10/17/2017
H-E-B Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad, 10OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122065112
10/15/2017
H-E-B Veggie Toss Kit Caulibit Mushroom Sauce, 11oz bags 10/15/2017 4122017706
10/16/2017
H-E-B Caulibits Chopped Cauliflower, 14oz bags 10/15/2017 4122009327
10/16/2017
H-E-B Cauliflower Florets, 10 OZ bags 10/15/2017 4122032278
10/16/2017
H-E-B Fiesta Salad, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122097501
10/16/2017
10/17/2017
H-E-B Power Slaw, 10 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122083223
10/17/2017
H-E-B Stir Fry Medley, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122097504
10/16/2017
H-E-B Vegetable Medley, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 4122097506
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Little Salad Bar Broccoli Florets, 12 OZ bags 10/15/2017 041498216030
Little Salad Bar Broccoli Slaw, 12 OZ bags 10/16/2017 041498216047
Signature Farms Meat & Cheese Tray, 36 OZ trays 10/14/2017 021130110964
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Cauliflower Florets 4/28 OZ bags 10/14/2017 021130984497
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Cauliflower Florets 6/12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 21130983407
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Slaw 12 OZ bags 10/15/2017 21130983391
10/17/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Stir Fry 28 OZ bags 10/14/2017 021130984459
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Florets 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 021130983407
10/15/2017
Signature Farms Broccoli Stir Fry, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 21130983322
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip, 24 OZ. trays 10/14/2017 021130299553
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip, 24OZ (NS) trays 10/14/2017 021130299553
10/15/2017
Signature Farms Veggie Tray with Ranch Dip, 54 OZ. trays 10/16/2017 21130299560
Signature Farms Vegetable Medley, 28 OZ bags 10/14/2017 021130984466
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Vegetable Medley, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 21130983322
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Signature Farms Veggie & Hummus Tray (NS), 16.5OZ trays 10/14/2017 021130984282
Signature Farms Veggie & Hummus Tray, 16.5 OZ trays 10/14/2017 021130984282
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Trader Joe’s Kohlrabi Salad Blend, 10 OZ Bags 10/14/2017 0058 6146
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Broccoli Cauliflower Florets, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 681131328852
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Broccoli Florets, 32 oz bags 10/14/2017 681131122344
10/16/2017
Walmart Broccoli Florets, 12 OZ bags 10/14/2017 681131328845
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Broccoli Slaw, 16 OZ bags 10/14/2017 681131148207
10/15/2017
Walmart Stir Fry Medley, 12 OZ bags 10/13/2017 681131457460
10/14/2017
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Cauliflower Florets, 10 OZ bags 10/14/2017 681131091381
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Cauliflower 6/16 oz 10/14/2017 681131122320
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Super Blend, 10oz bags 10/13/2017 681131148368
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Vegetable Medley, 2LB bags 10/14/2017 681131457378
10/15/2017
10/16/2017
Walmart Vegetable Medley 9/12 OZ WM 10/14/2017 681131328791
10/15/2017
10/16/2017

California Accuses Retailer Of Using Bait-And-Switch Tactics To Lure In Customers

