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Food News

Upstate Niagara to buy Southern Tier cheese plant

Buffalo News | Posted on July 6, 2017

Buffalo-based Upstate Niagara Cooperative has agreed to buy Kraft Heinz's cheese plant in the Southern Tier, staving off the threat of a shutdown and saving a portion of its jobs.The deal for the plant in Campbell, in Steuben County, is expected to be completed within the next 30 to 60 days. The two companies said the deal guarantees at least 125 jobs will be kept at the Campbell plant, with that total expected to rise by 50 jobs within a year. The current headcount could not be obtained from a Kraft Heinz spokesman, but a notice the company filed with the state Labor Department in late May indicated the plant had 380 employees.The plant produces Polly-O string cheese, mozzarella cheese and other Italian cheese varieties, according to the notice filed with the state.


Maine’s new food sovereignty law puts local control over local foods

Bangor Daily News | Posted on July 5, 2017

Proponents of food sovereignty in Maine hope a new law, based on exchanging locally produced and grown food, will bring back some of that community-based commerce. On June 16 Gov. Paul LePage signed LD 725, An Act to Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems, June 16, legitimizing the authority of towns and communities to enact ordinances regulating local food distribution free from state regulatory control.“This is huge,” said Heather Retberg, who has helped craft ordinance language. “Historically this is how many people have always exchanged food, especially in rural areas.”Under the new law, any town or municipality in Maine may now adopt an ordinance allowing food producers to sell their products directly to consumers free from state regulations or licenses.“This law and the ordinance are not intended to create a retail market that simply circumvents the rules of food safety,” Richard Loring King, Maine food sovereignty advocate, said. “It’s to rejuvenate traditional local foodways where communities provided for themselves in an atmosphere of trust, not unlike having friends over to share a meal.”For a great many of Maine’s rural small farmers and poultry producers who operate out of roadside stand or directly from their farms, the new law does not change how they do business, as they are already free from state inspections.The real changes involve those who sell meat or dairy products, Retberg said, which are highly regulated by the state.


Let Amazon devour Whole Foods

USA Today | Posted on July 5, 2017

In just 20 years as a publicly traded company, Amazon has become a retailing colossus, decimating traditional brick-and-mortar stores on its way to a market valuation of nearly half a trillion dollars.So since Amazon announced plans this month to buy high-end grocer Whole Foods, consumer groups have lined up against the deal.Their concern is understandable. The $13.7 billion purchase has the feel of something big, something that could mark the beginning of a downward spiral for grocery stores, not unlike what has happened to department stores. But for federal authorities to block the deal would be a huge mistake. To do so would require a novel interpretation of antitrust laws going back to the late 19th century.Whole Foods controls less than 2% of the grocery business, Amazon less than 1%. Those are hardly the types of market shares that should raise regulatory red flags.


Bigger Flocks Send Egg Price to Decade-Low

Bloomberg | Posted on July 5, 2017

It doesn’t matter if you like them hard-boiled, scrambled or soaked in heart-clogging hollandaise sauce: when eggs are this cheap, it’s a good time to get cracking.Supplies in the U.S. have surged so much in recent months that prices are the lowest for this time of year in at least a decade. It will probably take awhile for consumers to eat through the surplus inventory, so the government is predicting egg costs will drop more than any other food group in 2017.


Canadians have increased protein consumption

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 5, 2017

Canadians are consuming more of their calories from protein than they did more than a decade ago, according to results from the newest Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) report. Fat consumption amongst adults increased slightly, and there was a small decline in carbohydrates consumption. The report notes that for children and teenagers, the percentage of daily energy intake from protein increased one percent (to 15.6 percent in 2015 from 14.6 percent in 2004). For adults, it edged up to 17.0 percent from 16.5 percent. This still lingers at the lower end of the acceptable range of 10 to 35 percent of calories set by the Institute of Medicine.


anone to sell Stonyfield to Lactalis for $875 million

Wall Street Journal | Posted on July 5, 2017

The sale of Stonyfield is part of an agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with Danone’s recent acquisition of WhiteWave. Danone and WhiteWave together have big chunks of the yogurt market with brands including Dannon, Oikos, Actimel, Silk, Wallaby and Horizon Organic, which led to concerns from the Justice Department about concentration in the dairy sector. Danone said that the sale price represented a multiple of about 20 times the 2016 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for Stonyfield.Lactalis, based in the town of Laval, about 175 miles southwest of Paris, is a family-owned company whose cheese, milk and other dairy products are sold under well-known brands such as President and Bridel. It said it has 75,000 employees spread across 85 countries.Its agreement to buy Stonyfield comes as the French company faces increasing pressure to offer healthier foods as consumer tastes change.Other bidders for the asset included big dairy processor Dean Foods Co. , Mexico’s Grupo Lala and China’s largest dairy company Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., according to a person familiar with the matter.


The Impossible Burger, a Veggie Patty That 'Bleeds,' Is a Noble Cause, But It Tastes Like Wet Paper

Dallas Observer | Posted on June 29, 2017

First, and this is important, the people at Hopdoddy did everything they could to make it good. They seared the Impossible Foods patty on the griddle, enough that it had a dark, crunchy crust. They cooked it to an exact “medium rare,” a blackened char gradient leading to rosy red. They constructed the sandwich well, a thick spread of mayo underneath lettuce and a fresh, crispy onion, and a half-melted and good slice of Tillamook cheddar. Hopdoddy tried its best, but the Impossible Burger, which made its Texas debut Friday at the Austin-based burger chain with the excellent and real burgers, still had the aroma of old refrigerated broccoli floating in a warm bath and the consistency of ground, wet pencil shavings.


The tick that gives people meat allergies is spreading

WIRED | Posted on June 29, 2017

In the last decade and a half, thousands of previously protein-loving Americans have developed a dangerous allergy to meat. And they all have one thing in common: the lone star tick. Red meat, you might be surprised to know, isn’t totally sugar-free. It contains a few protein-linked saccharides, including one called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or alpha-gal, for short. More and more people are learning this the hard way, when they suddenly develop a life-threatening allergy to that pesky sugar molecule after a tick bite.Yep, one bite from the lone star tick—which gets its name from the Texas-shaped splash of white on its back—is enough to reprogram your immune system to forever reject even the smallest nibble of perfectly crisped bacon. For years, physicians and researchers only reported the allergy in places the lone star tick calls home, namely the southeastern United States. But recently it’s started to spread. The newest hot spots? Duluth, Minnesota, Hanover, New Hampshire, and the eastern tip of Long Island, where at least 100 cases have been reported in the last year. Scientists are racing to trace its spread, to understand if the lone star tick is expanding into new territories, or if other species of ticks are now causing the allergy.


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.


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