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Food News

The rice industry is furious at the existence of “cauliflower rice”

Quartz | Posted on May 30, 2017

The fight over the US government’s definitions for certain foods has flared up again. It’s no longer just a fight for milk farmers, who’ve grown increasingly angry about plant-based food companies (think soy, almond, and cashews) calling their liquid products “milk.” For the first time, vegetables are being roped into the debate—all because of the arrival and popularization of “cauliflower rice.”“Only rice is rice, and calling ‘riced vegetables’ ‘rice,’ is misleading and confusing to consumers,” Betsy Ward, president of industry lobby USA Rice, said in a statement earlier this month. “We may be asking the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies to look at this.” Ward added that Scott Gottlieb, the new Trump-appointed FDA commissioner, could use his power to enforce the agency’s existing definitions for food, the so-called “standards of identity.” Only recently did cauliflower rice appear in the freezer section of the grocery store—and in close proximity to frozen rice and vegetable packages, Michael Klein, a spokesman for the rice lobby, told Quartz. Klein adds that one company, Green Giant Fresh, used a “Move over, rice” marketing campaign.

States try to reduce food waste with new laws

The Los Angeles Times | Posted on May 24, 2017

To protect the environment, relieve hunger and save money, states are trying to reduce those numbers. California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont already restrict the amount of food and other organic waste (such as soiled and compostable paper and yard waste) that can be dumped in landfills. Maryland, New Jersey and New York are considering similar laws.States are offering tax breaks to farmers and small businesses that donate food rather than throw it away, limiting the liability of food donors, and standardizing "use by" labels so consumers don't toss food that is still edible. New Jersey is considering an award to prompt people to come up with productive ideas for making use of "ugly produce," foods that are perfectly edible but shunned by retailers, processors and restaurants because of blemishes and other flaws.The issue also is attracting notice beyond state capitols. Some businesses are collecting farmers' imperfect produce and restaurant food that is on the verge of spoiling or has passed its "sell by" date and selling it to customers at a discount. Others have created apps that connect restaurants and stores that have surplus food to people who want it.The Food Waste Reduction Alliance, which represents the food industry and restaurant trade associations, recently worked with Harvard Law School's Food Law and Policy Clinic to simplify and standardize "use by" and "sell by" labels, which befuddle many consumers. People throw away a lot of edible food because they misunderstand the difference between the two terms.

Why consumers buy cage-free eggs may surprise you

Watt Ag Net | Posted on May 24, 2017

Consumers view free-range and cage-free eggs as more nutritious and safer and are less concerned by the hen’s welfare than may have been thought.A new Australian study looking at the motivation behind purchases of free-range and cage-free eggs has found that consumer motivation is not simply driven by concern for the laying hen.Shoppers selecting these types of eggs may be less concerned by the perceived benefits for hens of these production systems, and more interested in the benefits that they, as consumers, might accrue from eating free-range or cage free-eggs.The study, conducted by the University of Adelaide, found that consumers choose to buy free-range or cage-free eggs because they believe that they taste better and are of a better quality than eggs from caged layers. And despite participants describing conventional cage production as “cruel,” they did not tend to emphasize welfare reasons as being critical for their purchases.

People Are Waiting in Lines for Hours to Get a Taste of Cheese Tea

Food and Wine | Posted on May 24, 2017

Cheese tea. It's tea. With cheese in it. And we cannot stop Googling it, staring at it, or wishing we had some right now to try. If you've never heard of the stuff, don't beat yourself up too much. It's only just beginning to become popular in China, Malaysia, and Taiwan, with shops like Royaltea, Regiustea, Heytea, and Chizu Drink popping up to capitalize on the growing trend. As of the beginning of this year, there's even a cheese tea shop in Queens, New York: Happy Lemon, which sells both bubble tea and a selection of cheese teas. Anyway, when you really stop and think about it, the concept of adding cheese to hot water isn't all that insane. After all, we've been adding milk to our tea all this time, and that's sort of the same concept. Right? 

