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Food News

Poultry company loses a customer because of these labels

Ag Daily | Posted on July 15, 2018

I may have to start buying that grocery off brand since the kind carried at the gas station recently switched their labeling, marketing, and packaging to bombard consumers with misleading claims that I just can’t support and won’t purchase. Let’s break them down one by one, shall we?  1: Non-GMO. GMO or GE grains allow farmers to be more sustainable by growing more crop on less land while using less pesticides, tillage, etc. Furthermore, everything we eat has been modified in some way, so the term “GMO” is somewhat scientifically meaningless. GMOs do great things for farmers and the planet though, so this is just a marketing ploy used to mislead and sell a product which is generally worse for the earth. 2: Raised with no antibiotics ever. OK, that’s admirable and commonplace nowadays. However, antibiotics can play a very important role in animal health and shouldn’t really be demonized. Would you withhold medicine from a sick pet or child? No, and we shouldn’t be cruel to livestock either. Also, if antibiotics are used, the animal must go through a withdrawal period before they can legally go to market, so all meat is actually antibiotic free.3: Never fed animal by-products. Chickens are not vegetarian by nature (they are omnivoires). They’ll eat anything that crosses their path, and a majority of livestock receive a grass- or grain-fed diet regardless, so this is pretty much a moot point.4: Family owned and operated. Well, 99 percent of farms in the U.S. are family owned so … again, a moot point.

Stand up for Safe, Affordable Food

Coalition for Safe Affordable Food | Posted on July 15, 2018

A uniform, national food ingredient disclosure solution was passed  by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support. The law prevents the confusion and costly red tape associated with a 50-state patchwork of mandatory state labeling laws that could have raised the cost of food for families by up to $1,050 per year. The bipartisan law includes a consistent labeling standard will allow consumers to access more product information than ever before through tools such as SmartLabel TM, and will ensure that foods produced with genetically modified ingredients are not unnecessary stigmatized with an on-package label. However, the fight is not over. Federal regulators will now begin a long-term process to determine how the law is carried out across the country. Check back for more details about how you can stay engaged as this new law enters the rule-making process at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

New research could banish guilty feeling for consuming whole dairy products

Science Daily | Posted on July 13, 2018

Enjoying full-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and butter is unlikely to send people to an early grave, according to new research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.The study, published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found no significant link between dairy fats and cause of death or, more specifically, heart disease and stroke -- two of the country's biggest killers often associated with a diet high in saturated fat. In fact, certain types of dairy fat may help guard against having a severe stroke, the researchers reported."Our findings not only support, but also significantly strengthen, the growing body of evidence which suggests that dairy fat, contrary to popular belief, does not increase risk of heart disease or overall mortality in older adults. In addition to not contributing to death, the results suggest that one fatty acid present in dairy may lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, particularly from stroke," said Marcia Otto, Ph.D., the study's first and corresponding author and assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health.

Washington farm groups join bid to nip city food taxes

Capital Press | Posted on July 13, 2018

Soft drink rivals Pepsi and Coke are partners in financing a ballot measure that would bar cities from taxing select foods, like Seattle has done with sweetened beverages. Initiative I-1634 has the backing of several agricultural organizations, though no Washington city has followed Seattle’s example on soda or targeted other foods, such as beef or dairy products.

Milked by organic

The Star | Posted on July 12, 2018

We investigated organic milk in Ontario, tracking its journey from cow to carton, and found the product is no different than cheaper conventional milk. So why are we paying more? While fewer people are drinking milk overall these days, organic milk is holding steady in Canada’s $5-billion organic industry, with an estimated 2017 sales totaling $77 million.Its popularity stems from consumers’ perception that organic milk is purer and more natural, not only because it’s made the old-fashioned way from happier cows on cleaner farms but because it is free from unhealthy additives, such as antibiotics and hormones.The Star investigated organic milk in Ontario, tracking the staple’s journey from cow to carton, and found the product is no different than cheaper regular milk: The nutritional content, the synthetic vitamin D added after pasteurization, the levels of pesticides and metals and heart healthy fats – all the same. And Canadian law forbids antibiotics and added growth hormones in any kind of milk.We visited organic and conventional farms, tested milk in labs, and interviewed industry experts, dietitians, scientists and professors, and found that consumers’ belief is cultivated by mischaracterizations about conventional milk and a 100-year-old, mystical farming philosophy that denounces regular milk producers as too reliant on chemicals. The organic seal of approval is awarded to farmers for meeting bureaucratic standards that emphasize note-taking and gives points to farmers who try but fail to meet them.

The Epic Battle Between Breast Milk and Infant-Formula Companies

The Atlantic | Posted on July 12, 2018

When Trump administration officials opposed a WHO breast-feeding resolution, they followed a long history of policymakers listening to baby-formula manufacturers. American officials at the World Health Assembly in Geneva this spring wanted to modify a breastfeeding resolution, and they went to the mat to do it, threatening other countries unless they promised to drop it. The American delegates wanted to ditch language in the nonbinding resolution that called on governments to “protect, promote, and support breastfeeding” and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of unhealthy food products. When that didn’t work, they threatened Ecuador, the country that intended to introduce the breastfeeding measure, with punitive trade and aid measures. Ultimately, it was Russia that agreed to introduce the breastfeeding resolution, and the U.S.’s efforts were “largely unsuccessful,”

Livestock feed accurately predicts toxic chemicals in food

Science Daily | Posted on July 12, 2018

Scientists have tracked the presence of a class of synthetic flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which were once a popular additive to increase fire resistance in consumer products such as electronics, textiles, and plastics.

Impossible Burger sets off debate in NZ

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 12, 2018

Air New Zealand announced this week that it would be the first airline to serve the Impossible Burger, as part of its Business Premier menu on selected flights from Los Angeles to Auckland — and immediately drew fire from that country’s Prime Minister and others.

Superheroes battle “veganism” in the U.K.

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 5, 2018

British meat processor ABP Food Group has rolled out a line of burgers and sausages based on Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, intended to appeal to kids and steer them away from embracing vegan diets.

Nestle, Hershey at odds with farmers over U.S. GMO labeling

Reuters | Posted on July 5, 2018

The world’s top food companies and farmers of crops such as beet sugar are pitted against each other as they lobby the U.S. government over plans to label genetically engineered ingredients. At the heart of the issue is transparency over ingredients used in food. Packaged foods makers are facing flagging consumer trust and stagnating demand for some core products as consumers opt for foods with simpler ingredient lists. Many food companies want the government to require manufacturers to include on labels all ingredients that have been genetically modified, known as GMO. But farmers want the labels to exclude ingredients that have been so refined and processed that they no longer contain any trace of the transformed genes when they are used for food. “The law has been very clear that the required disclosure is going to be for those crops or ingredients that contain the genetic material,” said Luther Markwart, head of the American Sugar Beets Association in Washington. The entire U.S. sugar-beet crops is genetically engineered. “For things like sugar and other refined products that don’t contain the genetic material, the law does not apply to us,” Markwart said. But Nestle, which makes Stouffer’s frozen prepared foods and Lean Cuisine frozen entrees, and Hershey, whose confections include Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, disagree. “Consumers want to know what is in their food and beverages and we believe that they deserve transparency. It’s at the core of our business,” Nestle spokeswoman Kate Shaw said in an emailed statement, noting the company believes those highly refined ingredients should fall under the requirements.  Hershey’s global head of scientific and regulatory affairs, Martin Slayne, said labeling these ingredients is both important for consistency as well as for “meeting consumer expectations on transparency.”