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Food News

Compound in Cow’s Milk May Help Kill Malignant Mesothelioma Cells | Posted on October 11, 2018

When you were a kid and your mother told you to drink your milk, you probably never dreamed that the white stuff you poured over your cereal might hold the key to curing malignant mesothelioma. Though it would definitely be a stretch to think that drinking more cow’s milk could eradicate the asbestos-related disease, as so often turns out to be true, there’s a grain of truth to what mom always said. Researchers from Australia have determined that a compound in cow’s milk might be used to kill mesothelioma cells that have proven resistant to more traditional cancer-killing methods, and particularly chemotherapy. The mesothelioma-killing compounds are known as BLAGLET and BAMLET: they are derived from a lipid called oleic acid and either alpha or beta-lactalbumin. These protein-lipid complexes are found in cow’s milk — the beta lactoglobulin is a whey protein while alpha lactoglobulin controls lactose production in mammals. Researchers from the University of Sydney say they can seek out and trigger cancer cell death while leaving healthy cells unscathed.

DHS gets in the weeds on cyber threats to agriculture

FCW | Posted on October 10, 2018

DHS' Threats to Precision Agriculture report looks at cyber vulnerabilities in embedded and connected technologies that harness remote sensing, global positioning systems and communication systems to generate big data, data analytics and machine learning to manage crops and livestock. Cyber threats to the agricultural infrastructure are consistent with other connected industries, said DHS, but given farming's mechanized history, those threats are not well understood or treated seriously enough.The security threats to precision agriculture range from simple data theft, to market manipulations, destruction of equipment, or even a national security concern, according to the report.

Regulators face food fight over lab-grown meat

Washington Examiner | Posted on October 10, 2018

A food fight has been brewing over how the government should regulate animal tissue grown in labs. The prospect of lab-grown tissue has raised the hopes of animal welfare and environmental groups because it is created without slaughter and meant to substitute for traditional pork, beef, chicken, and fish. But divisions have emerged between the traditional meat industry, who are imploring the government to set rules out of concern for their own industry, and the companies creating the lab-grown foods, who fear that regulation could prevent their products from reaching consumers.Safety regulations have yet to be issued, but they are likely to include standards about how to grow the tissue, how to sign off on its safety, and how to label it in a way that consumers know what they're buying.

Danny Meyer Just Made a Big Investment in Food Delivery

Grub Street | Posted on October 10, 2018

Danny Meyer wants to be your delivery man. His private-equity fund Enlightened Hospitality Investments has led a new funding round into Goldbelly, the online food market that brings local specialties to a national audience. Following the success of Shake Shack, Meyer — once a neighborhood restaurateur who didn’t even stray far from Union Square — has been busy investing in food businesses like Los Angeles chain Tender Greens and Portland ice-cream maker Salt & Straw.Goldbelly is a one-stop resource for American regional foods that smartly capitalizes on people’s food obsessions. It provides a platform for some 350 producers, giving consumers access to foods like Prince’s hot chicken, Central Grocery’s muffulettas, O&H Danish Bakery’s kringles, and Roberta’s pizza. The internet has, by and large, done a number on retail, contributing in New York to a significant rise in retail vacancies. The shift toward online shopping will keep going so long as there’s the internet, and it makes sense that Meyer would invest in this particular delivery platform.

Disqualified from SNAP? SAM I Am!

OFW Law | Posted on October 10, 2018

Owners of retail food stores permanently disqualified from participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are saddled with serious consequences in addition to the loss of the store’s ability to accept food stamp benefits (EBT). After USDA’s Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) permanently disqualifies a store, the agency promptly searches its SNAP retailer database to determine if the disqualified store’s shareholders have ownership interests in other SNAP-authorized stores. A store whose owner has been permanently disqualified from SNAP based on trafficking activity at another store will soon receive a letter from FNS advising that their SNAP authorization will be withdrawn based on the lack of business integrity of the owner. Owners will also not be able to sell or transfer a permanently disqualified store without being subject to a substantial transfer penalty. The transfer civil money penalty (CMP) imposed by FNS is calculated using a complicated formula and can exceed $113,000 – an amount greater than the CMP that FNS can assess against a store in lieu of permanent disqualification from trafficking.

Make Your Voice Heard: Uphold the Integrity of Milk!