Got Milk? Too Much of It, Say U.S. Dairy Farmers

Wall Street Journal | Posted on May 24, 2017

Farmers bulked up their herds when prices were high, but then trouble in the global market hit


Low dairy consumption tied to risk of early menopause

Reuters | Posted on May 22, 2017

Women in their early 40s with the highest intake of vitamin D and calcium from food sources may have a lower than average risk of starting menopause before age 45, a recent study suggests.Taking vitamin D or calcium in supplement form had no benefit in the large study of U.S. nurses, the study team writes in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and there may be other substances in dairy foods that also contribute to their apparent protective effect.“Early menopause can have substantial health impacts for women. It increases their risk of cardiovascular disease and early cognitive decline and osteoporosis,” lead author Alexandra Purdue-Smithe told Reuters Health.In addition, as women are delaying having kids into their later reproductive years, having early menopause can have a substantial impact on their ability to conceive as they wish, which can have psychological and financial consequences, said Purdue-Smithe, an epidemiologist with the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Butterball to close Gusto pork plant in Illinois, exit pork business

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on May 20, 2017

Butterball plans to close the former Gusto Packing pork processing plant in Montgomery, Ill., it purchased in 2013, eliminating about 600 jobs, and ending production of the Gusto-branded bacon and ham products the plant was making. “With this closure, the company will be exiting the pork business both branded and private label by July 17, 2017.”

Confused about what’s healthy? A new nutrition survey shows you’re not alone.

The Washington Post | Posted on May 18, 2017

If I asked you, “Who do you trust?” you would probably name a friend or family member — unless the topic is nutrition. Odds are your nearest and dearest are not your most trusted sources for nutrition information, even though there’s an excellent chance that you rely on them to decide what to eat. Maybe that’s why Americans are getting a failing grade in nutrition literacy, according to findings from the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 12th annual Food and Health Survey.We don’t consume just food, we consume information about food, and the information buffet is more loaded than ever. To varying degrees, we listen to advice from not just experienced nutrition professionals, but also from health coaches, personal trainers, social media, bloggers, television, government agencies and food companies. Is our inability to determine the best, most reliable sources of information getting in the way of the improved health we almost universally seek?Friends and family trailed only personal health-care professionals as sources of information about what foods to eat or avoid. Yet respondents ranked friends and family as low on the trustworthiness scale (health providers rated high) for information on what foods to eat and avoid. Your immediate circle is also probably the biggest influence on your decision to follow a specific eating pattern or diet — with health-care providers and registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) lagging behind.

Mara Abbott: GMO debate about everything except GMOs

Daily Camera | Posted on May 16, 2017

Last December, Adrian Card ruined grocery shopping for me. Card is the CSU extension agent to Boulder County, and was the lead author of "Economic, Environmental and Social Implications of Cropping Systems in Boulder County," a 2015 briefing paper for the county commissioners. I discovered it researching the commissioners' decision to ban genetically engineered crops on county open space.It's a snapshot of data gathered from six Northern Colorado farms between 2011 and 2015, and it documented organic crops that had released six times more sequestered carbon from the soil and used 10 times more water than genetically engineered varieties. GE crops also decreased pesticide use by 80 percent compared to their conventional counterparts. I was paralyzed. I had always self-identified as a good Boulder environmentalist, and figured that meant that non-organic was a non-starter (and the organic definition excludes GMOs). Now where was I supposed to buy my kale? (Currently, there are no GMO varieties of kale.)My doubts about the GMO ban's merits blossomed. After all, the ban's loudest supporters claimed to be fighting for reduced pesticide use and more sustainable cropping methods. Commissioner Deb Gardner specifically cited researching carbon sequestration as a top priority of the transition. If on county land the currently approved GE crops could actually be making positive progress toward those goals, why was there such a strong desire to outlaw them? The open-space farmers themselves had always voiced near unanimous opposition to the ban. They explained that it would create economic instability and that it contradicted their generations-deep study of how to farm Boulder County sustainably. Many felt powerless in the debate.

Study of meat from home delivery services shows disturbing results

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on May 16, 2017

Researchers at Rutgers University and Tennessee State University who ordered and tested hundreds of meat, poultry, game and seafood items from home delivery systems such as meal kits found disturbing results relative to cold-chain integrity, packaging, labeling and pathogen loads on some of these food items. Of consumers interviewed, 95 percent believed these products to be safe. However, many of these food items arrived as unexpected gifts, increasing the likelihood the products might sit outside for eight hours or more before being opened and refrigerated. Only 5 percent of the deliveries the researchers received specifically require a signature upon delivery. Hallman said while delivery services such as Fedex, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service specifically disclaim responsibility for the integrity of perishable products, the vendors shipping through them also often disclaim responsibility if their products are delivered on the day they were promised.Further, he said only 42 percent of vendors surveyed provide any food safety information on their websites and, when they did, it was hard to find and often inaccurate.