A Los Angeles-area chain of retail stores is accused by the state of repeatedly misleading customers into thinking they were going to get a good price on merchandise only to be told after they get into the store that the only way to get that advertised price is if they spend more money. The office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today that it has filed a lawsuit [PDF] against Curacao, an L.A.-based retailer that largely serves the areas Spanish-speaking community. Curacao has been around for nearly 40 years, and currently operates a dozen stores, mostly in Southern California, with two locations in Arizona, and one store in Las Vegas. While the store represents itself as a competitor with the big box chains, the state’s lawsuit alleges that “Curacao victimizes consumers through a variety of unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practices.” Becerra claims that Curacao advertises low prices and easy credit, primarily to an immigrant community with no or limited access to credit. But, alleges the complaint, these ads are “false or misleading,” and in-store employees are allegedly instructed to not sell items at the advertised price unless the customer spends additional money on unnecessary add-ons, like warranties or overpriced accessories. “Curacao often tells consumers that merchandise advertised by Curacao is either unavailable, or available only as part of a more expensive bundle that was not disclosed in Curacao’s advertising,” reads the complaint. “Curacao fails to honor prices as they are advertised and marked on its sales floor, and fails to supply reasonably expected demand for the merchandise it advertises.” In some cases, says the state, Curacao employees are adding warranties or additional services to the customer’s order without telling them. The lawsuit claims that employees hide these add-ons by getting the customer to sign a touch screen agreeing to the contract and only then providing them with an itemized bill and a full copy of the agreement. Curacao customers are often talked into warranties that in many cases were meaningless, alleges the lawsuit. The state claims that store employees would fail to provide customers with copies of, or any information about, these warranties. Those customers who tried to get a warranty repair were frequently denied or had their warranties voided by Curacao, according to the state. What’s more, the complaint claims that Curacao misled state regulators about the warranties it sells. The retailer had told state authorities that it was selling warranties administered by a third party, when in reality it was allegedly selling self-administered warranties, but without the insurance or financial backing that is required under California law. The state says that customers who returned products to Curacao would still be charged for installment payments warranties for products they no longer owned, and that customers were charged for third-party warranties that didn’t exist. But wait… There’s more. Employees allegedly deceive customers about the price and necessity of accessories, falsely telling shoppers these add-on items may be vital to operating their main purchase. Additionally, says Becerra, sometimes the prices are low on Curacao products because they are used; a fact that is not disclosed to the customer. Even if a customer does purchase a Curacao product at the advertised price, they could end up paying several times the product’s value if they sign up for the store’s financing program, which is heavily marketed in both the stores and the Curacao website. The complaint notes that Curacao markets this option at the reasonable — for a store credit line — APR or 19.99%, but that most Curacao customers are ultimately given rates that are about one-and-half times that rate at 34.99%. The state also alleges that Curacao employees are instructed to encourage customers to use up all their available store credit immediately. If a Curacao customer did fall behind on payments, Becerra says the retailer used illegal debt-collection tactics, like calling customers early in the morning, late at night, threatening arrest and seizure of property. The state claims that these tactics sometimes kept going years after a customer had already paid their debt to Curacao in full. When Curacao did make good on threats of legal actions against debtors, it allegedly used an unlicensed process server who fabricated proof of service documents to make it appear as if a customer had been served with legal papers when they had not. As a result, contends the complaint, these customers were unable to contest their alleged debt in court but Curacao was able to obtain default judgments and their wages to repay debt the customer might not have owed. At a press event in L.A. this morning to announce the lawsuit, Becerra labled Curacao’s alleged bad behavior “disgraceful” and “unlawful.” “Curacao has a right to market its goods but not to take advantage of its customers,” said the attorney general.

Twitter Puts Timeline On Curbing Hateful Abuse; For Real This Time. No, Seriously

Ever since it gave birth to its first anonymous, hateful egg, Twitter has been promising to do something to repair its reputation as a verbal battle royale of vitriolic threats and malicious dog-piling. After a decade of half-steps (and steps back, in some cases), Twitter has now given an actual timeline for when it will implement what it hopes are policy changes that will result in a less menacing social media platform — but can Twitter actually stuff its nasty genie back in the bottle?

One Thing at a Time

The calendar Twitter released today includes a detailed timeline of when planned features and rules are supposed to role out between today and the first week of January. Up first are the changes to the non-consensual nudity (i.e. “revenge porn”) policy, joined by an ability to appeal account suspensions. Those will be followed in November by an initiative to “educate abusers about our rules,” as well as some updates to the rules themselves. The updated terms of service will include language about violent groups, hateful imagery and symbols, “unwanted sexual advances,” and an “Expanded definition” of “spam and related behaviors.” Later in the month, Twitter says it will be updating its process for reviewing reports, and adding new tools that help them process reports about harassment, abuse, and spam when they come in. Then, in December, Twitter plans to update the way it handles “witness” reports — the ones you send when you are not the target of an abuser or harasser, but see it happening. Updates to the review process for witness reports are scheduled to be completed in January.

Promises, Promises

Twitter, as a platform, has never been immune to abuse and harassment — but in recent years, streams of abuse have become rivers, and then tsunamis. After actor Robin Williams’ death in 2014, his daughter Zelda was driven off of Twitter by a wave of abuse. As we noted at the time, there’s really nothing Twitter can do to prevent some users from being, well, utter a-holes. But the service can take action to mitigate the massive, unrelenting, targeted hate campaigns that regularly strike anyone — especially, but not exclusively, women and people of color — who speaks out about a cultural or political issue. Then-CEO Dick Costolo admitted in internal emails in 2015 that “we suck at dealing with abuse and trolls, and we’ve sucked at it for years.” He added that he was, “frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue,” adding, “There’s no excuse for it.” That was more than two years ago. Many times since, the company has promised to do something. Consider: To many users, however, the company’s endless promises to do better seem more than a bit rote, at this stage, and so far most of the “solutions” on offer have evidently failed to curb the problem in any meaningful way.

