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Food News

BPI claims settlement with ABC 'vindicates' Dunes firm's beef product

Argus Leader | Posted on June 29, 2017

BPI sued ABC, correspondent Jim Avila, who reported many of the stories, and several others who were later dismissed from the suit in September 2012, claiming that ABC knowingly used false information about LFTB during a series of reports in March and April 2012. Those reports regularly referred to the product as "pink slime," an unflattering moniker BPI said led consumers to believe the product was unsafe and low in nutritional value. BPI, a privately held, family business once considered the world's largest producer of boneless beef, had sought $1.9 billion, a claim that could have been tripled to $5.7 billion under provisions of South Dakota's Agricultural Food Product Disparagement Act, a law designed to protect agricultural interests.Terms of the settlement are confidential, but judging from the celebratory mood of BPI officials and their lawyers, it was apparent that the agreement was favorable to the company."We are extraordinarily pleased with this settlement," BPI attorney Dan Webb said outside the Union County Courthouse. "I believe we have totally vindicated the product." Eldon and Regina Roth were not made available to the media to answer questions. BPI and the Roths later issued a written statement that read in part: "While this was not an easy road to travel, it was necessary to begin rectifying the harm we suffered as a result of what we believed to be biased and baseless reporting in 2012. Through this process, we have again established what we all know to be true about Lean Finely Textured Beef: it is beef, and it is safe, wholesome and nutritious.

Infarm wants to put a farm in every grocery store

Tech Crunch | Posted on June 28, 2017

Imagine a future where you go into a grocery store to buy some fresh basil, and, as you traverse the aisle, instead of polythene bags containing mass-produced snippets of the herb that have been flown in from thousands of miles away, in front of you are a stack of illuminated containers, each housing a mini basil farm. The plants themselves are being monitored by multiple sensors and fed by an internet-controlled irrigation and nutrition system. Growing out from the centre, the basil is at ascending stages of its life, with the most outer positioned leaves ready for you, the customer, to harvest.Now imagine no more, because, to paraphrase science fiction writer William Gibson, the farm of the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed. Infarm, a 40-plus person startup based in Berlin is developing an “indoor vertical farming” system capable of growing anything from herbs, lettuce and other vegetables, and even fruit. The concept might not be entirely new — Japan has been an early pioneer in vertical farming, where the lack of space for farming and very high demand from a large population has encouraged innovation — but what potentially sets Infarm apart, including from other startups, is the modular approach and go-to-market strategy it is taking.

Sanderson Farms sued over '100 percent natural' label claim

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 28, 2017

Three consumer groups on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Sanderson Farms Inc. accusing the company of falsely advertising that its chicken is “100 percent natural.” The groups suing Sanderson Farms are the Organic Consumers Association, Friends of the Earth and Center for Food Safety. In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in California, the groups said testing in 2015 and 2016 by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service found 49 instances in which samples of Sanderson products tested positive for residues of synthetic drugs.Sanderson Farms Chief Financial Officer Mike Cockrell said the company does not administer the substances cited in the lawsuit. Cockrell said the company would vigorously defend the lawsuit and take specific steps to make sure its position is clear.  “We can unequivocally state that Sanderson Farms does not administer the antibiotics, other chemicals and pesticides, or “other pharmaceuticals” listed in the complaint with one exception. To suggest otherwise is irresponsible,” Cockrell said.

Sale on milk and eggs: Kroger cuts outlook amid price fight

Detroit Free Press | Posted on June 28, 2017

Intense competition among grocers is forcing Kroger to slash prices on popular items like milk and eggs — staples that help sway where shoppers go.The company, which operates Fred Meyer, Ralphs and Fry's, on Thursday reported its second straight quarter of declining sales at established locations after more than seven years of uninterrupted growth. It also cut its profit outlook for the year, citing the moves it's making to adapt to the "upheaval" in food retailing and to keep prices competitive.Kroger said it had to respond when rivals in some regions ran "hot features" on milk and eggs during the first quarter. The Cincinnati company stressed that it does not plan to "lose on price.""We're going to react, and not allow our customers to think they have to go somewhere else for the best value for those products," Chief Financial Officer Michael Schlotman said during a conference call with analysts.The pressure comes amid a price fight among grocers. German discounter Aldi has been aggressively expanding, while its European rival Lidl opened its first 10 stores in the U.S. this week with specials for 39-cent croissants and 79-cent chocolate bars. The two chains have taken market share in the United Kingdom, and are looking to repeat that success in the U.S. with their no-frills stores that focus on affordable house-brand products. Grocery giant Walmart has also been working on lowering prices.

It’s the golden age of beverage innovation. It’s time to premiumize milk.

