he dairy lobby is justifiably frustrated about the widespread use of dairy-terms (milk, cheese, yogurt) to describe plant-based products, but it also needs to focus on its own game to understand why sales of fluid dairy milk are declining.
Strong gains in its beef and pork segments fueled record-setting results for Tyson Foods in the first quarter of 2017, the processor announced this morning. Tyson said earnings per share hit a record $1.59, a 38-percent improvement on year-ago results. Operating income rose 27 percent to a record $982 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017, while net income in the period reached $594 million, up 29 percent from profits in the same period one year ago. Sales in the first quarter increased by less than one-tenth of one percent compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2016 to $9.18 billion.
State Senator Cliff Pirtle (R-Roswell) wants to end the misrepresentationf plant based "milk" products. His SB 161 calls for the end of the mislabeling of beverages as “milk” when they don’t have cow or goat milk in them. Senator Pirtle said the cartons in the dairy section of products called soy milk, almond milk and silk milk are confusing to the public because they think they are milk and they are not. He is asking that in New Mexico there be more truth in advertising and these beverages be labeled something as such “imitation milk.”
Republicans and Democrats joined forces in a committee of the Virginia House of Delegates to defeat an attempt to legalize the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk by a vote of more than two to one. The 6-15 vote against House Bill 2030 saw all six votes in favor cast by Republican members of the Committee for Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources. One committee member, Republican James Morefield, did not vote on the bill. Republicans Nicholas Freitas, Robert Marshall sponsored the bill, which would have allowed direct-to-consumer sales of raw milk and other uninspected, uncertified and unregulated foods at farmers markets, on farms or at producers’ homes. Of those voting against the bill, eight were Republicans and seven were Democrats. Those 15 delegates came down on the same side of the issue as their state’s public health and agriculture departments.
The country is accepting its first-ever egg imports from the US in response to shortages causing sharp increases in food prices. The U.S. exported 14 million eggs to South Korea in January as the nation continues to deal with a widespread avian influenza outbreak.
U.S. bacon reserves have hit a 50 year low. The non-profit Ohio Pork Council said that demand for frozen pork belly, often made into bacon, has far outpaced supply, USA Today reports. “Today’s pig farmers are setting historic records by producing more pigs than ever. Yet our reserves are still depleting,” said Rich Deaton, the group's president. With low reserve levels, prices have increased; the cost of pork belly rose by 20% in January, according to the council. Officials said that increased foreign demand might also be responsible, however, as hog farmers export around 26% of their total product according to the group.
Tucked into a rambling bill “promoting agriculture in the Commonwealth” of Massachusetts that includes provisions on joy-riding all-terrain vehicle operators, rain sensors on residential landscape sprinkler systems, and sundry sections on land assessments, re-valuation and taxation, is language to legalize the sale of unpasteurized raw milk. The Massachusetts bill, SD 1796, includes more than 7,300 words — 780 of them pertain to efforts to legalize on-farm raw milk sales direct to consumers as well as sales through herd- or animal-share programs for dairy cows and goats. The Massachusetts bill does not specifically address pathogen testing or other food safety requirements for raw milk, instead stating: “The department of agricultural resources and the department of public health, acting jointly, shall adopt and promulgate reasonable rules and regulations governing the handling, packaging, storage, testing, and transportation of raw milk, provided that non-mechanical refrigeration shall be permitted.”
“The world should just switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet.” — says seemingly everyone, regarding the food-sustainability problem. If someone offers a solution to the Gordian Knot of food sustainability, run it through the following gauntlet:Does it allow you to do most of your food shopping at the grocery store? Does it require just eliminating one or two things from your diet or, alternatively, eliminating all but a few things? Does it excuse you from making substantial shifts in your diet as the seasons progress? A ‘yes’ to any of those questions is the clarion call of bulls . A long list of solutions gets beaten to death in this gauntlet, and few so much as vegetarianism.
The University of Connecticut Dining Service’s decision to replace beef burgers with blended mushroom burgers is not going over so well with some students on campus, according to the school newspaper. One student, Cameron Tracy, was so turned off by the half-beef/half-mushroom burger that he started a Change.org petition to bring the all-beef patties back, at least to have as an option. The petition is at 250 signatures and counting. School officials said the change was made in response to a student survey to make food options on campus more healthful and more environmentally sustainable, and they’re not going back. “If we made (all-beef burgers) as an option, we’re not having the impact on the environment that we want to have (and) we’re not having the impact on students’ health we want to have,” said C. Dennis Pierce, director of Dining Services. “Any time you change something on a menu it can be kind of risky, but when you think about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it does validate (the change).”
Usually state legislative battles over raw milk are fought only by local advocates and raw milk specific groups like the Weston A. Price Foundation. What follows is testimony about how long some has been drinking raw milk and how they’ve never personally gotten sick. The Tenth Amendment Center is making a different arguments. “Constitutionally, food safety falls within the powers reserved to the states and the people,” says a position paper written by Maharrey. “The feds have no authority to enforce food safety laws within the border of a state. Nevertheless, federal agencies still want more control over America’s food supply, and they go great lengths to get it.” “For example, the FDA bans the interstate sale of raw milk. But, not only do they ban the transportation of raw milk across state lines, they also claim the authority to ban unpasteurized milk within the borders of a state.” Maharrey says “FDA ultimately wants to maintain a complete prohibition on raw milk with a one-size fits all control over everything you eat and drink.” “While FDA apologists claim the agency only wants to protect consumers, in truth, federal regulations tend to benefit big companies and squeeze out family farms. In the name of safety, FDA regulations limit your ability to access local, fresh food,” Maharrey says. He says the effect of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is to permit FDA to dictate to the states through partnerships with them. By contrast, the Tenth Amendment Center sees the raw milk bills as a way to help nullify the federal prohibition goal.