Shutdown Halts FDA Food Inspections, Tune Into “Mind Your Business”, and Show Us Where You Work

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Good Thursday Morning,

DAYLIGHT  

At the Oxford Center, we’d like to know more about where you work, what your office looks like, what makes your business successful. Please send us a photo that you think captures what’s special about your business, and we’ll publish the best ones. Keep in mind, we’re not looking for promotional shots; we’re looking for photos that tell us something about how your business works. Send them to Millennial Matt (mattg@oxfordcenter.com) and you could see yourself atop the Oxford Morning Report.

THE SHUTDOWN

They were already reeling from the tariff war, and now farmers aren’t getting their bailout checks because of the shutdown: “The Trump administration had promised to help farmers like [John] Boyd, those who suffered as a result of the international trade war after Chinese purchases of soybeans—once 60 percent of the market—plummeted to next to nothing. With farmers on the edge of ruin, the U.S. government offered $12 billion in support since September, checks that had become a lifeline.

But with the government shutdown moving into its third week, Boyd was left waiting for his support check to arrive. Other farmers who still must have their crop totals approved by the government to receive aid were left with no way to apply for it. … ‘‘This shutdown is affecting small people like myself, but if it continues, America is going to feel the impact everywhere—grocery stores, small businesses,’ Boyd fumed, angry about the ‘fiasco’ he feels Trump has created. ‘Right now, I need seed and diesel fuel; I do not need a damn wall.’”


The FDA says, most food inspections have been stopped (might be a good time to lay off the romaine): “The agency, which oversees 80 percent of the food supply, has suspended all routine inspections of domestic food-processing facilities, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in an interview.

“ The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit advocacy group, described the inspection reductions as unacceptable. ‘That puts our food supply at risk,’ said Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at the group. ‘Regular inspections, which help stop foodborne illness before people get sick, are vital.’”


Funny thing about the shutdowna closed government actually costs more than an open one: “Shuttered parks can’t collect entrance fees. Furloughed workers will ultimately get paid for not showing up to work. And the government will wind up having to pay interest on missed payments to some contractors. “‘There’s nothing good about this shutdown, from a fiscal or a budgetary standpoint,’ said Michael A. Peterson, chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.”

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RETAIL

Marsh + Mane, a shop featuring hair-care products for people of color, has opened in Philadelphia and demonstrating that a lot of people are missing an opportunity: “According to an August report by London-based market research group, Mintel, the black hair-care industry is valued at $2.5 billion and that doesn’t include wigs, weaves, accessories and electric styling products. If you add in services, American black women collectively spend billions of dollars each year on their hair.

“But only a fraction of that goes to black-owned businesses. Thanks to entrepreneurs like [Jenea] Robinson, change is on the horizon. Three years ago, Robinson had her DIY product line but decided to give that up in favor of getting Marsh + Maine up and running. It is now one of the of few black-owned beauty-supply stores in the region.


Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert submitted a revised takeover bid. His original offer of $4.4 billion to buy hundreds of top performing stores has since risen to $5 billion with a $120 million deposit. The company is expected to hold their bankruptcy auction on Monday. If Lampert’s plan works, he could save up to 50,000 jobs and keep over 425 stores open.

HEALTH

Some good health news, for once. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer deaths have fallen by 27 percent over 25 years. It also notes that cancer deaths have fallen for those 25 years consecutively. Lead researcher Rebecca Siegel said the two biggest reasons why are improved treatment and a general reduction in smoking. But there is still work to be done:

“But although the racial gap in cancer deaths is slowly narrowing, socioeconomic disparities are growing, she said. Poor counties in particular lag behind, and for some cancers the gap is widening, Siegel noted…In addition, poor people are less likely to be screened for cancer, and so cancer is likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage that makes treatment problematic. Plus, care for the poor is not as good as that given to the rich, Siegel said.”

ENTERTAINMENT

Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” winning last year and Netflix’s “Roma” and “The Kominksy Method” grabbing a few Golden Globes Sunday indicates streaming entertainment’s production quality is on par with any primetime show or worldwide movie premiere. They are clear signs these shows are no fluke. The elite in Hollywood is conceding that services like Netflix and Hulu are here to stay. “The Globes painted a positive picture for the future of streaming and highlighted the changing television landscape, as broadcast networks were completely shut out.”

STARTUPS

Ryan Pandya, founder of Perfect Day, is a committed vegan and found it hard to stick to his diet without consuming animal products, especially non-dairy. But while studying at Tufts, he found a commercial opportunity in constructing artificial proteins identical to animal proteins. Instead of creating its own line of food product, Pandya’s company is selling its proteins to food manufacturers. All to create a more sustainable food source.

“These animal-free “milk” products use 98 percent less water and 65 percent less energy to create than ones that use dairy cows, and Pandya insists the food made with his proteins will cost no more than traditional items.” He goes onto say, “‘As we’re nearing a population of 10 billion in the next couple decades, the way that we’re currently factory farming really needs to change.’”

M&A

Eclipse Resources and Blue Ridge Mountain Resources have extended the termination date for their merger: “The parties agreed to the extension in order to provide the parties additional flexibility in light of the shutdown of portions of the US federal government.” Obviously, they aren’t the only companies affected by the shutdown. The IPO market is feeling the strain as well. Fortune reports that SEC accountants and lawyers are prohibited from reading email and discussing deals during the shutdown.

SPOTLIGHT

Reminder: Loren’s co-host on “Mind Your Business” today will be Adam Witty, founder of Advantage Media/ForbesBooks (and, yes, owner of the Oxford Center). Our featured guest will be Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. We’ll talk to Ari about how he and co-founder Paul Saginaw turned a college town deli into one of the most influential companies in America. The show airs on SiriusXM 132 at 1:00 p.m. ET.

And that’s what’s ahead.

Please send comments and suggestions to mattg@oxfordcenter.com and lfeldman@oxfordcenter.com.

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