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Food News

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on the Funding Awards to States for FDA FSMA Implementation

FDA | Posted on July 20, 2017

Our partnerships with states are especially critical when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, which are covered under FSMA’s produce safety rule. States have a long history of successfully working with their farming communities. That’s why we leverage relationships with state-based partners to achieve many of our goals. Today we’re announcing an additional step in these efforts. The FDA is awarding $30.9 million in funding to support 43 states in their continued efforts to help implement the produce safety rule. This is the largest allocation of funds to date, made available by the FDA to help state agencies support FSMA produce safety rule implementation and develop state-based produce safety programs. The availability of funding to states to support the produce safety rule was first announced in March 2016. Bids were open to all states and U.S. territories. In September 2016, we announced the awarding of $21.8 million to support 42 states with implementation of the produce safety rule. The $30.9 million we’re announcing today represents the second year of funding from the FDA to the states. Additional information on state awardees can be found here.


How do we market meat to Middle America?

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on July 19, 2017

It seems the cattle-beef business has changed little in the past 200 years, or has it?  I mean every other business seems to have changed.  Look at the communications business.  It has evolved beyond Alexander Graham Bell’s wildest imagination.  The iPhone didn’t arrive until 10 years ago, and now over 2 billion people world-wide have one.  Moreover, it’s a computer in their hand that is more powerful than the one that took Neil Armstrong to the moon. In fact, you can compare the beef industry’s maturation to Henry Ford’s Model T marketing when he told his customers that they could have their Model T painted in any color they wanted as long as it was black. If I am going to “lament” the lack of beef industry innovation, I must surely offer some of my thoughts on what I think can best serve our future.First, we must rid ourselves of the defensive, knee-jerk reactions to all things animal rights.  It’s tough, I know.  But, we must get proactive to point out the obvious lies of the animal rightists, and just as importantly if not more so, point to the positive aspects of cattle-beef production.  We are good at pointing the accusing finger of blame, but tepid in offering cogent alternatives.Second, we must begin a more vigorous program of beef’s nutritional value supported by scientific evidence.  Holy cow, the American Medical Association is now recommending hospitals take processed meat off menus.  Where is our response?


Domino's Celebrates Cow Appreciation Week with 50 Percent off Online Pizza Orders

PR Newswire | Posted on July 13, 2017

Domino's Pizza, the recognized world leader in pizza delivery and digital ordering platforms, realizes that Cow Appreciation Week may exist only in the minds of those who truly love cheese as much as we do, and that's OK. Domino's love of cheese runs deep – it takes thousands of cows and dairy farmers to offer the variety of cheeses that Domino's does. And now, Domino's is celebrating its appreciation of cows and all things dairy by offering customers 50 percent off menu-priced pizzas when ordered online, beginning today and running through Sunday, July 16.


EU launches new antimicrobial resistance action plan

Watt Ag Net | Posted on July 10, 2017

Among the key findings revealed was that the overall high level of multi-drug resistance of Salmonella found in Europe could be traced mainly to two serovars, namely S. Typhimurium and monophasic S. Typhimurium. With salmonellosis the second most commonly reported foodborne disease in the EU, the high level of resistance in some of the causal bacteria is cause for concern. However, the study also found microbiological resistance to ciprofloxacin – a first-line treatment to invasive salmonellosis infections in humans - was low in Salmonella species in fattening pigs (4.7 percent), pig meat (4.3 percent), and beef (2.5 percent).  For Salmonella, levels of resistance ranged from moderate to extremely high to tetracyclines and sulfonamides in fattening pigs, and generally lower in calves. Salmonella from pigs were less resistant to ciprofloxacin and nalidixic acid than those isolated in calves. There was no evidence of resistance to carbapenems in Salmonella from either species.


The dark side of Trump’s much-hyped China trade deal: It could literally make you sick

The Washington Post | Posted on July 8, 2017

The first known shipment of cooked chicken from China reached the United States last week, following a much-touted trade deal between the Trump administration and the Chinese government. But consumer groups and former food-safety officials are warning that the chicken could pose a public health risk, arguing that China has made only minor progress in overhauling a food safety regime that produced melamine-laced infant formula and deadly dog biscuits. Chicken from China will not be labeled, and a representative from Qingdao Nine-Alliance Group, the first exporter, did not specify the name brand it’s being sold under. The privately owned chicken company, one of the largest in China, already supplies markets in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Exports of poultry, largely chicken and duck, are expected to swell under the terms of a May trade deal that would send more U.S. beef to China and expand Chinese poultry sales into the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently proposed a rule allowing China not only to cook, but also raise and slaughter the birds that it ships here as chicken nuggets and flash-steamed duck breasts.


