A pair of bills that Republicans say will reduce fraud in food stamp, Medicaid and welfare programs, but Democrats say are misguided, easily passed the House on Wednesday. The goal is “to protect the integrity of the entire SNAP program,” and “get the benefits to people who need them,” Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, said of House Bill 50, which requires adults to have a photo ID on cards issued under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the former food stamp program.“SNAP cards used fraudulently are being used to feed the drug crisis in Ohio,” he said.Analysis of the bills by the nonpartisan Legislative Service Commission estimate that neither one will produce savings from reducing fraud — an estimate Schaffer disputes. It also estimates the photo ID bill will cost up to $2 million for new photo cards, and up to $3 million to operate the photo ID program. But critics say food-stamp cards are issued for an entire household, so a photo would not represent all authorized users of a card. They also note that with self-serve checkouts, cashiers often won’t see the pictures — and aren’t required to report abuses even if they do. “Not only does it lack evidence of its effectiveness, it also lacks transparency in relation to the actual cost our state agencies will have to shoulder with its implementation,” Lisa Hamler Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, told a House committee.
Dairy Farmers of America, a national dairy cooperative owned by family farmers, announced Nov. 2 the acquisition of Cumberland Dairy; a family-owned processor of ultra-pasteurized dairy products located in Bridgeton, N.J.
Veggie legend Sir Paul McCartney, as part of his successful ‘Meat Free Monday’ campaign, yesterday released a new short anti-meat film, featuring a previously unreleased song from Paul himself! The rock icon has previously commented that if all slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegetarian and more recently he encouraged a move to veganism: “I can say to people, ‘Just try it’ and show that it can actually be quite fun when you look at what you do, what you eat, how you live and think, ‘is this what I’m gonna do for the rest of my life or would it be interesting to try making a change?’”
Cargill said it will launch an initiative this month in Canada to test new technologies for tracking cattle with the goal of developing a verified sustainability standard to give consumers more information about the beef they eat. Called the Cargill Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration pilot, the effort should move the company’s customers -- by the end of 2018 -- a step closer to providing consumers with beef from operations that have been audited from ‘birth to burger’ using an industry developed sustainability standard, Cargill said.
Enter the Clean Label Project, which made a splash after releasing a study on Wednesday alleging that many of the best-selling baby food and infant formula products on the market (determined by Nielsen data) contain arsenic, lead, acrylamide and other “contaminants.” Sounds scary, if these contaminants in our precious babies’ tummies were a justified fear. They’re not. Fact-checking site Snopes published an analysis on Friday, explaining that the project hasn’t published data to substantiate its claims, and has not subjected its study to peer review. Despite omitting critical details like the levels of arsenic and other substances it says are in baby food products, the Clean Label Project wields its vague information in classic FUD form.
“I think Maine is leading the way,” said State Senator Troy Jackson, the Maine Senate Democratic leader and original sponsor of the bill. “I think we’re really the first state to empower our local municipalities this way.” But in a special legislative session October 23 to address federal concerns about the new law, lawmakers added some clarification: When it comes to meat and poultry inspections, all farmers, regardless of where they conduct business in the state, must follow federal and state meat and poultry regulations. Moreover, they must adhere to all food safety guidelines when conducting third-party business, such as wholesale sales.When the legislature in June passed the food freedom law, it noted that the law was not declaring all local food sales free of any state or federal regulation, but that it recognized the right of local municipalities to establish their own food ordinances. The thrust, according to Jackson and other supporters, was to support the local food economy and encourage local food sales.But before Governor Paul LePage’s signature was even dry on the law, a new issue cropped up not about raw milk, but about meat and poultry processing. According to LePage, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue informed the state that if the new food sovereignty law was not clarified to indicate how state meat-inspection programs would remain “at least equal to” federal rules, the USDA would seize control of the state’s meat and poultry operations. LePage promptly called a special legislative session to address the matter.
The Kraft Heinz Company today announced it will up its animal welfare standards for broiler chickens in its U.S. supply chain. Kraft Heinz said that by 2024, the company will: Source 100 percent of our chicken from breeds approved by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or Global Animal Partnership (GAP) for measurably improved welfare and quality of life
Consumers mix up foods labeled “organic” and “non-genetically modified” and some view the two labels as synonymous, according to a new study by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The study, led by UF assistant professor Brandon McFadden with Purdue University agricultural economics professor Jayson Lusk, explored ways to communicate to consumers whether food has genetically modified ingredients. Researchers conducted a national survey of 1,132 respondents to gauge their willingness to pay for food labeled as genetically modified vs. non-genetically modified.
New research from the University of Delaware concludes that food labels such as “organic” and “fair trade” can stigmatize foods produced with conventional processes even when there is no scientific evidence that they cause harm or that products are compositionally different. Such process claims often are not based on science and can cause consumers to misinterpret these labels and misalign their personal preferences and food purchases, the researchers said.
Cargill is offering consumers turkeys with a side of traceability. The company’s Honeysuckle White brand recently launched a pilot project that that uses blockchain technology to trace turkeys produced by family farmers. To learn more about their Thanksgiving turkey, consumers in select markets can text or enter an on-package code at HoneysuckleWhite.com to access the farm’s location by state and county, view the family farm story, see photos from the farm and read a message from the farmer.