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Food News

Sanderson touts environmental benefits of antibiotic use

Watt Ag Net | Posted on June 15, 2017

You use more feed, water and land when you eliminate antibiotic use, Sanderson Farms CEO says. Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms, continues to stress why the third largest broiler company is not joining the movement to raise chickens without antibiotics.

How Does The Richest Nation Solve A Milk Shortage? By Airlifting 4,000 Cows

NPR | Posted on June 14, 2017

How do you start a dairy industry overnight in a wealthy desert nation with its transport links closed? You buy 4,000 cows from Australia and the U.S. and put them on airplanes. That is what Qatari businessman Moutaz Al Khayyat told Bloomberg he is doing. The airlift will require as many as 60 flights on Qatar Airways, but Al Khayyat said, "This is the time to work for Qatar."Last week, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates all cut ties to Qatar. While it's very wealthy because of its oil and gas reserves, Qatar imports 80 percent of its food from bigger neighbors, like the UAE and Saudi Arabia.Or rather, it did until last week. Qatar is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, and it shares its only land border with Saudi Arabia — a border that is now closed.The news sent people rushing to grocery stores, with reports of long lines and empty shelves.After they land, the cows will make a home in the Wisconsin of Qatar "on a site covering the equivalent of almost 70 soccer fields, (where) new grey sheds line two strips of verdant grass in the desert with a road running through the middle up to a small mosque," according to Bloomberg.Al Khayyat, chairman of a company called Power International Holding, told Bloomberg that he had already been planning on importing the cows by boat. But when Qatar was cut off by Saudi Arabia and four other countries, he picked up the pace. He expects milk production to begin by the end of June and to meet a third of Qatar's milk demand by mid-July. He told the publication that shipping the cows by air raised the transport cost five times over, to $8 million.Qatar's "National Vision 2030" aims to create "a diversified economy that gradually reduces its dependence on hydrocarbon industries." Becoming less reliant on foreign foodstuffs is a key part of that effort.

EU:Word ‘milk’ banned for use in branding of plant-based products

FG Insight | Posted on June 14, 2017

The EU Court of Justice has today (June 14) ruled products of a ‘purely plant-based substance’ are no longer legally allowed to be branded with the terms milk, cream, butter, cheese or yoghurt, unless of animal origin. The rule applies to all products that do not appear on the list of exceptions, such as soya and tofu.
It came as German company TofuTown argued its advertising of vegan and vegetarian purely plant-based products – Soyatoo tofu butter, rice spray cream and veggie cheese – did not infringe any relevant EU legislation.It said consumers had changed the way they understood the designations.


Baby death: Parents convicted of killing son with diet of vegetable milk

Newsweek | Posted on June 14, 2017

Identified as Peter S Sandrina V, the parents, who owned a health food store, were given a six-month suspended jail term after being found guilty of the death of their son, Lucas. At the time of his death, Lucas, dehydrated and malnourished, weighed just under 10 pounds. The parents said they set his diet because Lucas was lactose—and gluten—intolerant, but prosecutors were skeptical. “The parents determined their own diagnosis that their child was gluten intolerant and had a lactose allergy,” lawyers said.The father, Peter S, said Lucas was never taken to the doctor because the parents never noticed anything unusual about his health. “Sometimes he gained a little weight, sometimes he lost a little. We never wished for the death of our son,” said Sandrina V.The court found that the parents ignored warning signs of the baby’s deteriorating health. In addition to weighing less than half the expected weight of a 7-month-old, the baby’s organs had shrunk to half the normal size, and were not insulated by fat. The parents had been warned by doctors that the alternative diet was not healthy for a child that young.The death was “the result of the systematic offer of food which was not suitable,” said Judge Mieke Butstraen.

PA processor drops 11 farms due to milk surplus

Wilkes Barre Times Leader | Posted on June 14, 2017

A major Pennsylvania dairy has laid off 11 farms due to a surplus of milk.Galliker’s Dairy tells WJAC-TV that the Johnstown-area business has had a surplus for years.Evan Fineman, the dairy’s senior vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer, says the dairy’s 85 farms have produced more milk each year even though Galliker’s is selling less. After accumulating the surplus and financial losses for several years, the dairy was forced to stop taking milk from 11 farms.  Galliker’s produces about 14.5 million gallons (54.9 million liters) of milk each year. The farm layoffs will cut that by about 2 million gallons (7.6 million liters), or 13 percent. The Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board required the dairy to give the laid off farms 30 days’ notice so they can search for other buyers.


