GLOBAL SAFETY STANDARDS: Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest grocery chain, is adopting new global safety standards for its private label and other foods at a time when analysts say consumers are more concerned than ever about food safety. Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart said Monday it will require audits using global safety standards at thousands of factories worldwide that produce its house brands, including Sam's Choice, and other items that don't carry major brand names. Wal-Mart said in a statement that it is the first national grocery chain in the United States to adopt the Global Food Safety Initiative standards for its private-label products. Analysts said the move could give Wal-Mart a pro-safety image boost that would help its grocery business, already one of its strongest sales areas along with home electronics, pharmacy, and the health and beauty aisles.
NO MORE CELL PHONE NUMBERS ONLINE: Intelius Inc., a startup that launched online directory assistance for cell phone numbers, has shut down the service after complaints from consumers and Verizon Wireless. Intelius had 90 million numbers in its database, according to its Web site, and was selling them for $15 each to anyone who had a name and wanted a number. The company said in a statement released Friday that it has discontinued the directory service because of "consumer feedback." Several TV stations and MSNBC.com had publicized the directory last week. Verizon Wireless called on Intelius on Jan. 29 to stop selling numbers.
SECOND SUITCASE? $25, PLEASE: United Airlines will begin charging passengers $25 to check in a second piece of luggage for domestic travel if they are not part of its most-frequent-flier programs, the airline said Monday. The charge will generate more than $100 million in revenue and cost savings each year, UAL Corp. said. The change takes effect May 5 and applies to tickets purchased on or after Monday. Travelers would have to log at least 25,000 miles in a year on United to ensure they can check their second bag for free. Airlines want to charge more for checked baggage, assigned seats and other services.