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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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. Government sampling found 11 instances of antibiotics for human use, including chloramphenical, which is prohibited in food animals. The complaint also said tests found the anesthetic ketamine, which is not approved for use in poultry; ketoprofren, an anti-inflammatory drug; prednisone, a steroid; and growth hormone melengesterol acetate and beta agonist ractopamine, which are banned in chicken production. In addition, the lawsuit cited six instances of residues of amoxicillin, a medically important antibiotic for human use that is not approved for use in poultry; three instances of penicillin residue; and positive results for the pesticides abamectin and emamectin. “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. “Our veterinarians do from time to time prescribe penicillin in FDA-approved doses to treat sick flocks, and our withdrawal times far exceed FDA guidelines out of an abundance of caution. Most all of the drugs and chemicals cited in the complaint are not approved for use in broilers, and some would be lethal to chickens,” he said. Cockrell said the company will continue its advertising campaign to educate consumers on its position on the judicious use of FDA-approved medicines to treat sick chickens and prevent disease in its flocks.
A legal dispute over labeling vegetable oil as “natural” even though it contains genetically engineered ingredients could have repercussions for other food-related class action lawsuits.Earlier this year, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a lawsuit against the Conagra food processing company to proceed as a class action, which means numerous consumers who bought its Wesson vegetable oil can join in the litigation.The complaint alleges that Conagra deceived consumers with labels claiming the oil was “100% Natural” despite being derived from genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, which aren’t considered natural.Conagra now wants the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the class action designation because there’s no way to “efficiently and reliably identify” the millions of people who’ve bought Wesson oil over the past decade.“That left only one other possible source of information about the transactions — consumers’ memories of low-value grocery store purchases, recalled years later in hopes of a cash reward,” Conagra said in its Supreme Court review request.Apart from having implications for foods containing GMOs, the lawsuit is seen by food manufacturers as emblematic of a broader problem with litigation over labeling.