Skip to content Skip to navigation

Food News

General Mills To Remove 'Natural' Label From Granola Bars After Glyphosate Lawsuit

Forbes | Posted on August 30, 2018

General Mills will remove 'Made with 100% Natural Whole Grain Oats' from its Nature Valley granola bar labels, part of a settlement in a lawsuit over glyphosate in cereals and other products. A recent EWG report revealed the presence of glyphosate in Cheerios and Quaker Oats in levels above what EWG considers "an adequate margin of safety" for children, according to the report. The report, which covered 45 different products, also revealed the chemical in some samples of granola bars, snack bars and other cereals. Five of 16 samples of products made with organic oats contained trace levels of the chemical, blamed on residue left in the soil or cross-contamination in production facilities. The suit was filed by Beyond Pesticides, Moms Across America and the Organic Consumers Association.But the glyphosate levels in the organic products are considered safe for consumption, according to EWG's standards. Note that EWG's safety threshold for glyphosate in grains and cereals, measured in parts per billion, is lower than the EPA's; 160 ppb and 30,000 ppb, respectively. The Cheerios tested by EWG had 470 to 530 ppb of glyphosate.The word "natural" doesn't have a set meaning for food labels. This loophole can allow for deceiving marketing tactics that confuse consumers into buying unhealthy — and what some deem unsafe — products. 

Federal Policy, Administration, and Local Food Coming of Age

Choices magazine | Posted on August 29, 2018

Between the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bills, local food sales grew a purported 27%, to an estimated $6.1 billion. The majority of these sales were attributed to intermediated marketing channels (e.g., sales to restaurants, institutions, retailers). Accordingly, the 2014 Farm Bill continued to support and expand LRFS policy and programming, with a noted increase in funding to support the development and expansion of intermediated markets. This Farm Bill included new programs, such as Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (SNAP Incentives), and increased mandatory funding for such programs as the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, 2014). Although permanent funding increased for LRFS programs in aggregate, some programs, such as provisions for Farm to School, did not receive the support advocates had wanted.All indications are that demand for LRFS will continue to increase. Indeed, industry analysts have estimated that local food sales will increase to $20 billion in 2019, outpacing the growth of total food and beverage sales. Therefore, regardless of where LRFS comes out during this Farm Bill debate, public choice theory suggests that we can expect policy makers to continue to respond to their constituents and LRFS stakeholder advocacy groups by pushing legislation that reduces market barriers and expands access for both farmers and consumers, building on past policy development.

A Local Food System Glossary: A Rose by Any Other Name

Choices magazine | Posted on August 29, 2018

“Local food”—much like “value-added agriculture”—is an umbrella term for an array of niche food distribution strategies in the agribusiness context, each with a set of characteristics that holds value for a segment of consumers and producers. Unlike “certified organic,” the USDA has not arrived at a uniform set of standards for local foods but rather embraces a rather broad definition—food produced within 400 miles or within a state’s borders (Martinez et al., 20010. It could be argued that one common characteristic of all local food definitions is a short supply chain with few (or no) intermediaries and some sense of proximity between the producer and the end consumer. “Local”—and who defines “local”—has become a heated debate, both politically and within agribusinesses, and has been a common theme in recent food/agribusiness articles and publications.Ultimately, research has shown that the definition of local is subject to the locavores themselves, those consumers who highly value purchasing and consuming local foods. These consumers have spurred many restaurants to market their products as locally sourced in order to attract who want to consume locally grown foods. Lusk and Norwood (2011) go so far as to say that “locavores seek to export goods without importing.”

Can egg producers win the food safety race?

Watt Ag Net | Posted on August 22, 2018

Egg producers need to remember that regulatory compliance is just the first step for a food safety program that pursues continuous improvement. Walmart executive says chicken producers are in a race between their companies’ ability to prevent foodborne illnesses and society’s ability to detect them. Big data tools are making it easier to detect consumer trends. Data from credit/debit card purchases and shopper loyalty programs provide a more accurate history of what consumers really purchased and where they were purchased. Information on social media posts and online search behavior is used to identify areas where foodborne illnesses may be trending up, and this can allow for pockets of illnesses in different states to be linked. All this means that foodborne illness outbreaks will be easier to detect and tie together.

