In a region that takes food seriously, feral hogs are despised as destructive, but their rich, dark meat is winning fans among Louisiana chefs. A small slaughterhouse is butchering the wild pigs , which cause the state $76 million-plus in annual damage, and selling sausage to grocery stores and meat to restaurants, where chefs are turning it into savory prosciutto, chorizo and meatballs."To me, it is the most interesting thing I have seen in years," said Rene Bajeux, executive chef for the Palace Cafe and three other Dickie Brennan & Co. restaurants in New Orleans. "It is good for everything — good for business, good for cooking, good for the ecology, good for everything. Those bad beasts are a good treat."Springfield Slaughter House 's main business is butchering wild boar, which otherwise would be gobbling crops, competing with local wildlife and ripping up levees, fragile wetlands and other green spaces.Feral hogs probably do more than $1.5 billion damage nationwide each year, according to the USDA, and the problem is only getting bigger: from 1982 to 2012, the invasive species spread from 17 states to 36. Owner Charlie Munford got into the wild hog business in 2015. He'd been working with farmers, slaughterhouses and chefs to provide local beef, lamb, pork and goat to restaurants when he bought the slaughterhouse about 40 miles northwest of New Orleans in 2014.Hunters have to bring the hogs, weighing in at 90 to 300 pounds, to Munford's slaughterhouse alive so they can be inspected before slaughtering. Munford estimates he's killed about 1,000 over the past year.But one small slaughterhouse can take only a bite out of the estimated 600,000 feral swine in Louisiana: Authorities say 70 percent of the population would have to be killed each year just to keep the numbers from growing.
Flour milled from discarded coffee fruit. Chips made from juice pulp. Vodka distilled from strawberries that nobody seems to want. At one point not so long ago, such waste-based products were novelties for the Whole Foods set. But in the past three years, there’s been an explosion in the number of start-ups making products from food waste, according to a new industry census by the nonprofit coalition ReFED.The report, which was released Tuesday and tracks a number of trends across the food-waste diversion industry, found that only 11 such companies existed in 2011. By 2013, that number had doubled, and ReFED now logs 64 established companies selling ugly-fruit jam, stale-bread beer, and other “upcycled” food products.The companies have diverted thousands of pounds of food waste from landfills, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. They’ve also become a model for larger, multinational food companies, which are starting to realize that upcycling peels and piths can be good business.“What was once considered 'waste' — or an accepted cost of doing business — is now seen as an asset and revenue generator,” said Chris Cochran, the executive director of ReFED. “As companies begin to track, measure, and understand food loss and waste, the economics of food waste solutions begin to look a lot more attractive.”
There's a butter war breaking out in America's dairy aisle. A lawsuit has surfaced after talks allegedly soured between Dublin-based co-operative Ornua, the owner of the popular Kerrygold brand, and Wisconsin-based Old World Creamery to develop an Irish-made butter that could be sold in Wisconsin.The case stems from a protectionist law in the state of Wisconsin that essentially bans all butters produced from outside of the United States. The decades-old law has required federal or state graders to sign off on butter brands sold within the state. Kerrygold, however, is graded in the brand's home country of Ireland. Retailers can be fined if they opt to sell Kerrygold in defiance of the law.But Old World Creamery last week announced plans to start selling and marketing a similar-sounding Irishgold butter from Ireland this month within the state. As the Associated Press reported recently, Old World Creamery is tiptoeing around the law by importing Irishgold butter from Ireland, processing and packaging it stateside, and then having state-licensed butter graders rate it in Wisconsin. That would allow Irishgold to be sold legally in the state.
Should brands making dairy products from cows that may have consumed GM feed be allowed to market their wares as ‘all natural’? Absolutely, insisted Dannon in court papers filed this week urging the judge to dismiss the “daisy-chained” logic of a false advertising lawsuit filed in New York.
A national physicians group filed a lawsuit Wednesday against two California school districts seeking to stop them from serving processed meats to students because of research linking the foods to colorectal cancer. The nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine said serving foods such as hot dogs, pepperoni and luncheon meat violates California’s Education Code, which mandates school lunches be of the “highest quality” and “greatest nutritional value possible.”
