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FDA Removes 7 Synthetic Flavoring Substances from Food Additives List

FDA | Posted on October 18, 2018

The FDA is amending its food additive regulations in response to two food additive petitions, to no longer allow for the use of a total of 7 synthetic flavoring substances and flavor enhancers (adjuvants). The FDA determined that the data presented in one of the petitions submitted to the FDA by Breast Cancer Fund, Center for Environmental Health, Center for Food Safety, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumers Union, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Working Group, Improving Kids’ Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, and Mr. James Huff show that 6 of these synthetic substances caused cancer in laboratory animals under the conditions of the studies. The seventh synthetic flavor is being de-listed because it is no longer used by industry.The 6 flavoring substances include synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. These substances are being removed from the food additive regulations under the Delaney Clause of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) (section 409(c)(3) of the FD&C Act). This clause, enacted in 1958, requires that the FDA cannot find as safe; i.e., cannot approve, the use of any food additive that has been found to induce cancer in humans or animals at any dose.


Beyond Meat vegan food company taps investment banks for IPO

CNBC | Posted on October 18, 2018

Beyond Meat has hired J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse for an initial public offering, people familiar with the matter tell CNBC. The IPO will be the first public stock offering for one of the slew of new companies that make vegetarian meat products that also appeal to carnivores.It's current investors include Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio Jack & Suzy Welch, Kleiner Perkins and Tyson Foods.


Homeland security dog intercepts roasted pig head at international airport

ABC | Posted on October 17, 2018

A passenger traveling from Ecuador was relieved of leftovers when an intrepid beagle found a roasted pig's head in baggage at the world's busiest airport. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the Agriculture Detector dog named Hardy alerted to the baggage at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Oct. 11. CBP agriculture specialists then discovered a 2-pound cooked pig's head, which was seized and destroyed.


Natural Resource Defense Council fails most fast food chains on antibiotics

Eco Watch | Posted on October 17, 2018

Right now, many burger chains are putting burger lovers in a bind. If they want to eat meat raised with responsible antibiotic use practices, chicken is the best choice at many mainstream chains. But if we are to make headway on antibiotic resistance crisis, the beef (and pork) industry must be part of the solution.


Edible cottonseed review shifts to FDA

Politico | Posted on October 17, 2018

Cottonseed could become a high-protein food option, providing a boon to cotton growers, if FDA signs off on a new genetically engineered variety. Traditional cottonseed is toxic for humans and most animals because it contains a poisonous substance called gossypol. But a team of ag scientists at Texas A&M developed a type of cottonseed that contains very low levels of gossypol, making it edible for humans — and creating the possibility that the tree nut could help address global malnutrition. USDA green-lighted the biotechnology on Tuesday. It determined the GE variety does not pose a plant-pest risk to crops or other plants, Pro Ag’s Liz Crampton reports. The next step for Texas A&M researchers, backed by funding from Cotton Incorporated, is to finish consulting with FDA. If the agency determines the GE cottonseed is safe to eat, it could hit the commercial market in the form of products like chips, protein powder and flour.Developers of the cottonseed — which, BTW, supposedly tastes like hummus — are expecting FDA’s decision early next year. They can volunteer to present a safety assessment to the agency that takes into account factors such as comparing nutrient levels in the new GE plant with traditionally bred plants, or whether the altered variety could trigger allergic reactions. FDA would then evaluate the assessment to determine whether the new food complies with the law.