Berry on Dairy | Posted on June 28, 2017

This is a golden age of beverage innovation in America, according to market research firm Packaged Facts. This is thanks to a desire for more healthful products with cleaner labels; the emergence of new ingredients, production processes and technologies; and the coming of age of millennials as the dominant consumer demographic, a group that is adventurous when it comes to trying new things. After decades of being a rather staid business dominated by only a few major, national brands that were slow to innovate, this confluence of modern trends has unplugged the innovation pipeline for the beverage industry. This includes fluid milk processors, especially those with a strong local consumer base.“Ideas are flowing like perhaps they haven’t in decades, if not a century. Indeed, until recently the beverage industry had remained untouched by radical transformation. That is not the case any longer,” says David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts. “Innovation is touching every aspect of the beverage industry today, and there is a lot more on the horizon.” Now’s the time to get creative with milk, in terms of both flavor and package. Retail sales data from IRI provided to Dairy Management Inc., and courtesy of the Midwest Dairy Association, for the first quarter of 2017, show that flavored milk sales were up 3.5%. Whole-fat milk sales were also up (3.3%), as was lactose free (12%). These three formulations continue to be bright spots in the fluid milk category, as are more niche value-added segments, including refuel milk (up 21.9%). What the data from the first quarter also showed was that the retail decline for overall fluid milk was a bit more pronounced than we have seen in the past two years, with sales down 3.3%. Volume leader, white gallon milk, is driving overall fluid milk declines.Other IRI data show that the volume of flavored milk sold through retail grew 15.8% between 2014 and 2016 and growth is continuing in to 2017. Flavored milk currently accounts for 10.5% of milk through all channels and 5.6% at retail. Four in 10 households purchase flavored milk during the course of a year. Flavor innovations and value-added formulations may entice more households to give flavored milk a try.

Judge orders Arla Foods to halt ‘Live unprocessed’ campaign: ‘Ads create false impression that rbST is something foreign and dangerous’

Food Navigator | Posted on June 28, 2017

Arla Foods has been ordered to halt its new $30m ‘Live Unprocessed’ ad campaign – which makes a virtue of using milk from cows that have not been fed the growth hormone rBST - in the wake of legal action* filed by rbST maker Eli Lilly

IBM-powered DNA sequencing could find bacteria in raw milk

engadget | Posted on June 23, 2017

To be able to build those tools, they first need to be intimately familiar with the substance and the microorganisms that tend to contaminate it. They'll sequence and analyze the DNA and RNA of dairy samples from Cornell's farm, as well as of all the microorganisms in environments milk tends to make contact with, including the cows themselves, from the moment it's pumped. Their tests will characterize what's "normal" for raw milk, so the tools they make can easily tell if something's wrong even if it's an unknown contaminant we've never seen before. This project however, is just the beginning. They plan to apply what they learn to other types of produce and ingredients in the future in order to ensure that they're safe for consumption, especially if they were imported from abroad.

USDA bans fresh Brazil beef imports over 'recurring' safety concerns

USA Today | Posted on June 23, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture halted imports of fresh beef from Brazil on Thursday over recurring safety concerns about the products. Since March, USDA officials increased testing to cover "100% of all meat products" coming from Brazil, and turned away 11% of the country's fresh beef products, the USDA said in a statement.  In total, the health officials have turned away 1.9 million pounds of Brazilian beef products over health concerns, sanitary conditions and animal health issues.According to the USDA, the rejected products never made it to grocery store shelves. The ban could come as a blow to Brazil, which is one of the world's top exporters of beef and poultry. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement that while "international trade is an important part of what we do at USDA, and Brazil has long been one of our partners, my first priority is to protect American consumers." According to Reuters, several global buyers including China, reduced Brazilian meat imports following an investigation into corruption within the Brazilian meat industry. 

Governor Cuomo Announces Grand Opening of $4.9 Million Community Kitchen in Rochester

New York Governor | Posted on June 23, 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of Foodlink’s new $4.9 million community kitchen in Rochester. The 28,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility will enable the non-profit organization to significantly expand its programs and services geared toward ending hunger in the region.  "This project will broaden access to fresh food, provide employees with skills they need for future success, and support efforts to reduce poverty and end hunger across the region," Governor Cuomo said. "Our investments in community health and job creation are helping to move the Finger Lakes Forward.”The food hub’s new community kitchen will work to build community health and nutrition and to reduce poverty through targeted job creation in the culinary industry. The project will retain Foodlink’s 77 employees and create up to 34 new jobs over the next five years. Additionally, its Culinary Career Training program will also train 20 to 30 individuals by 2019 at the new facility located at 1999 Mt. Read Boulevard in Rochester.

With Dow-DuPont merger, food ‘editing’ gets fresh start

Greenwich Time | Posted on June 23, 2017

In the past year, the GMO debate has faded as attention has shifted to the promise of genetically “edited” foods in which producers trim existing DNA in foods rather than introducing new DNA, as the case in GMO-based genetic engineering. DuPont has emerged as a major innovation in genetic editing with a new unit called CRISPR-Cas, designed to improve seeds without incorporating DNA from other species. DuPont describes the innovation as a continuation of what people have been doing since plants were first domesticated — selecting for characteristics such as better yields, resistance to diseases, shelf life and nutritional qualities.Research on CRISPR — and acronym for “Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats” — is being extended to mice used by Jackson Laboratory in Farmington and Maine for medical research, with one staffer calling the technology “a tremendously versatile tool” in engineering genetic alterations. In March, Jackson Lab received a $450,000 federal grant to improve genome editing for research, drug testing and potential future therapies.It is one thing to tinker with DNA for medicine, it is another to do it for everyday food people put on their table. To date, genetic editing has yet to spark the universal outcry that Monsanto incurred with its early efforts to produce GMO foods, with activists still absorbing the implications of the emerging technology.