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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Wal-Mart Stores here said yesterday that all of its Supercenter and Neighborhood Market delis - encompassing over 2,400 locations -- are now using trans-fat-free oil for items fried on-site.
"Small changes can have a big effect for many people," said Peter Redmond, Wal-Mart v.p. of the deli division, in a statement. "Our customers will be able to enjoy the same great-tasting deli selections, but have the additional benefit of knowing that those items prepared in our deli are done so in trans-fatty-acid-free oil."
Wal-Mart delis offer an assortment of fried selections on-site, among them chicken, potato wedges, corndogs, country steak, apple pie, cheese curds, breaded okra, catfish, and hushpuppies. Items vary from store to store, the retailer said.
The changeover started in January 2007. A sign informing shoppers of the change has been posted in the lower right window of Wal-Mart delis nationwide.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence shows that consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol raises the risk of developing heart disease.
In other Wal-Mart news, the company said it is running a pilot test of solar power at 22 locations in California and Hawaii. Among the sites are Wal-Marts, Sam's Clubs, and a distribution center.
"We are taking aggressive steps towards our goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy," said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president of energy for Wal-Mart. By Wal-Mart's estimates, installing the solar power systems will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6,500-10,000 metric tons per year.
Wal-Mart is buying the solar power equipment from BP Solar, SunEdison LLC, and PowerLight, a subsidiary of SunPower Corp. SunEdison will furnish the four solar power systems in Hawaii and four in California, while PowerLight and BP Solar will each provide seven systems in California.
BP Solar said it will sell all of the energy produced by the solar modules, as well as operate and maintain the systems. No upfront capital investment will be needed by Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart has recently opened two Supercenter locations designed to employ 20 percent less energy than their conventional counterparts, among other energy-efficient moves.
In still more Wal-Mart news, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection issued a formal warning to the mega-retailer against carrying conventional food products mislabeled as organic on its shelves.
The Cornucopia Group, a watchdog group based in the state, earlier filed complaints with Wisconsin regulators and the USDA, it said "after finding numerous incidents of fraudulent organic labeling in Wal-Mart stores in five states, from Texas to Minnesota."
Wal-Mart operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam's Club locations in the United States. The company also operates stores in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom.