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Food News

Food Spending of Middle-Income Households Hardest Hit by the Great Recession

Amber Waves - USDA | Posted on October 1, 2018

As household incomes fell during the Great Recession, total food spending by U.S. households declined by 7 percent between 2007 and 2010, as many households cut back on eating out. Food spending by households in the middle-income quintile remained below pre-recession levels in 2016, and these households continued to allocate more of their food budgets to food at home rather than eating out. Households with an elderly member tend to have a more fixed income from Social Security or pensions, which may be why these households did not have significant changes in their food purchasing patterns during the Great Recession.

Walmart, Sam's Club to put food products on blockchain

Reuters | Posted on September 26, 2018

Walmart and its unit Sam’s Club said on Monday leafy greens suppliers will be asked to implement real-time, farm-to-store tracking using blockchain technology by next September, as the retailer tackles food-safety incidents. Walmart is among several other retailers such as Nestle SA trying to tap blockchain, a shared record of data kept by a network of computers to track food supply chain and improve safety.Walmart said on Monday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has consulted with the company to improve traceability of food products to help public officials investigate and find the source of food-borne disease outbreaks.



Michigan's new food safety team assists food businesses

Michigan Department of Agriculture | Posted on September 26, 2018

A new team of food safety experts has been created to help speed up the licensing process for Minnesota food businesses. The goal of the Food Innovation Team (FIT), a subcommittee of Minnesota’s Food Safety and Defense Task Force, is to help state regulators accommodate new and innovative food business models while maintaining high food safety standards. “Obtaining a food license can be a daunting process,” said Jim Roettger, Licensing Liaison for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. “The Food Innovation Team will help business owners untangle issues and provide them access to experts in the areas of regulation, local food systems, and food safety.”In addition to helping individual food entrepreneurs, the Food Innovation Team will strive to improve the overall functioning of the food regulatory system. Roettger says as FIT hears cases and resolves issues that are complex or unclear, that information will be captured in a database that will be available to the public. Over time, this information will help regulators, food system advocates, and food entrepreneurs work through complex food licensing problems.The Food Innovation Team was developed through a collaborative process that involved the food regulatory divisions of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and Minnesota Department of Health, community groups including the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association and Renewing the Countryside, as well as University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture.

Mandatory scrap food recycling coming to Portland area restaurants

KGW | Posted on September 26, 2018

Whether they want to or not, many Portland-area restaurants will soon be turning food scraps into energy. A mandatory food scrap recycling program is set to start in less than two years.Beginning in 2020 Metro will require any business that generates more than 250 pounds of food waste a week to separate out those food scraps for recycling.Currently, area food waste makes up about one-fifth of the garbage that goes to the landfill.According to Metro, that's about 5,000 semi-trucks full of food scraps every year that end up in our landfills. There the waste creates problematic methane gas.Metro wants to put that food waste to better use."The idea is, instead of having that food waste in a landfill where it creates methane gas which is a very potent greenhouse gas,” Pam Peck, Metro resource conservation manager said. “We can take that food waste and we can create better things out of it... we can create energy out of it.”

Cincinnati firm plans robotic indoor farm to supply Whole Foods, Jungle Jim's

Biz Journal | Posted on September 26, 2018

80 Acres Farms plans to build a large, fully automated indoor farm in Hamilton, Ohio, which will produce specialty greens to supply Jungle Jim’s International Market and Whole Foods as well as other retailers and foodservice distributors.

Free-range hens: The future egg safety conundrum?

Watt Ag Net | Posted on September 26, 2018

On a recent trip to Europe I had the opportunity to visit some free-range layer houses. The barns look much like the other layer houses that I saw on my visit, they just had the “dog doors” on the side of the house. Just like “pasture-raised” hen farms in the U.S., there are no barriers to exposure to rodents, birds or insects for hens outside the house. I couldn’t help but think of the lengths that U.S. egg producers go to, whether in houses equipped with cages or aviaries, to keep rodents and flies out of their houses. The measures are undertaken for biosecurity reasons, both to protect the health of the hens and to insure the safety of the eggs for consumers.I can only imagine what an inspection report would read like after a free-range farm is implicated in a Salmonellosis outbreak. Consumers don’t understand that outdoor access means more hen mortality and a greater food safety risk.

Costco Poultry Complex Could Redefine Farm-to-Fork

Ag Web | Posted on September 26, 2018

As Costco is set to be the first U.S. retailer to integrate its meat supply to the farm level, a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division predicts that other food retailers and foodservice companies may be prompted to reevaluate their own supply chain integration opportunities.
In September of next year, Costco is slated to open a new chicken complex in eastern Nebraska where it expects in-house production to generate a savings of 10 to 35 cents per bird. According to the CoBank report, the move comes as Costco’s rotisserie chickens have become a major traffic-driver for in-store customers, while available supplies of whole birds at targeted weights have declined. Since 2010, Costco’s rotisserie chicken sales have grown by more than 8 percent annually—three times the growth rate of total U.S. poultry consumption—and have maintained a $4.99 per chicken price point.Costco’s move marks the first time a U.S. retailer has integrated its meat supply to the farm level and taken on the risks associated with animal husbandry, including feeding, animal welfare, disease prevention and harvesting.

The truth is in the FSIS approved label; Or is it?

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on September 26, 2018

My quart of fat free King Supers milk says right on the front label: “Our farmers promise not to use rbST. FDA has determined there is no significant difference between milk from rbST-treated cows and non-rbST-treated cows.” Good for FDA. But the label still implies something must be bad in milk from rbST-treated cows.Now Perdue Farms has come out with a new label that is FSIS approved and that they are hoping will appeal to the millennials. I assure you it does not appeal to an old baby boomer who looks for truth in advertising. There are five statements that are made regarding Perdue chicken meat: 100% vegetarian fed, No animal byproducts, Raised cage free, No hormones or steroids, and No antibiotics ever.

Colorado meatpacker recalls ground beef after E. coli death

AP | Posted on September 24, 2018

A Colorado meatpacker is recalling more than 132,000 pounds (60,000 kilograms) of ground beef after a suspected E. coli outbreak killed one person and sickened 17, officials said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the beef was produced and packaged at Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan on June 21 and shipped to retailers nationwide.

California makes people ask for straws, sodas with kid meals

AP | Posted on September 24, 2018

If you want a straw with your drink or a soda with a kids’ meal at a California restaurant, you’ll need to ask for them starting next year. A law signed Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown makes California the first state to bar full-service restaurants from automatically giving out single-use plastic straws. Another law he approved requires milk or water to be the default drink sold with kids’ meals at fast-food and full-service restaurants.Neither law is an outright ban on straws or sugary drinks in kids’ meals. But some Republicans have called the measures government overreach by the heavily Democratic state.