5 Ways To Make Sure You Have A Safe Halloween

It’s nearly Halloween, which means costumes, candy, parties, pumpkins, and — again — candy. But just because you’re all jacked up on a sugar high — or by the mere thought of your eventual sugar high — doesn’t mean you and your family can’t be safe this Halloween. The Food and Drug Administration — along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — recently updated their Halloween safety tips, warning individuals to be wary of the dangers lurking on Halloween — and we don’t mean ghosts and goblins. From flammable costumes to face paint allergies, the agencies issued guidelines intended to keep children and festive adults happy and healthy on Oct. 31.

1. Wear Bright, Flame-Resistant Costumes

We’ve already warned Halloween revelers that it’s not a great idea to wear an entirely black body suit while trick-or-treating, and the agencies reiterate that sentiment. For instance, the guidelines suggest individuals wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape so they’ll be more visible. Costumes should also be “flame resistant” or made with polyester or nylon.

2. Test Your Makeup

When it comes to decorating your face, the agencies urge individuals to test their makeup in advance to ensure they don’t suffer an allergic reaction. For example, the agencies suggest putting a small amount of the makeup on the arm of the person who will be wearing it. If a rash, redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation develop where the makeup was applied, that’s a sign of a possible allergy, and shouldn’t be used, the guidelines note. Additionally, because much of the makeup used during Halloween include vibrant colors, users should check that FDA’s list of color additives to see if their products are FDA approved for use.

3. Avoid Decorative Contact Lenses

While colored contact lenses — think cat eyes — might seem like the perfect finishing touch to a costume, the FDA warned the decorative lenses could pose a health risk for users. The FDA and several eye care professional groups, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, and others, are discouraging the use of decorative or colored contact lenses this year. When bought and used without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care, the lenses can lead to significant risks of eye injuries, including blindness. Additionally, if you have never worn contact lenses before, Halloween should not be the first time you wear them, the agencies warn. Instead, if you plan to wear decorative lenses, you should first see an eye care professional for a proper fitting and instructions for safe use.

4. Safe Handling

As for the bags and buckets you use to collect candy, safety experts have previously warned that you should pick those containers carefully. Two years ago, Consumerist saw a variety of ways in which parents were reusing their orange Tide Pods buckets as Halloween candy buckets. Sure, the idea might seem to be a creative way to “epicycle” the Pods packaging, but there were concerns that the containers might send a confusing message to children. Namely, that the orange containers house candy year-round. “We all like Halloween,” William Wallace, policy analyst with our colleagues at Consumers Union, told Consumerist in 2015. “But these containers are intended to keep detergent pods away from young kids. Using them for candy baskets could be confusing.” While potentially confusing a child on what holds candy and what holds detergent is bad enough, the reuse of Tide containers also created other concerns: are people properly cleaning these containers — which only recently held dozens of poisonous detergent pods — before turning them into treats totes?

5. Check Your Candy

When it comes to all that candy you (or your children) will undoubtedly receive this year, the FDA, CPSC, and CDC provide a few steps that should be taken before you indulge. For instance, adults should inspect children’s candy for any sign of tampering, read labels for allergy warning, and remove any choking hazards from Halloween bags before giving them to children. For more Halloween safety tips, check out the FDA’s full list of guidelines.   

Taco Bell Testing Quesadillas Filled With Kit Kats, Twix Bars

Taco Bell is basically a deep-fried stick of butter away from being a food booth at your local state fair. The latest result of the Bell’s plan to wrap any recognizable junk food inside a tortilla has resulted in two dessert quesadillas stuffed with either Twix bar pieces or Kit Kats. Taco Bell customers began spotting the “Kit Kat Chocoladilla” and “Twix Caramel Chocoladilla” in recent weeks, as Brand Eating reports that the fast food company is testing the desserts at stores in Wisconsin. The items look much like a traditional quesadilla, but instead of chicken and cheese, they come stuffed with Kit Kat or Twix pieces and melted chocolate. Both of the desserts — or they could be your meal, no judgment here — are selling for $1. This isn’t the first time Taco Bell has offered the chocolatey quesadillas. Brand Eating notes that the fast food company sold the Kit Kat version in the UK last year, but called it the “Chocodilla.” Consumerist has reached out to Taco Bell for more information on how long the tests will last and if the product will make it to more restaurants. We’ll update this post if we hear back.