USDA extends comment period for ‘Product of U.S.A.’ labeling policy

Tri State Livestock News | Posted on August 22, 2018

Citing "significant interest from stakeholders," the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) approved a request from the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and American Grassfed Association (AGA) to extend the public comment period for the groups' petition to stop imported meat from being mislabeled "Product of U.S.A." The new deadline for comments is Sept. 17, 2018. The OCM and AGA joint petition, filed on June 12, 2018, would restore the original FSIS handbook definition of "Product of U.S.A.," which was based on the origin of the ingredients being labeled. Sometime between April 1985 and August 2005 the ingredient-based standard was repealed by FSIS and replaced with an undefined processing standard. Following the repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling in 2015, global meatpacking corporations began abusing the label by misbranding meat and meat products from foreign countries as "Product of U.S.A." after moving them through USDA-inspected processing plants.

The American story, told through food

Washington Examiner | Posted on August 22, 2018

Sometimes the best books are not on the bestseller’s list. Often a great read is one that you stumble upon much later than its original release date. Pat Willard’s America Eats! On the Road with the WPA — the Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and Chittlin' Feasts That Define Real American Food is one of those unique books. Willard, whose culinary writing has been nominated for awards, discovered long-forgotten manuscripts written during the Great Depression hidden in the archives of the Library of Congress. These stories collecting dust were from a project called America Eats! commissioned by the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers Project; the articles collected were never published after the government abandoned funding for the WPA efforts.

Long Island farmers and fishermen outline problems for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Washington Examiner | Posted on August 22, 2018

Their list includes cleansing polluted bays by reconnecting them to the sea, obtaining an emergency permit to use a banned pesticide, policing counterfeit seafood, and securing seasonal workers during an immigration crackdown.

Consuming milk at breakfast lowers blood glucose throughout day

Feedstuffs | Posted on August 22, 2018

A change in one's breakfast routine may provide benefits for the management of type 2 diabetes, according to a new study published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Dr. H. Douglas Goff and the team of scientists from the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit at the University of Guelph, in collaboration with the University of Toronto, examined the effects of consuming high-protein milk at breakfast on blood glucose levels and satiety after breakfast and after a second meal.

Petition aims to change labeling laws for U.S. beef

Tri State Livestock News | Posted on August 16, 2018

When consumers shop the meat case, they have a variety of labels to choose from such as natural, organic, antibiotic-free, grassfed, Certified Angus Beef and Certified Hereford Beef, just to name a few. While beef and pork muscle cuts are no longer under the list of commodities covered by the country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) regulation (as of February 2016), many products, such as grassfed beef, are still labeled as a "Product of U.S.A."However, many in the beef industry are citing a gross error in this labeling claim — it's not just domestic beef that's being packaged with "Product of U.S.A" stickers.

Massachusetts governor wants public health oversight for raw milk

Food Safety News | Posted on August 16, 2018

Massachusetts Gov. Charles D. Baker has vetoed permissive raw milk language in a bill to help coastal areas pay for recent storm damage and instead proposed lawmakers consider stronger regulation of milk that does not undergo pasteurization. “Consumption of unpasteurized milk can result in foodborne illness and possible death due to bacterial infections, especially among infants, children, pregnant women, immunosuppressed patients, and the elderly,” Baker said in his veto of Section 22 of House Bill 4835.“The risk of foodborne illness due to consumption of raw milk increases with the number of people handling the raw milk prior to consumption, and the length of time between production and consumption. As such, it is important that any expansion of the sale of raw milk in the Commonwealth be done in such a way that it protects those who choose to consume it.”Section 22 would have expanded the distribution of raw milk in the Commonwealth by allowing the delivery of unpasteurized milk, by allowing dairy farmers to sell unpasteurized milk at non-contiguous farm stands, and by allowing distribution of unpasteurized milk through community-supported agriculture systems (CSAs).