Trump team makes controversial change to allow chicken plants to operate at faster speeds

Washington Post | Posted on October 17, 2018

The Trump administration is now allowing more chicken-processing plants to operate at faster speeds, a controversial move that some fear will hurt workers and chicken consumers by lowering safety standards. Plants that receive a waiver from the Trump administration will be able to process up to 175 birds per minute, up from the old limit of 140 birds per minute. The administration recently published new criteria spelling out what it would take to get a waiver.The National Chicken Council, which represents the poultry industry, praised the move and noted that each individual plant must meet stringent criteria to obtain a waiver. But labor, consumer and animal rights groups decried the change as a capitulation to big business that will open the floodgates to most of the nation’s more than 200 poultry-processing plants operating at the faster rate.The move comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s push to eliminate speed limits entirely in the pork-processing industry and at a time when the United States has an abundance of chicken in grocery stores and warehouses. Foreign buyers, especially China and Mexico, have slowed U.S. meat purchases as Trump’s trade war escalates. The result is that chicken sitting in cold-storage warehouses is at its highest level since 2006, and domestic prices of boneless chicken breasts have slumped in recent months, according to U.S. Agriculture Department data.


Compound in Cow’s Milk May Help Kill Malignant Mesothelioma Cells

Mesothelioma.net | Posted on October 11, 2018

When you were a kid and your mother told you to drink your milk, you probably never dreamed that the white stuff you poured over your cereal might hold the key to curing malignant mesothelioma. Though it would definitely be a stretch to think that drinking more cow’s milk could eradicate the asbestos-related disease, as so often turns out to be true, there’s a grain of truth to what mom always said. Researchers from Australia have determined that a compound in cow’s milk might be used to kill mesothelioma cells that have proven resistant to more traditional cancer-killing methods, and particularly chemotherapy. The mesothelioma-killing compounds are known as BLAGLET and BAMLET: they are derived from a lipid called oleic acid and either alpha or beta-lactalbumin. These protein-lipid complexes are found in cow’s milk — the beta lactoglobulin is a whey protein while alpha lactoglobulin controls lactose production in mammals. Researchers from the University of Sydney say they can seek out and trigger cancer cell death while leaving healthy cells unscathed.


DHS gets in the weeds on cyber threats to agriculture

FCW | Posted on October 10, 2018

DHS' Threats to Precision Agriculture report looks at cyber vulnerabilities in embedded and connected technologies that harness remote sensing, global positioning systems and communication systems to generate big data, data analytics and machine learning to manage crops and livestock. Cyber threats to the agricultural infrastructure are consistent with other connected industries, said DHS, but given farming's mechanized history, those threats are not well understood or treated seriously enough.The security threats to precision agriculture range from simple data theft, to market manipulations, destruction of equipment, or even a national security concern, according to the report.


Regulators face food fight over lab-grown meat

Washington Examiner | Posted on October 10, 2018

A food fight has been brewing over how the government should regulate animal tissue grown in labs. The prospect of lab-grown tissue has raised the hopes of animal welfare and environmental groups because it is created without slaughter and meant to substitute for traditional pork, beef, chicken, and fish. But divisions have emerged between the traditional meat industry, who are imploring the government to set rules out of concern for their own industry, and the companies creating the lab-grown foods, who fear that regulation could prevent their products from reaching consumers.Safety regulations have yet to be issued, but they are likely to include standards about how to grow the tissue, how to sign off on its safety, and how to label it in a way that consumers know what they're buying.


Danny Meyer Just Made a Big Investment in Food Delivery

Grub Street | Posted on October 10, 2018

Danny Meyer wants to be your delivery man. His private-equity fund Enlightened Hospitality Investments has led a new funding round into Goldbelly, the online food market that brings local specialties to a national audience. Following the success of Shake Shack, Meyer — once a neighborhood restaurateur who didn’t even stray far from Union Square — has been busy investing in food businesses like Los Angeles chain Tender Greens and Portland ice-cream maker Salt & Straw.Goldbelly is a one-stop resource for American regional foods that smartly capitalizes on people’s food obsessions. It provides a platform for some 350 producers, giving consumers access to foods like Prince’s hot chicken, Central Grocery’s muffulettas, O&H Danish Bakery’s kringles, and Roberta’s pizza. The internet has, by and large, done a number on retail, contributing in New York to a significant rise in retail vacancies. The shift toward online shopping will keep going so long as there’s the internet, and it makes sense that Meyer would invest in this particular delivery platform.


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