Spotted In The Wild

Several Twitter users have spied both versions of the Chocoladilla at their local Taco Bell restaurants.

Reddit user kgjettaIV said the Twix version wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either.

“I was hoping for something good as I really enjoy a Twix bar every now and then and while it wasn’t perfect it was pretty good,” he wrote, adding that the flavors “worked pretty well together,” though the filling was as plentiful as photos make it seem.

Artist Sues Hotel, Claiming His Paintings Became Infested With Bedbugs, Were Used In Porn Shoots

Hotel guests are notorious for treating their temporary living quarters with utter disregard; the phrase “trashing a hotel room” has been part of cultural parlance since at least the dawn of the rock star. Even the poshest of resorts often fall victim to their guests’ worst proclivities. In spite of all the obvious risk involved, one artist thought it would be a good idea to not only have his artwork displayed throughout a luxury hotel, but to install that artwork in the form of headboards. Now he’s suing the hotel after finding out that guests have apparently been treating his art like any other piece of hotel furniture — which, obviously, includes being in the background of porn videos. In a complaint [PDF] filed this week in a San Diego court, French painter Yves Clement lays out multiple allegations against the operators of the city’s historic U.S. Grant Hotel, where his work has been on display for more than ten years. According to the lawsuit, Clement spent five months in 2005 working at the U.S. Grant and creating hundreds of pieces of artwork. In addition to his drawings and paintings being shown in public spaces around the hotel, it was also integrated directly into the guest room furniture. As part of a “Sleeping With Art” concept, several of Clement’s paintings were integrated into headboards. In all, he claims the collection was originally estimated at around $3.8 million and is now worth anywhere from $6.6 million to $17 million, depending on who you ask. The big catch here is that the hotel doesn’t own Clement’s artwork — apparently not even the headboard pieces — but rather leases them from the artist. The original 2005 lease was extended in 2015 for another ten years, according to the lawsuit. One of the conditions of this deal, according to the lawsuit, is that U.S. Grant is supposed to return any damaged artwork to Clement. Instead, he claims that he just happened to learn about a possible bedbug infestation while visiting the framing shop used by the hotel to mount Clement’s paintings. He says he noticed some of his hotel canvasses at the shop and asked why they were covered in plastic. According to Clement, the shop’s owner told him that these paintings had just been treated for bedbugs and were to be remounted. “Mr. Clement observed small dark spots on the canvas underneath the plastic,” reads the complaint. “Aside from the physical evidence of what appeared to be bedbugs and/or bedbug droppings, which ruins the visual look of Mr. Clement’s art, a bedbug infestation renders the artwork unsalable. Mr. Clement’s clientele would be unwilling to purchase work that had been exposed to bedbugs. Therefore, all affected pieces must be considered a total loss.” A subsequent visit to the hotel turned up 90 pieces of artwork that Clement claims were “damaged or destroyed” — cut canvases, unidentifiable splatters, and graffiti, among other ugliness. Clement argues that it’s not just the physical damage that is problematic; the fact that the hotel allowed these pieces to continue to be displayed while in such allegedly poor condition could result in reputational harm. He says he has asked the hotel to return the damaged pieces to him, but to no avail. Similarly, Clement claims that hotel management has refused to show him copies of the insurance polices the U.S. Grant was contractually required to take out to protect the collection. The lawsuit also notes that Clement’s headboards have been “prominently featured in commercial pornographic films,” all made by a San Diego website that shoots its videos in the city’s various upscale hotels. Clement argues that this site has multiple X-rated videos shot in different rooms of the U.S. Grant and showing his distinctive headboard artwork. Clement argues that the hotel was negligent, by failing to take “appropriate and effective measures to prevent this practice.” Clement seeks unspecified compensatory damages, plus interest. The U.S. Grant is owned by Marriott under the Starwood and Luxury Collection brands. We’ve reached out to the company for comment and will update if we receive a response. [via Courthouse News]

Could A Laptop Ban Be Coming For Checked Luggage?

