The U.S. dairy sector is fighting harder than ever on several fronts to halt the European Union’s global efforts to block cheese producers in other countries from using names like Roquefort, Asiago and Gorgonzola on the products they export. The EU has been making progress in countries including Japan, China and Mexico, but U.S.-based groups like the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Consortium for Common Food Names (CCFN) are fighting back.
The link between the use of antibiotics in humans and food-producing animals and subsequent antibiotic resistance has been confirmed, according to a new study by three European food and medical agencies.The European Food Safety Authority, the European Medicines Agency and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said the results of the study reflect improved surveillance across Europe when it comes to antibiotics consumption.The study indicates that overall antibiotic use is higher in food-producing animals than in humans, but the situation varies across countries and according to the antibiotics. Specifically, the study cites a class of antibiotics called polymyxins used widely in the veterinary sector and increasingly used in hospitals to treat multidrug-resistant infections.
Who are these special cows, you ask? They're snack company Herr's cattle. And you can taste them—as steaks, burgers, and more—at a few restaurants in the Philadelphia area. Herr has long had cattle on more than 1,000 acres of farmland near their eastern Pennsylvania headquarters. The cows graze on grass watered by the company's otherwise unusable gray-hued wash—turned that unpleasant color after scrubbing potatoes—and they're fed a diet made up of the company's unsellable snacks. Don't worry: nutritionists helped develop their odd diet, which even includes cheese curds.
Sanderson Farms announced new television and radio ads called “Old MacGimmick” as the company continues a campaign to reveal what it says are prevalent falsehoods and half-truths in poultry marketing. "At Sanderson Farms, we have made it our responsibility to shine a light on misleading marketing tactics and labeling," said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., CEO and chairman of Sanderson Farms. "Rather than acquiescing to trending scare tactics and socially driven paranoia, Sanderson Farms has chosen to address the issues using hard science. While there may have been an easier route to take, we have chosen to continue this course of action for the benefit of our customers."
The Good Food Institute is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to respond to a 20-year-old petition and clarify once and for all that soy-based beverages can be labeled as “soy milk.” The nonprofit, which works to promote plant-based meat, dairy and eggs, asked the FDA in a letter Monday to respond to the petition the Soyfoods Association sent on Feb. 28, 1997, asking the agency to allow manufacturers to use the term “soy milk.”The GFI has also submitted a petition of its own.The group asked the FDA in March to amend its regulations to clarify "that new foods may be named by reference to other 'traditional' foods in a manner that makes clear to consumers their distinct origins or properties." The GFI is threatening to sue if the FDA decides to restrict the use of the term “soy milk,” claiming it will have violated the First Amendment.The National Milk Producers Federation is pushing back. The group claims plant-based “milk” imitators are using dairy terminology and imagery to advertise their products as suitable replacements for cow’s milk and urged the FDA in a meeting last week to enforce its food standards.
And investigation into an E. coli outbreak around the twin cities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz. that killed two children has determined that the likely source of the disease was infected animals, followed by person-to-person contact, according to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. In a release, the agency said several livestock tested positive for the E. coli strain involved in this outbreak. Meanwhile, tests on water systems, springs, ground beef, produce and dairy products were negative.
The average price has dropped to $1.33 a dozen, down 48% from two years ago, but demand hasn’t rebounded since avian-flu bout. A glut of eggs is putting pressure on suppliers and farmers who are struggling to win back business two years after the worst bout of avian influenza in U.S. history devastated egg-laying flocks. Poultry farms in the U.S. have fully restocked and rebuilt egg supplies since the outbreak but demand hasn’t kept up. Some buyers who found alternatives during the outbreak haven't returned. Egg prices are near a decade low, a situation that cheers shoppers in grocery aisles but is spurring losses for industry giants and farmers alike.
Poultry farms in India are dosing their chickens with antibiotics at such high rates that 94 percent of meat chickens and 60 percent of laying hens tested in a new study harbored multi-drug-resistant bacteria that can cause grave human infections. In the study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers from Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Minnesota and several institutions in India interviewed farmers and collected samples on 18 farms in northern India. Half of the farms raised broilers and half kept hens for egg production, some on solo family properties and others under Western-style contract arrangements in which farmers raise but do not own birds.All told, more than 500 chickens were tested — the largest such study yet done in India, the researchers said — yielding more than 1,500 samples of E. coli that was resistant to drugs that are important in human medicine. The most common resistance pattern was ESBL, which denotes bacteria that are resistant to penicillin and the drug family cephalosporins. The latter includes the common antibiotic Keflex. Eighty-seven percent of broilers and 42 percent of layers carried ESBL-resistant bacteria.“That was truly shocking; I had not expected that level of ESBL resistance,” Ramanan Laxminarayan, an economist and the study’s lead author, said by phone. “When the results first came out I asked the team if they were sure they were right. When we confirmed it, it was mind-boggling.”
Today American Farmland Trust and Growing Food Connections announced the publication of GROWING LOCAL: A Community Guide to Planning for Agriculture and Food Systems. The national guide showcases ways communities can strengthen their food systems through planning, policy and public investment. It includes the most comprehensive collection of local policies ever assembled to support local farms and ranches, improve access to healthy food, and develop needed distribution and infrastructure. Written for farmers, community residents and food policy councils, as well as planners and local government officials, this practical guide highlights real life examples of ways communities are growing food connections from field to fork. “GROWING LOCAL is an excellent resource, sharing successful policies and approaches to food systems development from across the country,” said David Rouse, managing director of research and advisory services for the American Planning Association. “It identifies key places in the planning process where a community can address the viability of local farms and improve healthy food access—from civic engagement, to visioning and goal setting, to developing solutions to grow its economy and the well-being of its residents.”
Maine has a new law that allows towns to regulate local food production without requiring state and federal rules. We’ll learn what this means for Mainers and how it ties into the national food sovereignty movement.