A dietitian who heads the Sugar Association says her experience in defending potatoes from critics’ attacks will come in handy in improving perceptions about sugar. As a former staff member with the consulting firm Food Minds, Gaine assisted the National Potato Council in reversing restrictions on potatoes in the national school lunch program and in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. Gaine said she helped to “package” the narrative that potatoes aren’t just empty carbohydrates, but deliver crucial fiber and potassium.Gaine said current restrictions could also lead to unintended nutritional consequences by ignoring facts, including that sugar makes healthy foods more palatable. For example, new research for the association finds just 3 calories of sugar is sufficient to mask the bitterness of kale.Both spuds and sugar have been “villainized” by observational studies without cause-and-effect relationships, she said.“The potato folks are probably five years ahead of us, and they’ve done the right things. They’ve had some round tables and had some publications that are important and are working on educating the policymakers at USDA,” Gaine said. “It definitely should be a model of how we look to dispel some of the myths around our product.”
Much attention has been paid to flying delivery robot prototypes from Amazon and Google, but a San Francisco startup called Marble just released a product that — while a bit less futuristic — could turn out to win the robot delivery wars. Marble has built a fleet of slow-rolling, washing-machine-size robots that are now doing food deliveries in San Francisco’s Mission District. The robots do the same job as human delivery people: They roll to a restaurant, pick up the food, and then roll along sidewalks to the customer. When the robot pulls up in front of the delivery address, the customer enters a PIN to open the robot’s cargo area and take out the food. The technology is still very much a work in progress. Initially, Marble will send a human minder to walk alongside the robot, eliminating any potential cost savings from this approach. The robots are also monitored at all times by a remote operator who follows along via video camera. Plus, the robot is rather bulky — if these become commonplace, it’s easy to imagine sidewalks being clogged with delivery robots.
The Montana Senate killed a measure to allow the sale of raw milk within the state. After more than two hours of debate Tuesday, senators voted down HB 325 by a 28-22 vote. It had passed the House last month with a 69-30 vote. The bill would have allowed cattle, goat or sheep ranchers to sell raw milk and related products directly to consumers or through agricultural shares where people pay an upfront cost in exchange for regular deliveries of goods. Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton, carried the bill this year and in 2015.The debate largely focused on concerns about the safety of drinking unpasteurized milk that state and federal health officials have long said can cause illness or death, particularly among children, pregnant women or the elderly because of weak immune systems. Federal law bans the sale of raw milk across state borders, but a little over a two dozen states have legalized the sale in some form.
However, as consumers continue to demand more value from their food, many fast food companies have been trying to meet expectations for social responsibility in the products they offer. McDonald’s, for example, now aims to “make sustainability the new normal” for their business practices. As an industry giant, the corporation is consistently at risk of criticism for contributing to human health problems, such as obesity because of their menu offerings. The company has also recently experienced the fallout of criticism over animal treatment at farms that supply to them and over worker wages. Of the restaurants studied, Panera Bread was ranked as most socially responsible, followed by Subway and Chick-fil-A. Over 60% of people participating ate fast food one or more times per month. McDonald’s, KFC, and Taco Bell were perceived to be the least socially responsible of the fast food restaurants studied. Surprisingly, there were few significant correlations between how frequently people visited fast food chains and their social responsibility rankings. While it might seem counterintuitive to study public perceptions of social responsibility in relation to consumption of fast food, this research underscores that even when it might seem minimally relevant, people are evaluating the value and merits of companies involved in food production and distribution. It also suggests the benefits of marketing geared toward educating consumers as a way of both informing consumer decision-making and potentially creating public goodwill towards a brand.
Food label claims have become about as rare as air molecules. Seemingly, every food item in the grocery store is either free range, free run, humanely raised, organic, GMO-free and of course, gluten-free. But a label officially launched in March and now on the market might generate more controversy than any of the previous claims.Yesterday, Leaf & Love Lemonade, made by a California company, became the first product in America to be certified as “Glyphosate Residue Free.”