Given the possibility of theft, damage, and loss, packing your laptop in a checked bag is not a good idea to begin with. Even so, travelers continue to stow their computers and other large electronics in their checked luggage. But that could come to and, now that the Federal Aviation Administration has urged airlines around the world to stop this practice, citing the fire and explosion risk posed by the batteries in these devices. The Chicago Tribune reports that the FAA made the suggestion in a paper filed with the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency that sets global aviation safety standards.

Exploding Batteries

The FAA pointed to recent tests of laptop lithium-ion batteries packed in checked luggage that found the devices could overheat causing fires, and in some cases explosions, as evidence supporting the need for a ban. In all, the FAA conducted 10 tests in which a fully-charged laptop was placed in a packed suitcase near a variety of different consumer products permitted to be stored in checked luggage. To imitate the cargo area of a plane, researchers placed a heater near the bag. This forced the laptop’s battery into a condition in which its temperature rises continually, The Tribune reports. In one test, researchers placed an aerosol can of dry shampoo — which is permitted to be stored in checked luggage — next to the battery inside a suitcase. Once the battery was heated up, a fire started almost immediately. After about 40 seconds, the aerosol can exploded and the fire grew. According to the FAA, the Halon gas fire suppressant system used in the plane’s cargo area was unable to extinguish the fire before the explosion occurred. While the FAA notes that the fire and explosion might not be enough to damage the plane, if the Halon system doesn’t work properly the fire could spread, causing more damage. Safety experts previously addressed this concern with our colleagues at Consumer Reports, noting that even if the suppression system worked, the batteries could continue to heat up or cause a chain reaction in which other batteries catch fire. The Tribune reports that other FAA tests included packing nail polish remover, hand sanitizer, and other products near the laptop. In these cases, a fire started, but no explosion occurred.

The Recommendation

The FAA recommended to ICAO in the paper that passengers be prohibited from packing large electronic devices in checked baggage unless they have specific approval from the airline, The Tribune reports. The agency notes that even without an airline’s approval lithium-ion batteries could make their way on to a plane via baggage transfers or cargo shipments. The FAA already prohibits passengers from packing spare lithium-ion batters in checked luggage, requiring travelers pack those items in carry-on luggage. The Tribune reports that other aviation agencies — including the European Safety Agency — along with Airbus, the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Association, and other groups agreed with the FAA’s findings and recommendation to ICAO. The ICAO is expected to discuss a possible laptop ban during meetings this week and next week in Montreal.

Past Issues

The FAA’s recommendation to ICAO comes just months after the agency reported that exploding lithium-ion battery explosions appeared to be on the rise. According to a June report [PDF] from the FAA, in just the first four months of 2017 the agency had received reports of 17 incidents in which devices with lithium-ion batteries caught fire, overheated, or smoked in airplanes. Of these incidents, at least four occurred in the cargo or baggage hold area of the plane. In all, the FAA said that since 1991 there have been 160 air or airport incidents involving lithium-ion batteries carried as cargo or baggage. However, the agency notes that the statistics shouldn’t be considered complete list, as it only reflects episodes reported to the agency.

Salad Mix From Trader Joe’s Recalled For Potential Listeria

Check your salad mix before you sit down to your next crunchy bowl of shredded kohlrabi, cabbage, and beets: Bags of that blend from Trader Joe’s that were distributed nationwide have been recalled because they may contain Listeria monocytogenes, a foodborne illness that can have potentially deadly complications.

What to look for

The affected products are 10-ounce bags of Trader Joe’s Kohlrabi Salad Blend, which were distributed to Trader Joe’s stores nationwide. Potentially affected bags are marked with “best before” dates of OCT 14 2017, OCT 15 2017, or OCT 16 2017. Yes, Oct. 17 has passed, but “best before” dates on a package aren’t a hard expiration date. There have been no reported illnesses from this product, and the supplier discovered the potential contamination.

What to do

If you do have this product in your home, Trader Joe’s asks that you either throw it away without eating it or return it to the store for a refund. If you have any questions about the prouct or about the recall, call Trader Joe’s at 626-599-3817 or use the retailer’s email contact form. Listeria is a potentially deadly pathogen, posing a particular danger to pregnant women and their fetuses, children, people with compromised immune systems, and elderly people. Symptoms of infection can include a high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. If you’ve already eaten the product, monitor yourself for symptoms and contact a health care provider if you become sick, especially if you’re in a high-risk group.The bacteria have an incubation period of up to 70 days, meaning it can be in your body for two months or more before making you sick.

