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Food News

Milk producers’ group goes after ‘deceptive’ non-GMO labeling

edairynews | Posted on September 14, 2017

The National Milk Producers Federation’s “Peel Back the Label” campaign aims to combat “deceptive food labeling” from dairy brands like Dean Foods and Dannon — which have touted Non-GMO Project certification. NMPF President Jim Mulhern told Food Navigator that non-GMO sourcing methods are not more sustainable and that there are no safety benefits or nutritional differences from cows given conventional feed. He describes the companies as “playing upon food safety fears and misconceptions” in the report.“[M]y concern is that this kind of marketing threatens the use of technology that’s allowed farmers to use crop inputs that are much safer than what they were using 20 years ago,” Mulhern told Food Navigator. “You can reduce your fuel usage, make fewer trips to the field, do no-till farming, improve water quality and improve yield.”

FSMA:What You Need to Know About the FDA Regulation - Small Entity Compliance Guide

FDA | Posted on September 14, 2017

he FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA) directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the food regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to better protect public health by, among other things, adopting a modern, preventive, and risk-based approach to food safety. As a key element of the preventive approach to better protect public health, FDA published in the Federal Register the final rule entitled “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption" (the produce safety rule, or the rule) (80 FR 74354, November 27, 2015). The produce safety rule establishes, for the first time, science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for human consumption. The regulations are found at Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 112 (21 CFR part 112). The rule became effective on January 26, 2016, but compliance dates are staggered – see section II. F “When Do I Have to Comply with the Rule?” We have prepared this Small Entity Compliance Guide in accordance with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (Pub. Law 104-121). This guidance document is intended to assist small entities in complying with the rule set forth in 21 CFR Part 112 concerning Produce Safety. The rule is binding and has the full force and effect of law.

Is There Really Too Much Milk?

edairynews | Posted on September 12, 2017

Milk futures have taken a beating over the past month with prices experiencing very few days of higher closes. Technically, futures should be about ready to rebound in price retracing some of the losses experienced during that period of time.The bottom line is that there is just too much milk and product out there to warrant much higher prices. Yes, prices could increase to some extent and hopefully we will experience Class III futures back to $17.00 again before the end of the year, but there is significant lost ground to regain. Summer weather is now basically behind us and with it any impact from sustained hot weather. The next item on the horizon is holiday and end of the year demand. That certainly can reduce inventory and available fresh supply, but we much remember that milk continues to be produced every day and demand must exceed supply in order to reduce inventory. If the current trend remains intact, we will end this year with higher levels of cheese in inventory than last year. This would make it the fourth consecutive year of higher inventory at the end of the year for total cheese and the fifth consecutive year for American cheese.

Craft beer sales slow, and industry changes may be on the way

Capital Press | Posted on September 12, 2017

A bubble in Oregon’s revered craft beer industry? Sales have slowed and some breweries have closed, but the state Office of Economic Analysis isn’t going on a bender about it. Senior Economist Josh Lehner, who has written extensively about the economic impact of the state’s “alcohol cluster,” said it’s likely the industry is maturing. Some shakeout is not unexpected.In a post on the department website, Lehner said making good local beer, as breweries and brewpubs around the state do, is no longer enough to assure success.As craft beer sales slow, however, more breweries will struggle to retain market share, he said.“I do think the brewery closure rate will increase in the coming years,” Lehner reported. “It is likely to converge toward the rates seen in other industries.“Currently, the growing and largely successful beer industry is enticing even more breweries to enter,” he said. “Eventually this will lead to (over)saturation and for closures to rise as a result.”

Mouse study shows a high fat diet increases longevity, strength

Science Daily | Posted on September 12, 2017

As more people live into their 80s and 90s, researchers have delved into the issues of health and quality of life during aging. A recent mouse study sheds light on those questions by demonstrating that a high fat, or ketogenic, diet not only increases longevity, but improves physical strength.

The largest school district in the US just started offering free lunch for all 1.1 million students

Business Insider | Posted on September 12, 2017

The New York City Department of Education announced Wednesday that all public school students, regardless of family income, will receive free lunch. The program — called Free School Lunch For All — aligns with the start of the school year.

Maine law allowing local meat oversight is rebuffed by USDA

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on September 11, 2017

A new law in Maine allowing municipalities to regulate local food production and processing has prompted USDA to warn the state it will take over all meat and poultry inspections there unless the rule is fixed. Maine has five state-licensed facilities, 30 custom facilities, 51 small poultry processing facilities and 2,714 small retail processing facilities.

'Big Chicken': The Medical Mystery That Traced Back To Slaughterhouse Workers

NPR | Posted on September 11, 2017

Reimert Ravenholt, a physician at the Seattle Department of Public Health, was puzzled. It was the winter of 1956, and for weeks now, local doctors had been calling him, describing blue-collar men coming into their offices with hot, red rashes and swollen boils running up their arms. The men were feverish and in so much pain they had to stay home from work, sometimes for weeks. The puzzle was not what was afflicting them. That was easy to establish: It was Staphylococcus aureus, or staph, a common cause of skin infections. Ravenholt happened to have a lot of experience with staph. He was the health department's chief of communicable diseases, the person who recognized and tracked down outbreaks, and for the entire previous year, he had been dealing with a staph epidemic in Seattle's hospitals. The organism had infected 1,300 women immediately after they gave birth, and more than 4,000 newborn babies, killing 24 mothers and children. It was a dreadful episode.The thing that was keeping Ravenholt up at night now was not the cause of this apparent new outbreak: It was the victims. Medicine already knew that staph could spread rapidly through a hospital, carried unknowingly by health care workers as they went from patient to patient. But outside of hospitals, it was equally taken for granted that staph infections occurred individually and by happenstance. Unless there was an explicit health care connection — a shared nurse or doctor, a crib in a nursery shared by many other newborns — there was no reason to suppose two staph cases were linked. The men coming down with the bug, several a month for five months in a row, were not linked by any hospital or doctor, yet they all had the same pattern of lesions in the same places on their arms and hands.

What’s so bad about making food easier to produce?

Brooklyn Paper | Posted on September 11, 2017

The friend politely declined, which set Kennedy to thinking. His family drank conventional milk. Did that make him a dad who didn’t care about his kids’ safety, or the environment? That would be odd, since he was nominated for an Oscar for his film about a community garden blooming in South Central Los Angeles. So it’s not like he didn’t care about food, or farming, or bettering the world.It was fortuitous, then, that just as he was processing these ideas about how organic produce had become almost like a secret handshake among his “well-educated and well-intentioned” friends — something they all shared, and trusted — he was approached by the Institute of Food Technologists, a group of 18,000 food scientists. They wanted him to make a movie celebrating their 75th anniversary.The idea was to somehow illustrate the intersection of food and science. Eventually Kennedy and his fellow producer, Trace Sheehan, a Brooklynite, decided to delve into a single issue: GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. That is, plants where a geneticist has taken DNA from one organism and inserted it another to make a food easier to grow, or healthier, or hardier.Like Kennedy’s organic-only neighbor, many folks consider GMOs “Frankenfood.” The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart called G-M-O the three scariest letters in the language. With emotions running so high, Kennedy made sure he and Sheehan would have complete control over the movie. And then they started wading into the debate.What they found was a war.“People were losing their minds on both sides and I didn’t know that much about it,” said Kennedy. But as he began interviewing scientists, he realized one thing quickly. There’s a huge disconnect between the science world, which overwhelmingly believes that GMOs are safe, and the public, which does not.

Dairy producers say GMO-free labeling is 'fear based'

USA Today | Posted on September 7, 2017

A dairy-industry lobbying group has urged food companies to stop using labels such as “GMO-free” for marketing purposes, saying they have turned to "fear-based" labeling.The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, Va., says food manufacturers are raising fears about of things like genetically modified organism products, synthetic animal-growth hormones and high fructose corn syrup.In its “Peel Back the Label” campaign, the dairy industry trade group says nearly 70% of American consumers look to food labels when making purchase decisions, but that some of the information is misleading.For instance, one company has labeled its table salt as “GMO-free,” when it could never have been GMO in the first place because salt has no genes to modify.