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Food News

Philadelphia passes beverage tax

ABC | Posted on June 20, 2016

Philadelphia became the first major American city with a soda tax despite a multi-million dollar campaign by the beverage industry to block it.  The City Council gave final approval to a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary and diet beverages.

The Salmonella conundrum for egg producers continues

Watt Ag Net | Posted on June 20, 2016

Out of 1,355 FDA inspections of U.S. registered egg farms, only 10 farms received warning letters from the agency, John Sheehan, director, division of dairy, egg and meat safety, CFSAN, FDA, reported.  “We think that this is a very good result,” he said.Sheehan said environmental samples were taken by FDA inspectors on 235 egg farms and only 3 percent of these were found to be positive for Salmonella enteridis. He explained that samples were taken on “targeted inspections.” So this result represents significant improvement when compared with prior published incidence rates of 8 to 9 percent gathered prior to the Egg Safety Rule’s implementation in 2010. Unfortunately, just as the reduced percentage of Salmonella-positive broiler carcasses after chilling hasn’t seemed to reduce human cases of Salmonellosis, neither has the reduction in SE contamination on layer farms.

Status of Aquaculture in U.S.: The Working Waterfront,

California Aquaculture | Posted on June 20, 2016

Living Ocean Productions has posted a new film “The Working Waterfront” — which aims to educate consumers about the current status of aquaculture in the United States — on YouTube.  The 25-minute video looks at four fish farms in different areas of the US. The farmers discuss several topics including the challenges to growing a robust US-based aquaculture community.  Over 90% of the seafood Americans eat is imported from overseas, and half of that amount is from aquaculture.  Lack of a consistent permitting processes and an outdated perception of aquaculture are cited as obstacles to increasing the supply of locally grown fish and seafood, the video’s producers said in a press release.

A Map Of Where Your Food Originated May Surprise You

NPR | Posted on June 16, 2016

A new study reveals the full extent of globalization in the world's food supply. The researchers put together a series of interactives that visualize the results. The idea that crop plants have centers of origin, where they were originally domesticated, goes back to the 1920s and the great Russian plant explorer Nikolai Vavilov. He reasoned that the region where a crop had been domesticated would be marked by the greatest diversity of that crop, because farmers there would have been selecting different types for the longest time. Diversity, along with the presence of that crop's wild relatives, marked the center of origin.

Tyson Foods Names Tom Hayes as President

Wall Street Journal | Posted on June 16, 2016

Tyson Foods has named Tom Hayes president, a move reflecting the company’s increased emphasis on branded, packaged foods. Chief Executive Donnie Smith previously held the president title. Mr. Smith said in a statement that Mr. Hayes, who was chief commercial officer, has “played a key role in creating a united company and in our continued development of our branded products.”  Mr. Hayes was chief supply chain officer at Hillshire Brands at the time of Tyson’s $7.7 billion purchase of Hillshire in 2014. Tyson picked up such brands as Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs in that deal, enhancing its position in higher-margin prepared foods.

Senator looks to get to the military before Meatless Monday does | Posted on June 16, 2016

While Meatless Monday supporters are busy trying spread the concept through schools, restaurants and other institutional food systems, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is busy trying to keep out of military cafeterias. Ernst is offering an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in an effort to head off future attempts to expand Meatless Mondays within the military. The amendment would eliminate the current Meatless Monday program at the Coast Guard Academy and ensure that all military personnel have access to animal protein on a daily basis.

$16.8 Million In Grants Awarded To Encourage Healthy Food Purchases For SNAP Participants

Growing Produce | Posted on June 15, 2016

USDA awarded $16.8 million in competitive grants to help Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The funding comes from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program, authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

FDA warns Whole Foods over ‘serious violations’ in prepared foods

Market Watch | Posted on June 15, 2016

Whole Foods Market Inc. has until the end of June to remedy “serious violations” discovered by federal regulators during a February inspection of a Massachusetts plant that supplies ready-to-eat products across the Northeast.  On a long list of problems, FDA inspectors said they found foods like pesto pasta and mushroom quesadillas being prepared or stored in places where condensation was dripping from ceilings, a doorway and a fan. It said the company kept dirty dishes near food, didn’t supply hot water at some hand-washing sinks and allowed high-pressure hoses used for cleaning to spray into areas where foods like couscous and salad dressing were being prepared.

New Labels Warn That A Tender Steak Could Be A Little Dangerous

NPR | Posted on June 15, 2016

A new label on some of the steaks in your grocery store highlights a production process you may never have heard of: mechanical tenderizing.  This means the beef has been punctured with blades or needles to break down the muscle fibers and make it easier to chew. But it also means the meat has a greater chance of being contaminated and making you sick. The labels are a requirement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that went into effect this week.

Keeping Chickens and Consumers Happy

Hoosier Ag Today | Posted on June 15, 2016

When I die, I want to come back as an organic chicken. Okay, not really, since I do not believe in reincarnation, but you have to admit the life of an organic chicken, as proposed by the USDA, is a darn site better than the living conditions of many people today.   According to the rules laid out in the proposed USDA organic livestock rule, the lifestyle of an organic chicken will be comfortable, enjoyable, intellectually stimulating, and stress free.  This lifestyle comes at a price, however, but a price that will be paid by the producer and the consumer. Working hand-in-hand with organic producers and animal rights activists, the micromanaging bureaucrats at the USDA crafted a new set of standards for certified organic livestock operations. The opinion of USDA and of many in the organic industry is that the current rules are too general and that more specific and restrictive guidelines are needed.  This is because, when you put organic chicken in the meat case or organic eggs in the cooler alongside conventionally produced products that are half the price of the organic items, you can’t tell them apart by looks, taste, or almost any other means.  The USDA admits in its proposed rule that the standards are a marketing ploy.According to the proposed rule, organic poultry will live a short but idyllic life,It even call for farmers to provide incentives to get the birds to take advantage of the outdoor life.