Target’s Plan To Combat Online Rivals: Open, Remodel More Actual Stores

While Walmart increasingly turns its focus online to bring in customers, Target is doing the opposite, doubling down on efforts to get customers inside its physical stores. To that end, the company will open dozens of new stores and remodel another 1,000 in coming years. Target announced today that it would build on its previously unveiled initiative to remodel stores in a way that is more convenient for customers and encourages them to stick around, and you know, shop some more.

Getting A New Look

The expanded plan will see Target add 325 additional stores to its list of to-be-remodeled locations. Previously, the company said it would remodel more than 600 locations through 2019. Now, the retailer says it will remodel more than 1,000 stores through 2020. The decision to add to the number of remodels came after Target saw an increase in sales at recently redesigned locations. CEO Brian Cornell said at an event marking the opening of a New York City store today that the retailer experienced a 2% to 4% sales boost at the locations, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The remodels, which will be customized based on customer feedback, will feature stenciled floors, unique lighting, and wood-paneled walls and beams, Target previously announced. One entrance will be for customers in a rush, complete with an online order pickup counter close by and grab-and-go food and beverage displays near the exits. This section will also house the stores’ groceries and new beer and wine section. The second entrance will contain merchandise displays meant to grab customers’ attention in the hopes they’ll make purchases. The store will also feature outdoor space for those times when guests are just wandering around the store avoiding their family. Additionally, the new Target stores will have curved, more circular center aisles that will feature merchandise displays to engage guests with compelling products.

New Stores

In addition to remodeling more than 1,000 existing stores, Target says it will also accelerate the opening of new locations, including its smaller-format design. Target is opening 32 new stores in 2017, with plans to open 35 new stores in 2018. Cornell noted today that building the smaller-format locations — typically located in urban areas and near colleges — has provided the company with a set of untapped customers. “The majority of shoppers are brand new to Target,” Cornell said of customers to the smaller-format locations. So far, Target has opened 55 small-format stores, but expects that number to increase to 130 by next fall.

GM, States Reach $120M Settlement Over Claims It Kept Ignition Switch Defect Under Wraps

Three years after General Motors recalled millions of cars that contained a ignition switch defect that was ultimately linked to more than 120 deaths, the carmaker is finally closing another chapter of the saga. The company will pay $120 million to resolve allegations that it failed to disclose the safety defect in a timely manner.  The settlement puts an end to a years-long multi-state investigation that aimed to determine if GM failure to properly address the dangerous safety defect. “Instead of prioritizing customers, General Motors turned a blind eye for years and chose to conceal the safety defects associated with several models of their vehicles,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. In all, 49 states and the District of Columbia will receive $120 million from GM, while the company has also agreed to complete all applicable repairs and no longer misrepresent vehicles as “safe” until they comply with federal safety standards. Arizona was not included in the settlement, as the state had filed its own lawsuit against GM.  According to the states’ complaint [PDF], General Motors and certain employees knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch found in millions of vehicles contained a safety defect that could cause an airbag to fail to deploy in the event of a crash. The states contended that General Motors Corporation (GM before its 2009 bankruptcy restructuring) knew prior to the switches going into production in 2002 that the device was “prone to movement out of the ‘run’ position, but that production was approved regardless.”

Road To Recall

Starting in 2004 and 2005, GM customers and employees began experiencing sudden stalls and engine shutoffs caused by the switch. In late 2004, the company opened the first of six engineering inquiries into the switch; this was meant to consider changes to the device. That inquiry was closed “with no action.” Despite this purported knowledge, the suit alleged that GM did not issue a recall of these dangerous vehicles until nearly 10 years later. Instead, the company decided the issue wasn’t a safety concern, and continued to market the vehicles as reliable and safe, the suit claims. Finally, beginning in Feb. 2014, GM issued seven recalls affecting nine million vehicles that contained the ignition switch defect. The states alleged that GM’s inaction and reiteration that vehicles were safe constituted unfair and deceptive practices in violation of state consumer protection laws. To resolve these claims, GM will no longer represent a vehicle as “safe” unless it complies with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards; will only represent that certified pre-owned vehicles are safe if they do not have open safety recalls or those recalls have been addressed; and will instruct dealers that all recall repairs be made before a GM vehicle is sold in the U.S.