East of Athens, in Marathon County, Joseph Zaiger's herd of about 40 cows produces a type of milk that could shake up the dairy industry. It's like conventional milk but doesn't have a beta-casein protein that some studies have said makes milk less digestible, almost intolerable, for a large number of people. That is different from the condition known as lactose intolerance, which Zaiger's milk doesn't help. The technical term is "A1 beta-casein free," meaning the milk from Zaiger's Clover Meadows farm lacks that particular protein found in most milk. This isn't genetic modification; rather it's a process of breeding cows with the desired trait or finding them in a regular herd.
Northeast dairy farmers who have been strapped for months by low milk prices say a voluntary insurance program that was supposed to be a safety net isn’t helping. The margin protection program provides financial assistance to enrolled farmers when the gap between the price of milk and national average feed costs falls below the coverage levels picked by individual farmers. “It’s a complete failure,” said Les Pike, of Keewaydin Farm in Stowe, Vermont, which has been losing money for months. “If it doesn’t pay in a year like this, it’s completely useless.” Farmers say the margin protection program is not based on Northeast farmers’ feed costs but on the national average feed cost, which is less. The chairman of the National Milk Producers Federation testified in Washington last month that the program needs improvements. Randy Mooney, who is also a Missouri dairy farmer, said the formula for calculating feed costs was changed and no longer reflects the true cost of feeding a herd while the insurance premiums for farmers were not reduced.
Kentucky Mist Moonshine - an upscale distillery that sells fruit-infused moonshine in Whitesburg, KY, has spent 8 months in a trademark dispute with the University of Kentucky over who owns the rights to the name "Kentucky". UK trademaked the name Kentucky in 1997 for use on clothing. Judge Danny Reeves accepted that the university was immune to being sued and Kentucky Mist can not trademark his business name.
Four mothers whose children have food allergies raised $10 million to get the project started.
FDA director says the percentage of in-house environmental samples that are positive for SE has declined, but the rate of human illnesses attributed to eggs hasn’t improved. Out of 1,355 FDA inspections of U.S. registered egg farms, only 10 farms received warning letters from the agency. Unfortunately, just as the reduced percentage of Salmonella-positive broiler carcasses after chilling hasn’t seemed to reduce human cases of Salmonellosis, neither has the reduction in SE contamination on layer farms.
Oyster boat captains last year thought they were suffering through one of the worst years in decades for the Texas oyster industry as freshwater from heavy rains flooded Galveston Bay and killed oysters. This year is turning out to be much worse. Galveston County Judge Mark Henry on Tuesday issued a disaster declaration for the Galveston Bay oyster industry, but the problem is not restricted to Galveston Bay. Persistent downpours throughout eastern Texas are swamping oyster beds with deadly freshwater all along the Texas Gulf Coast. The surge of oyster-killing freshwater for the second straight year is the latest in a series of setbacks for the Texas oyster industry, which supplies about 30 percent of all oysters harvested in the Gulf of Mexico.
Philadelphia became the first major American city with a soda tax despite a multi-million dollar campaign by the beverage industry to block it. The City Council gave final approval to a 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary and diet beverages.
Out of 1,355 FDA inspections of U.S. registered egg farms, only 10 farms received warning letters from the agency, John Sheehan, director, division of dairy, egg and meat safety, CFSAN, FDA, reported. “We think that this is a very good result,” he said.Sheehan said environmental samples were taken by FDA inspectors on 235 egg farms and only 3 percent of these were found to be positive for Salmonella enteridis. He explained that samples were taken on “targeted inspections.” So this result represents significant improvement when compared with prior published incidence rates of 8 to 9 percent gathered prior to the Egg Safety Rule’s implementation in 2010. Unfortunately, just as the reduced percentage of Salmonella-positive broiler carcasses after chilling hasn’t seemed to reduce human cases of Salmonellosis, neither has the reduction in SE contamination on layer farms.
Living Ocean Productions has posted a new film “The Working Waterfront” — which aims to educate consumers about the current status of aquaculture in the United States — on YouTube. The 25-minute video looks at four fish farms in different areas of the US. The farmers discuss several topics including the challenges to growing a robust US-based aquaculture community. Over 90% of the seafood Americans eat is imported from overseas, and half of that amount is from aquaculture. Lack of a consistent permitting processes and an outdated perception of aquaculture are cited as obstacles to increasing the supply of locally grown fish and seafood, the video’s producers said in a press release.
A new study reveals the full extent of globalization in the world's food supply. The researchers put together a series of interactives that visualize the results. The idea that crop plants have centers of origin, where they were originally domesticated, goes back to the 1920s and the great Russian plant explorer Nikolai Vavilov. He reasoned that the region where a crop had been domesticated would be marked by the greatest diversity of that crop, because farmers there would have been selecting different types for the longest time. Diversity, along with the presence of that crop's wild relatives, marked the center of origin.