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Food News

Deadly listeria outbreak linked to raw milk cheese

Atlanta Journal Constitution | Posted on March 12, 2017

Vulto Creamery, based in New York has recalled all of its soft, raw milk cheeses in response to a listeria outbreak that has led to six hospitalizations and two deaths nationwide. All lots of Vulto Creamery's Ouleout, Miranda, Heinennellie, and Willowemoc soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses  are included in the recall. The products were distributed nationwide, including at retail locations in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, California, Chicago, Portland and Washington, DC.

Why Consumers Don’t Understand Agriculture

Hoosier Ag Today | Posted on March 10, 2017

Consumers today do not understand agriculture: where their food comes from and how it is produced.  The agricultural sector expends a good deal of energy trying to bridge this gap, a task that has been made more important and more difficult in recent years. But teaching consumers how their food is produced will not bring them any closer to understanding farmers.

Egg Carton Labeling Petitions Fail to Hatch

OFW Law | Posted on March 9, 2017

Egg cartons in the United States are not required by federal regulations to bear labels which identify the living conditions of the hens.  Two animal rights non-profit organizations and six individuals sought to change that by filing petitions with four different federal agencies under the apparent strategy of not putting all their eggs in one basket.   Each petition sought the promulgation of regulations that would require egg cartons to identify the hens’ living conditions during the production process.  After each agency denied these scattershot efforts, petitioners filed suit in the Northern District of California under the Administrative Procedure Act.  However, this seemingly favorable jurisdiction (often referred to as the “Food Court”) proved to be a tough egg to crack as the district court judge granted summary judgment in favor of each agency.

Mayo, wings, butter: 'Fake milk' is the latest food fight

AP | Posted on March 9, 2017

Is "fake milk" spoiling the dairy industry's image?  Dairy producers are calling for a crackdown on the almond, soy and rice "milks" they say are masquerading as the real thing and cloud the meaning of milk. A group that advocates for plant-based products, the Good Food Institute, countered this week by asking the Food and Drug Administration to say terms such as "milk" and "sausage" can be used as long as they're modified to make clear what's in them. It's the latest dispute about what makes a food authentic, many of them stemming from developments in manufacturing practices and specialized diets. DiGiorno's frozen chicken "wyngz" were fodder for comedian Stephen Colbert. An eggless spread provoked the ire of egg producers by calling itself "mayo." And as far back as the 1880s, margarine was dismissed as "counterfeit butter" by a Wisconsin lawmaker. The U.S. actually spells out the required characteristics for a range of products such as French dressing, canned peas and raisin bread. It's these federal standards of identity that often trigger the food fights.

Why Campbell's Thinks GMO Labeling Is A Good Thing

Ag Web | Posted on March 3, 2017

Few topics in agriculture are as controversial in the public eye as GMOs. For more than two years, the labeling of GMO ingredients on food packaging has been a hot topic. As consumers continue to buy more non-GMO products, one major food company has become a champion of the need for labeling: Campbell Soup Company.   “We decided to embrace it,” says Kelly Johnston, the company’s vice president of government affairs, who spoke from the mainstage at the 2017 Top Producer Seminar. Campbell’s research shows a majority of consumers are concerned about GMO labeling, even though they rank other food-related concerns higher.   The company’s position developed against a backdrop of changing state laws. In 2014, Vermont became the first state to pass a mandatory GMO labeling law. Connecticut and Maine enacted laws at the same time because of previously passed trigger bills, Johnston says.   Regulatory Uncertainty. It’s unclear whether GMO labels will be required by federal law going forward. A compromise bill approved by Congress in 2016 requires mandatory disclosure of GMOs on food packaging, Johnston says. It also instructed USDA to conduct a consumer study and finalize regulations.  This January, President Donald Trump issued an executive order mandating agencies to get rid of two existing regulations for every new regulation added. That could prevent USDA from meeting its 2018 deadline given by Congress.  

Should People Be Barred From Buying Junk Food With Food Stamps?

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on February 27, 2017

At the food pantry she founded in poor, rural Quitman County, Mississippi, Angie Crawford spends her days teaching food stamp recipients how to shop, cook and eat healthy on a tight budget. Then, at the grocery store, she sees people using food stamps to buy junk food, like big bags of potato chips in bulk. It troubles her. As a nutrition educator for the federal Food Stamp Program — Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP — Crawford is one of many public health officials across the country who say there should be more rules about how food stamp money is spent. Twenty-three cents of every food stamp dollar is used to buy candy, desserts, salty snacks, sugar and sweetened beverages, according to a November report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that for the first time revealed purchasing habits under the program in detail. The report, along with the election of President Donald Trump, who may be more inclined to tighten welfare rules, has reignited a long-standing debate on whether the government should allow people to use food stamps to buy unhealthy food. Lawmakers in at least five states — Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, New Mexico and Tennessee — introduced bills this year to ask the USDA for permission to ban the purchase of certain kinds of food or drinks, such as candy and soda, with food stamps. Since the USDA administers the program, states can’t create their own restrictions. But the department can give a state permission to conduct a pilot to test new ideas — something it has so far been unwilling to do.

Irish study says people with highest dairy consumption have lower BMI

Dairy Reporter | Posted on February 24, 2017

A new study looking at dairy consumption and its relationship with metabolic health has delivered some promising results for the dairy industry. The study examined the impact of dairy foods on markers of fatness and metabolic health.   Cheese consumption was not associated with body fatness or LDL cholesterol.

Germany’s environment minister bans meat at functions

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 24, 2017

The head of Germany’s environmental agency has directed the department to serve only vegetarian dishes at official functions. Quoting an email from an environmental ministry official, the agency has a responsibility to combat the “negative effects of meat consumption” and must “set an example,” the media reports said. This, although the meat ban does not extend to the agency’s own cafeteria, which continues to offer meat options with every meal. Environmental Minister Barbara Hendricks has claimed that eating meat is damaging to the environment.  Meanwhile, Christian Schmidt, an agency official from a rival political party, was quoted as saying, “I believe in diversity and freedom of choice, not nanny-statism and ideology. Meat and fish are also part of a balanced diet.”

Brussels ‘will block’ GM food from Britain

The Times (UK) | Posted on February 24, 2017

Plans to grow genetically modified crops in Britain could result in the EU blocking imports of the produce after Brexit, according to a leaked report by European parliament officials. The internal paper, written to guide the parliament’s agriculture committee in its “scrutiny of Brexit”, says that British farmers seeking to sell produce to the remaining 27 member states could be hampered by multiple barriers on top of tariffs averaging 14 per cent.  The officials’ note reports that Britain is developing new rules to make GM crop cultivation easier after pulling out of the EU. Political opposition to GM foods in several EU states has resulted in only one GM crop being approved by the bloc in the past 20 years.



Canada approves irradiated ground beef

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 24, 2017

The Canadian government said Wednesday it will permit the sale of fresh and frozen raw ground beef treated with irradiation.