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Food News

How difficult is it to export internationally? Here’s one California business’ experience

Mercury News | Posted on October 4, 2016

In the cutthroat competition for supermarket shelf space, rivals had edged his high-protein, gluten-free, California-made nutrition bars out of a major American grocery chain.  Dorf’s company, PureFit, had just three employees and under $10 million in sales, “but we didn’t curl up in a ball,” he recalled. “We kept fighting. We realized, there’s a lot more opportunity outside the U.S.”  Today, PureFit exports to 20 countries from Switzerland to Singapore. Foreign sales rose 53 percent in two years, accounting for a quarter of revenue and making up for domestic losses.  “International business saved my company,” said Dorf, 48, an avid cyclist who launched his brand 15 years ago because “most nutrition bars were dressed-up candy bars.”  Foreign trade is in the news. President Barack Obama is pushing Congress to approve a massive trade deal with 12 nations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And the broader question of whether trade agreements create or destroy jobs has become a hot-button issue in presidential and congressional campaigns.  For exporters such as Dorf, trade deals can mean fewer tariffs on their goods. And that could be good news for Southern California, which, with its massive ports, ethnically mixed population and diversified industries, is an export powerhouse. Los Angeles County produced a quarter of California’s $165 billion in merchandise exports in 2015. Orange County, with $19 billion, made up 11 percent, and the Inland Empire, with $9 billion, accounted for 5.4 percent.

Survey explores food perceptions of two biggest consumer groups

| Posted on October 3, 2016


The two largest U.S. consumer populations — baby boomers and millennials — view food differently and have different priorities when it comes to buying food. The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation dug deep into what baby boomers think about food and nutrition in the 2016 Food and Health Survey.  When it comes to perceptions of healthfulness, baby boomers are more likely than millennials to rate whole grains (80 percent vs. 70 percent), protein from plant sources (75 percent vs. 63 percent), and omega-3 fatty acids (71 percent vs. 59 percent) as healthy. Boomers are more likely than millennials to be interested in health benefits associated with foods such as weight management, cardiovascular health and digestive health. Millennials are more likely to be interested in benefits such as mental health, muscle health and immunity associated with foods.

China suspends poultry meat imports from JBS, others

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on October 3, 2016

JBS S.A. said China suspended poultry meat purchases from two of the company's plants in Brazil, due to sanitary irregularities.

Eating fat vs. getting fat

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on October 3, 2016

Our current cultural obsession with reducing saturated fats and animal proteins from our diets will be the end of us.  For fifty years we’ve been following the advice of the Department of Agriculture and the American Heart Association. Myriads of so-called “unbiased” studies and nutritional experts have peddled their influences to promote the false premise that heart disease, cholesterol and overall health is improved if we eat less fat. American’s have reduced fats in their diets by 10 percent since 1970 and cut back even more on saturated fats. We’ve replaced those lost healthy calories with obesity-producing carbs and processed sugars. Now we’re the second fattest nation on earth (the only nation fatter is Mexico). As a result, heart disease rates have shot up, as have the corresponding rates of diabetes. In 1960, only one out of 100 people in the United States had Type 2 diabetes; today it’s a whopping one out of 10.  In 1960, one out of seven Americans was classified as obese. Today it’s ballooned up to one out of three.

USDA To Extend Deregulation To Two Lines Of Genetically Engineered Potatoes

Growing Produce | Posted on October 3, 2016

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has preliminarily determined that it will extend deregulation to two lines of genetically engineered (GE) potatoes developed by J.R. Simplot Company for late blight resistance, low acrylamide potential, reduced black spot bruising, and lowered reducing sugars.  APHIS previously reviewed and deregulated these GE traits in other GE potatoes. A plant pest risk similarity assessment (PPRSA), preliminary finding of no significant impact (FONSI), and a preliminary determination of nonregulated status has been prepared that will be available for a 30-day public review and comment period upon publication in the Federal Register. APHIS will consider all public comments received on or before Oct. 24, 2016.

