Hartford Courant Reports RESCUECOM Computer Reliability Findings for 2008

Apple and Panasonic Take Top Two Spots in Reliability Report

Hartford Coourant/Courant.com
Watchdog | George Gombossy
December 17, 2008:

Fat In Six Grocers' Hamburger Higher Than Advertised

A Burlington shopper's skepticism about the fat content of hamburgers at grocery stores has resulted in a crackdown by the state Department of Consumer Protection.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell Jr. said Tuesday that his inspectors checked 30 grocery stores and found that six were selling hamburger with higher fat content than advertised.

"For economic and health reasons, consumers need to be confident that they are consistently getting what they pay for in the quality and fat content in ground beef they purchase," Farrell said.

The inspections were carried out after Leonard Alderman wrote me questioning hamburger fat percentages.

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"It has always puzzled me how they can advertise hamburger at a certain and mix it accurately," he wrote me, adding that his experience makes him "VERY" suspicious.

"I find that 85has quite a variation. At times it fries just great, then again I have to add oil or it will burn. The other day I ended up with altogether too much grease in the pan indicating far too much fat," he wrote.

After seeing his e-mail on my blog, www.courant.com/ctwatchdog, Farrell said he was intrigued enough to check out Alderman's complaint.

Farrell said his food inspectors collected 30 samples of packaged ground beef from stores in Litchfield, Fairfield and New Haven counties.

The six stores that failed the test were:

Met Foodmarkets, West Haven: labeled fat content, 14 percent; actual fat content, 19.7 percent

Shaw's, New Haven: labeled fat content, 20 percent; actual fat content, 24.7 percent

Costco, Waterbury: labeled fat content, 12 percent; actual fat content, 15.7 percent

Stew Leonard's, Norwalk: labeled fat content, 8 percent; actual fat content, 9.7 percent

Trotta's, Sharon: labeled fat content, 10 percent; actual fat content, 15.2 percent

Sunny Ridge Market, Bethlehem: labeled fat content, 10 percent; actual fat content, 15 percent

The department has sent each store a warning letter identifying the problem and notified the store that it will be randomly retested in the future. Stores that are noncompliant when retested could face penalties.

"We realize that when preparing large quantities of ground beef, variations in fat percentage can occur unintentionally, and we don't wish to hold stores to an unreasonable standard," Farrell said.

More random sampling of stores throughout the state is currently taking place, he added.

Best Computers

Apple and Panasonic computers took the top spots this year in the annual analysis of reliability performed by RESCUECOM, a top information technology services company based in Syracuse, N.Y.

Its third annual report ? based on a sample of more than 36,000 service calls to RESCUECOM ? provides "computer users with unique insight about the likelihood that they will require support beyond what is provided by the computer maker's warranty," the company said Tuesday.

Apple came in first and way in the lead, followed by Panasonic, Lenovo, Toshiba and HP. The sample included laptops and desktop computers.

"Computers are an important investment, and in today's economy, more than ever, it's important for consumers to know the reliability of the product they are purchasing." said David A. Milman, founder and CEO of RESCUECOM. "We created the RESCUECOM reliability survey to inform computer users about what they can expect before ? and after ? they purchase a new computer."

Based on the numerous complaints I have received about Dell computers, I am not surprised that it did not make the top five list this year.

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