U.S. Consumers are More Concerned About Animal Welfare Than Just a Few Years Ago

National Chicken Council | Posted on June 14, 2017

Fifty-eight percent of U.S. consumers are more concerned about food animal welfare than they were just a few years ago, according to market research firm Packaged Fact’s recent report, “Animal Welfare: Issues and Opportunities in the Meat, Poultry, and Egg Markets in the U.S.” In the report, “animal welfare” encompasses key areas including housing, handling, feeding and slaughter.The rising interest in animal welfare issues is in part an outgrowth of increased concerns about the safety of the food supply, and a growing consumer conviction that food animals raised in healthier circumstances will yield meat, poultry, and dairy case products that are higher quality across the board–safer, healthier, more nutritious, and even more flavorful, the Packaged Facts report.U.S. consumers have many concerns about how farm animals are being raised, including handling, slaughtering, housing, feeding, and antibiotic use.  Correspondingly, the number of companies engaging in animal welfare advances and announcing plans to meet new standards has reached critical mass.  Food companies at every level of the production and delivery spectrum, aware of both consumer and investor concerns, are taking significant steps to improve the quality of life of the animals in their supply chains.  In addition to humanitarian concerns, corporate decisions to engage progressively in animal welfare issues is grounded in the mandate to be competitive in a changing marketplace and among a new generation of Millennial and Gen Z Consumers, the report said.Consumers have different levels of understanding and trust when it comes to product claims associated with animal welfare. The Packaged Facts survey data reveal that 19 percent of consumers only have a general idea of what ‘grass-fed’ means, with another 19 percent reporting they don’t have a good idea of what the term ‘certified humane’ means.

The organic milk market is overflowing

Hoard's Dairyman | Posted on June 12, 2017

Just two years ago, U.S. farmers couldn’t keep up with consumer demand for organic milk. Now, production has outpaced the need. An organic milk surplus of 50 million gallons is anticipated for 2017, according to the most recent USDA Organic Dairy Market News report. This means some organic milk will be sold on the conventional market at conventional prices.The demand for organic dairy is still there. Organic milk made up 5.2 percent of all fluid milk sales last year, which was more than double its 1.9 percent share from a decade earlier.It is this growing demand that helped push the organic milk price upward. Through November 2016, the average pay price was more than $36 per hundredweight, almost $20 more per hundredweight than conventional prices.Meanwhile, additional milk on the organic market has brought down retail prices. Last year, a gallon of organic milk averaged $6.99. The current average price is $5.82 per gallon.

New dairy effort undeniably interesting

Capital Press | Posted on June 12, 2017

Called Undeniably Dairy, the website and campaign combine facts and features about all things dairy.Up to this point, the industry’s efforts to set the record straight have met with varying degrees of success.A new effort aims at improving that record.It’s called Undeniably Dairy and combines some new features and others that have been around for awhile that are upbeat and non-defensive. Some are informative, and others are just for fun. They avoid the air of self-righteousness and, in sum, portray dairy farms as the fascinating places they are.For example, a news story last winter mentioned that Skittles are fed to dairy cows. A video featuring dairy farmer Laura Daniels on the Undeniably Dairy website offers a complete and science-based explanation that leaves viewers with only one question, whether cows like Skittles or Gummy Worms best.FYI, the sugar in the candy is fed to cows in small portions in their winter rations to help them digest their feed.

Go Ahead. Eat Pink Slime.

The New York Times | Posted on June 12, 2017

I’ll leave it to the jury to determine whether or not the ABC story was fake news. But the truth about pink slime is that, despite its unappetizing name, it’s entirely safe to eat. More than that, it is an affordable source of lean meat for low-income Americans, and stigmatizing it hurts people who rely on it for protein.What seemed to scare consumers the most about pink slime — which ABC claimed was used in 70 percent of ground beef sold in American supermarkets — was that the lean beef trimmings were treated with ammonia. That sounds scary, but is actually perfectly safe. Ammonia is used to kill harmful bacteria that exists in the meat, but is present in such tiny quantities that it is not harmful to consume. The United States Department of Agriculture affirmed as much in a letter back in 2012, a few weeks after the ABC story aired. Indeed, Chips Ahoy cookies and Velveeta cheese contain similar ammonium compounds, like ammonium phosphate, as does Wonder Bread.To suggest that there’s industrial strength cleaner in our meat or that pink slime isn’t meat would be, well, fake news.

Lawsuit says dairy ads portray bovine growth hormone rbST as a six-eyed monster

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Posted on June 12, 2017

Arla Foods, a Europe-based cheesemaker with a plant in the Fox Valley, has been sued over a $30 million advertising campaign that — the plaintiff says — casts bovine growth hormone rbST in an unfavorable light.  In a lawsuit filed recently in U.S. District Court in Green Bay, Eli Lilly Elanco US of Indianapolis alleges that Arla’s campaign perpetuates false claims that rbST — which promotes milk production in cows — is dangerous.Elanco markets rbST — recombinant bovine somatotropin — under the brand name Posilac. In its complaint, Elanco seeks an “immediate stop to a false and disparaging advertising campaign” by Arla Foods Inc. USA, based in New Jersey.“Arla’s assault on rbST’s safety is anything but subtle. In the 30-second television commercial that is the centerpiece of the campaign, Arla depicts rbST as an enormous, six-eyed monster with razor-sharp horns and electrified fur,” the lawsuit says.“Arla reinforces the core message, that rbST is dangerous, through an extensive, internet-based social media campaign that amplifies and repeats the commercial’s key images and messages,” the suit says.Arla says it is the fourth-largest dairy company in the world. In Wisconsin, it has a cheese plant in Kaukauna, near Appleton, that makes havarti, Gouda, Muenster and fontina products.Elanco says the ads depicting rbST as “weird stuff” and a six-eyed monster “intentionally frighten and mislead consumers" in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage.