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Lean finely textured beef reclassified as ‘ground beef’

Meating Place (free registration required) | Posted on January 2, 2019

he ultra-lean beef product made primarily by Beef Products Inc., which has been called out on labels on a voluntary basis since 2012 as “lean finely textured beef,” has been reclassified by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service as simply “ground beef.” “We're not producing LFTB anymore. We're producing ground beef from this point on,” said Craig Letch, BPI’s vice president of sales and marketing, in an interview with Meatingplace about the agency’s move. “Even our traditional customer base, whom we've been supplying lean meat to, they now will be receiving ground beef from us rather than ‘LFTB’.” The decision comes at the end of a six- to nine-month review by FSIS across multiple departments, said Letch and Nick Roth, BPI’s vice president of engineering. The process included a consumer panel comparing samples of BPI’s lean beef product alone to commercially available ground beef purchased at retail.

Burgers Must Be Meat, Ranchers Say

Pew Trust | Posted on December 24, 2018

Food labels such as “veggie burgers” and “Tofurky” prompted a new Missouri law making it illegal to stick meat-like names on products that aren’t made from meat — pitting cattlemen against vegetarians in a food fight poised to spread across the country. The battle is heating up as new foods flood the market, from vegetarian items that emulate animal proteins to soon-to-come lab-produced meat that never saw the inside of a barn and makes ranchers fear for their livelihoods.Even though the Missouri law is being challenged in court, a handful of other cattle-raising states, including Iowa and Montana, see it as a precedent they may want to follow. And there is precedent for state food-labeling laws leading the way for U.S. regulations. A Vermont law requiring labeling of genetically modified foods took effect in 2016, and several other states followed suit. But Congress overrode Vermont’s requirements by passing a nationwide GMO labeling law, which critics argue is weaker than the state law.

Oat Milk Prices Are Surging Due to a Nationwide Shortage

Cooking Light | Posted on December 20, 2018

Out of all the alternative milks on the market, oat milk may be the hardest to find right now—and if you do find it, be ready to cough up some serious cash. The United States is currently experiencing a national oat milk shortage, according to a new Eater report, and Amazon sellers are taking advantage of the current imbalance in supply and demand. Cases of Oatlyoat milk are currently selling for upwards of $200 per case, (which adds up to about $16.50 for a 32-ounce carton) compared to its usual price of $4.99.

Premium A2 Guernsey milk brand building

Edairy News | Posted on December 20, 2018

The brainchild of Cleveland-based Adrian Bota, the Origin brand​ ​– launched in early 2016 – sources 100% certified a2 milk from Guernsey cows that produce milk containing only the a2 beta casein protein. But Origin does not make any hard claims about a2 milk on pack, and instead focuses on the fact that its Guernsey milk is locally sourced, tastes incredible, and has a distinct nutritional profile, Bota told FoodNavigator-USA.“It’s the best taste, the best nutrition, with more fat​ [c.5% milk fat], protein​ [c.12% more], calcium​ [c.15% more], and vitamins A and D than regular milk, and it’s rich and creamy. Oh, and if you have digestive discomfort when you drink regular milk you might want to try it for that reason, but we have a lot more going for us that just that.”​ It’s still early days, but the plan is to build a network of farms and milk processors around the country to supply and process 100% certified a2 milk from Guernsey cows into Origin branded dairy products, which are already gaining a loyal following in Ohio, and are now expanding into other markets including New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. in chains including MOM’s Organic Market and The West Side Market, as well as high-end coffee shops and some schools.Asked about the branding, he said: “We want to connect with the consumer in a kind of vintage way with a modern twist. Our #1 consumers are 30-something, 40-something Moms who have grown up with the local, natural and organic food movement and care about high quality local food for themselves and their families.​“But our #2 consumers are people over 50 or 60 that remember what milk used to taste like. When we demo this product in stores, people say I just love this milk and it takes me back.”​

Lack of farm labor could make fruits, vegetables unaffordable

USA Today | Posted on November 22, 2018

My farm's fresh strawberries are available at reasonable prices all year because of foreign labor. But immigration rules could put farms in the lurch.As a third-generation family farmer with decades of experience, I’ve spent years grappling with the impact of this worker shortage.I grow strawberries. This April, at the beginning of peak harvest season, I didn’t have enough workers to pick all the ripe berries before they rotted in the fields. In a single month, I lost $500,000.When I first entered the strawberry business in the 1970s, the fruit was considered a luxury item. In the winter, we’d sell them to New York City vendors for the equivalent of nearly $200 a box today. If you wanted to bake a pie with fresh fruit, you had to wait until the early summer harvest. Today, fresh strawberries are readily available and reasonably priced in grocery stores year-round because farms like my own are growing more fruit.The United States already imports more than half of the fresh fruits and almost a third of fresh vegetables that Americans eat. This is happening because the demand for fresh produce has been steadily increasing, while the number of people willing to work on farms has plummeted.

FDA extends milk labeling comment period

FDA | Posted on November 22, 2018

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is extending by 60 days, until January 28, 2019, the comment period on the request for information on labeling plant-based products with names that include the names of dairy foods, such as “milk,” “yogurt,” and “cheese.” The original comment period was scheduled to end on November 27. The agency is taking this action in response to requests for additional time to submit comments. FDA believes that the extension will allow adequate time for interested persons to provide input without significantly delaying any potential further action on these important issues.The FDA is announcing the extension in the Federal Register.

Trade deal between Mexico, European Union creates stink for U.S. cheese makers

USA Today | Posted on November 22, 2018

In Mexico, asiago cheese can no longer be labeled and sold as asiago unless it comes from the alpine region of northern Italy where the mild, nutty-flavored formaggio originated. The labeling restrictions are part of a new trade deal that Mexico signed in April with the European Union – one of several trade pacts that countries around the globe have been pursuing with each other, often with ramifications for U.S. companies.Other nations have been driven to form their own trade pacts in part, analysts say, because of the Trump administration’s focus on slapping tariffs on imports and updating a 25-year-old agreement with Canada and Mexico instead of negotiating new deals that would expand markets for U.S. goods.The European Union has been particularly aggressive – signing new deals with Mexico and Canada, finalizing another agreement with Japan and announcing plans to hold separate talks with Australia and China. But other countries also are pursuing deals of their own.“Most of these countries continue to view trade as beneficial to their economic growth, to job creation and to attract direct foreign investment,” said Wendy Cutler, a top official in the U.S. Trade Representative’s office under President Barack Obama.But many also “are trying to reduce their dependence on the United States now, viewing the U.S. as an unreliable trading partner,” she said.Trade deals that exclude the U.S. can still have costly consequences for U.S. companies. Hence, the asiago imbroglio.

Bockchain lets you learn about farms where Thanksgiving turkeys came from

Chicago Tribune | Posted on November 21, 2018

Visiting the family farm, which still uses 1960s-era technology in its plant, is a decidedly old-school way for people to learn more about where their Thanksgiving meal comes from. But many people don’t have the time or stomach for the on-the-farm experience. For those who don’t, there are an increasing number of options. One of the nation’s largest turkey producers is experimenting with using cutting-edge blockchain technology to connect shoppers with farmers even before they leave the grocery store.Cargill, which produces about a quarter of all turkeys consumed during the holidays in the U.S., recently expanded a program it piloted last year that allows shoppers to trace their turkey to the family farm where it was raised. Select Jewel-Osco and Walmart stores in Chicago are among the 3,500 retail locations nationwide where the traceable turkeys are available, the company said. About 200,000 of Cargill’s Honeysuckle White brand turkeys have codes on their packaging that consumers can use — via text message or on the Honeysuckle White Web site — to learn more about the farm, including its history, how it treats its birds or family Thanksgiving recipes. Seventy farms in Missouri and Texas, out of the 700 farms that Cargill contracts with, are participating.

Draft EPA study finds newer nonstick compound may be harmful

AP | Posted on November 21, 2018

Long-term exposure to a chemical compound currently used for making nonstick coatings appears to be dangerous, even in minute amounts, according to draft findings released Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency. It was the first time EPA weighed in on newer, supposedly safer versions of an increasingly scrutinized family of stick- and stain-resistant compounds. Older versions of the compound are turning up in dangerous levels in drinking water supplies around the country.Drinking water contamination has been the main concern cited by public health officials and regulators in connection with the compounds, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalyl substances, or PFAS.The EPA findings said animal studies show the so-called GenX nonstick compound has the potential of affecting the kidneys, blood, immune system, liver and developing fetuses following oral exposure. “The data are suggestive of cancer,” the draft report said.Concern over GenX, used in Teflon and other materials, has been strongest in North Carolina. Authorities have found it in water supplies serving hundreds of thousands of people downstream of a Chemours Co. plant that makes it outside Fayetteville.Wednesday’s draft findings suggest chronic exposure to GenX is dangerous at levels as low as a few hundred parts per trillion, Ferguson said. Two older versions from the same family of compounds — taken out of manufacturing in the United States — have been found to be dangerous at less than a hundred parts per trillion.

Petco drops pet foods, treats with artificial ingredients

Pet Food Industry | Posted on November 18, 2018

Petco announced it will not sell dog or cat food and treats containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives by May 2019.