American Dairy Coalition | Posted on October 10, 2018

As a branch of the American Dairy Coalition (ADC), the Protecting Milk Integrity Initiative works to advocate for the proper use of federally standardized terms established for the word “milk” on product labels. In an effort to provide clarity and consistency for consumers across the nation, ADC is urging the FDA to stop allowing the wrongful use of the word “milk” in branding on non-milk, plant-based alternative products. It is time to end this confusion and protect the nutritious, wholesome and pure reputation of milk that is confirmed in the current FDA Standard of Identity. ADC is urging the FDA to stop allowing the wrongful use of the word “milk” on non-milk, plant-based alternative products labels. In an effort to end confusion and protect the nutritious, wholesome and pure reputation of milk, ADC requests the administration upholds the current standard of identity for milk. The dairy industry is encouraged to submit their individual comments to FDA. ​Here's what you need to do:1. Submit your comments here. The deadline is October 11th, 2018. ​    You can view a comprehensive list of talking points here.


The biggest hurdle genetically engineered food faces isn’t science—it’s us

Quartz | Posted on October 8, 2018

Today, virtually everything we eat is produced from seeds that have been genetically altered in some manner. If we’re going to feed the growing population without further destroying the environment, then we’re going to have to get comfortable with the idea of eating modified crops. By the year 2100, the Earth’s population is expected to increase to more than 11.2 billion from the current 7.6 billion. What is the best way to produce enough food to feed all these people? If we continue with current farming practices, vast amounts of wilderness will be lost, millions of birds and billions of insects will die, farm workers will be at increased risk for disease, and the public will spend billions of dollars as a consequence of environmental degradation. But there is a way we can resolve the need for increased food production with the desire to minimize its impact.For 10,000 years, we have altered the genetic makeup of our crops, transforming their shape, texture, flavor and yield. The ancient ancestor of our familiar yellow carrot, for example, was likely a purple, bitter, and woody root. Hybridization, grafting or induced random mutation through radiation or chemical treatments gave rise to many of our crops today. These early approaches were somewhat crude, resulting in new varieties through a combination of trial and error, and without knowledge of the precise function of the genes that were being transferred.

American Butter Institute Urges FDA to Address Mislabeled “Butter” Products

Hoard's Dairymen | Posted on October 7, 2018

 As the only dairy food standard established by federal statute, butter is defined as “made exclusively from milk or cream, or both, with or without common salt, and with or without additional coloring matter, and containing not less than 80 per centum by weight of milk fat, all tolerances having been allowed for.” Concurrently, FDA dictates that certain foods should be deemed imitations if that food resembles another but is nutritionally inferior or fails to meet established characterizing ingredient requirements.“The way in which these brands use the term ‘butter’ is false and misleading,” said Tom Balmer, executive director of ABI. “These imposter products don’t contain actual dairy ingredients, and cannot match real butter’s positive attributes – from its unmatched flavor and creamy, rich texture and unique performance in cooking and baking, to its significant level of Vitamin A. We’re bringing this deception to FDA so that it can rectify the issue and ensure truth and fairness in the marketplace.”

McDonald’s shareholder has it wrong on broiler welfare

Watt AgNet | Posted on October 4, 2018

Shareholder activism has hit McDonald’s, as a holder of more than 2 million shares of its stock wants the fast-food chain to make changes to its policy on broiler welfare. The shareholder is the New York State Common Retirement Fund, which handles the state and local retirement system for more than one million members.How McDonald’s responds to this pressure from a trustee of the fund should concern not only those involved in the poultry industry, but also those whose retirement benefits are being managed by the company. McDonald’s already has a sound broiler welfare policy that other restaurant chains might be wise to consider looking to as an example. So what is DiNapoli’s hang-up with the policy? The company stated it will source chickens “that are raised with improved welfare outcomes.” But two organizations – Global Animal Partnership (GAP) and Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) – are pushing slower-growing breeds of chickens the organizations claim have improved welfare outcomes.

The pitfalls of FDA’s GMO food labeling

The Hill | Posted on October 4, 2018

This consumer protection principle will soon be tested across a much wider range of products. Following a law passed by Congress in 2016, the federal Agricultural Marketing Service is devising guidelines for mandatory labeling of food products developed using some specific crop breeding methods. These include improving crops using methods to give them specific characteristics directly, such as the ability to ward off insects without pesticide applications or to require less fertilizer or water, rather than requiring years of development. Even though crops bred using these methods have been grown widely for over 20 years without any harm to consumers, these “Genetically Modified Organism” (GMO) labels or symbols will soon be required on foods in the U.S. in the interest of the consumers’ right to know what is in their foods. Once the labeling law is implemented, all foods that do contain GMO ingredients will be labeled and lists of GMO crops will be maintained and updated by the USDA. Thus, there will no longer be any rationale for the misleading “verification” provided by the Non-GMO Project. Instead, consumers will be able to look for the symbol that will signal to them that crop breeders have used safe and tested methods to make our crops more healthy and productive and more resilient to changing pest and weather patterns. It soon will be time for the FDA to enforce its own rules and crack down on the Non-GMO Project and similar labels that profit from playing on unfounded fears to mislead consumers.