China Wants GMOs. The Chinese People Don't.

Bloomberg | Posted on October 3, 2016

The latest food safety scandal in China might be its most damaging. A former doctoral student at one of the country's national testing centers for genetically modified organisms went public with allegations of scientific fraud, including claims that records were doctored extensively, that unqualified personnel were employed under illegal contracts and -- most seriously -- that authorities refused to take action when his concerns were aired privately.  China's Ministry of Agriculture responded to a social media storm by suspending operations at the center.  That might take care of the current scandal, but the Chinese public's hostility toward GMOs won't go away so easily. Those concerns have only grown over the past decade as the government has increased its support of GMOs, including approval of the state-owned ChinaChem Group's $43 billion takeover offer for the Swiss seed giant Syngenta.

Hershey official confident in smart label technolog

Brownfield | Posted on October 3, 2016

An official of The Hershey Company is confident that consumers will embrace the industry’s new SmartLabel technology on food products. Anti-GMO activists have argued that GMO disclosure statements need to printed on the labels of food products. They say a large segment of consumers either don’t have access to smartphones or won’t take the time to scan labels for the GMO information. But Deborah Arcoleo, director of product transparency with Hershey, says their research shows consumers will use the SmartLabel technology. “We did some research on probability of use, and for the general population the top two boxes—“extremely likely to use” and “very strongly likely to use”—were 72 percent,” Arcoleo says, “and that was consistent across age groups, racial groupings, households with and without children. So it was a pretty general number, that 72 percent.” The Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that within five years, more than 80 percent of the food, beverage, pet care, personal care and household products that consumers buy will be using SmartLabel technology. The option of providing biotech information via an electronic label was an important element in convincing food and agriculture groups to support the GMO labeling bill.

Farmed fish could solve pending population crisis, food experts say

USA Today | Posted on September 29, 2016

Farmed fish has gotten a bad rap, but it’s the only way the world is going to feed the additional 2.4  billion people expected to be added to the Earth’s population in the next 34 years, experts told a sustainable food conference.  With the world's arable land maxed out and wild seafood overfished, aquaculture is the one place we can look to produce enough animal protein for all those extra mouths, said Steve Gaines, a professor of marine biology at the University of California Santa Barbara and lead investigator for the university's sustainable fisheries group.

Ontario court could shut down raw milk distribution, promotion

Food Safety News | Posted on September 29, 2016

The outcome of a two-day hearing set for today and tomorrow in the Ontario Court of Justice at Newmarket may send raw milk drinkers in Canada down a more political road after years of fighting court battles. The hearing will determine if the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Health were correct in January when they filed applications for injunctions against Michael Schmidt, Elisa Vander Hout, Glencolton Farms, the Agriculture Renewal Coop, and any other Canadian who provides, distributes, or recommends raw milk. Speaking for herself and the Agricultural Renewal Coop, Vander Hout says if the applications for injunction are granted, the proceedings would take on the dynamic of “a proper trial.”

Wisconsin passes school food safety bill

Wisconsin School Nutrition Association | Posted on September 29, 2016

Gov. Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 37 into law as 2015 WI Act 46. The legislation -- know as the School Food Safety Bill -- was one of SNA-WI's top legislative priorities this year and was pursued to help equip school nutrition professionals with the necessary tools to enhance food safety and reduce the risk of food borne illness in Wisconsin schools. As you know, all licensed restaurants in Wisconsin must be operated by an individual who holds a certificate of food protection practices issued by the state. The new law (Act 46) championed by SNA-WI would simply extend that requirement to school nutrition programs. More specifically, Act 46 will ensure school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program will have at least one employee on staff who holds a valid food protection practices certificate. Food borne illnesses are preventable and incidents can be reduced with proper food safety education and training. Act 46 provides an easy, yet proven approach to promoting food safety and ensuring the safe storage, preparation, and serving of school meals.