Egg prices are at a record low, and nobody’s buying cage-free

| Posted on July 8, 2017

Well it’s been a long two years, and our egg windfall is leading to the cheapest egg prices in at least a decade, according to a recent USDA report. This news is a sad trombone for cage-free egg producers, who’ve been having a tough time selling their higher-priced wares.  The CEO of Cal-Maine Foods—America’s largest egg producer—bemoaned the cage-free surplus at a conference in early June. According to Buzzfeed, CEO Dolph Baker said, “Right now, there is a much greater demand for commodity eggs at these low prices than there is for cage-free eggs.”  In essence, egg farmers are nervous that they’re making all the elaborate structural changes to abandon battery cages, only to have shoppers turn up their noses. “90% of consumers stand in front of the egg case, and they pick conventional caged eggs because they’re economical,” Chad Gregory, CEO of the egg industry’s lobbying group United Egg Producers, told BuzzFeed News. To further toss water on the cage-free parade, most consumers aren’t totally clear on what the concept really entails (see our in-depth look at this phenomenon from last year). If the average Joe is unwilling to shell out extra cash for what they think cage-free means (ie, idyllic, pastoral bliss), just imagine of how they’d feel if they had the whole picture.


Antibiotic resistance linked to common household disinfectant triclosan

Science Daily | Posted on July 6, 2017

Scientists have discovered a link between a major mechanism of antibiotic resistance and resistance to the disinfectant triclosan which is commonly found in domestic products.


Plant-based and meat-based proteins face off

Meat + Poultry | Posted on July 6, 2017

Steven Walton said he thought his daughter was a vegetarian, but she corrected him. She does not consider herself a vegetarian because she eats her mother’s meatballs whenever she visits.His daughter’s stance reflects a general attitude that people have, said Walton, general manager of HealthFocus International. People, especially those in the United States, do not wish to be labeled, which means a broader market may exist for plant-based protein beyond people who claim to be vegetarian, vegan or “flexitarian” (those who eat meat sparingly, such as once per week). “We love diets, but we do not claim that we are on a diet,” Walton said June 28 in Las Vegas during a presentation at IFT17, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition. “We love to dabble, but we are not a vegetarian.” Walton pointed to a 2016 U.S. study from HealthFocus International, St. Petersburg, Florida, showing 13 percent of respondents said they considered themselves vegetarians and 1 percent said they considered themselves vegan. He said while only 17 percent of Americans said they were eating a plant-based diet either exclusively or predominantly, another 60 percent said they were cutting back on meat-based products.So despite the low percentages for people claiming to be vegetarian or vegan, “plant-based eating is a game-changing trend,” he said.Instead of marketing heavily to vegetarians and vegans, food companies could promote plant-based protein products for the five reasons consumers in the Health Focus International study gave for eating protein: healthy diet, weight management, building muscle, increased energy and protein keeps them full for a longer time.


Upstate Niagara to buy Southern Tier cheese plant

Buffalo News | Posted on July 6, 2017

Buffalo-based Upstate Niagara Cooperative has agreed to buy Kraft Heinz's cheese plant in the Southern Tier, staving off the threat of a shutdown and saving a portion of its jobs.The deal for the plant in Campbell, in Steuben County, is expected to be completed within the next 30 to 60 days. The two companies said the deal guarantees at least 125 jobs will be kept at the Campbell plant, with that total expected to rise by 50 jobs within a year. The current headcount could not be obtained from a Kraft Heinz spokesman, but a notice the company filed with the state Labor Department in late May indicated the plant had 380 employees.The plant produces Polly-O string cheese, mozzarella cheese and other Italian cheese varieties, according to the notice filed with the state.


Maine’s new food sovereignty law puts local control over local foods

Bangor Daily News | Posted on July 5, 2017

Proponents of food sovereignty in Maine hope a new law, based on exchanging locally produced and grown food, will bring back some of that community-based commerce. On June 16 Gov. Paul LePage signed LD 725, An Act to Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems, June 16, legitimizing the authority of towns and communities to enact ordinances regulating local food distribution free from state regulatory control.“This is huge,” said Heather Retberg, who has helped craft ordinance language. “Historically this is how many people have always exchanged food, especially in rural areas.”Under the new law, any town or municipality in Maine may now adopt an ordinance allowing food producers to sell their products directly to consumers free from state regulations or licenses.“This law and the ordinance are not intended to create a retail market that simply circumvents the rules of food safety,” Richard Loring King, Maine food sovereignty advocate, said. “It’s to rejuvenate traditional local foodways where communities provided for themselves in an atmosphere of trust, not unlike having friends over to share a meal.”For a great many of Maine’s rural small farmers and poultry producers who operate out of roadside stand or directly from their farms, the new law does not change how they do business, as they are already free from state inspections.The real changes involve those who sell meat or dairy products, Retberg said, which are highly regulated by the state.


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