Skip to content Skip to navigation

Food News

Amid GMO Strife, Food Industry Vies For Public Trust In CRISPR Technology

NPR | Posted on October 25, 2017

There's a genetic technology that scientists are eager to apply to food, touting its possibilities for things like mushrooms that don't brown and pigs that are resistant to deadly diseases. And food industry groups, still reeling from widespread protests against genetically engineered corn and soybeans (aka GMOs) that have made it difficult to get genetically engineered food to grocery store shelves, are looking to influence public opinion.The technology is called Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, or CRISPR. It's a technique that Alison Van Eenennaam, an animal genetics professor at University of California, Davis, says can de-activate a gene. Or, as she puts it: "It's editing. It's like going into a Word document and basically replacing one letter, maybe that instead of 'wind,' you want it to say 'wine,' " she says.


Florida pays $437,000 in dispute over skim milk

edairynews | Posted on October 25, 2017

No sense in crying over spilled milk, but what about $437,000 in legal fees? Florida’s paying that amount to the attorneys of Ocheesee Creamery, which is about 50 miles west of Tallahassee. State officials under Adam Putnam’s Department of Agriculture had pushed to label the dairy’s skim milk as imitation, because vitamins aren’t added to it, according to the Associated Press.The state defines skim milk as having Vitamin A. Ocheesee, an all-natural dairy that doesn’t add ingredients to natural products, objected.Florida taxpayers have paid more than $20 million since 2011 to cover expenses for lawyers who have sued the state.


Eataly’s Massive Food Theme Park Opens This November

Eater | Posted on October 25, 2017

The countdown to the opening of Eataly’s massive food theme park begins. Fico Eataly World, which promises to be the “world’s largest agri-food park,” according to a press release, will open on November 15 in Bologna, Italy. Like the Eataly markets in New York, Dubai, and Boston, the Bologna complex will include Italian restaurants and Italian products. But, Fico Eataly World will go beyond simply selling Italy’s wares to cover the entire breadth of the country’s culinary landscape, “from the field to the fork.” Essentially, it’s the Disney World of Italian food.The park will be enormous, encompassing more than 20 acres in Bologna. These acres of fields and farmland will include 40 farming factories where visitors can see how farmers process meat, cheese, pasta, and other Italian goods; 40 restaurants and refreshment stations; and, to further Disney World comparisons, six “educational rides.” The park will also host daily classes and events and Eataly expects it to become a destination for conferences.


Smithfield to sell pork on line in China

Meat + Poultry | Posted on October 25, 2017

JD.com’s exclusive products will include bone-in cuts and variety meats, with a focus on small packaged frozen products. Smithfield specializes in these products and they are the types of products in high demand in China.


New Report Illustrates Why USDA Must Not Allow Chinese Poultry or Brazilian Fresh Meat Imports

Common Dreams | Posted on October 25, 2017

In an audit released October 13, the USDA’s Office of the Inspector General once again found that the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) inadequate oversight of imported meat and poultry is putting U.S. consumers at risk. FSIS is supposed to determine whether countries that export meat, poultry, egg products or catfish have a regulatory system that can meet the standards required in the United States. However, the OIG audit reveals that FSIS is not doing enough oversight of the process used to determine which countries have “equivalent” food safety systems. “This report shows why we must not allow imports of Chinese poultry or Brazilian fresh meat,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “USDA must fix its oversight system so it can keep potentially dangerous food imports off of our shelves.” The audit states, “without more robust controls over ongoing equivalence evaluations of foreign countries’ food safety systems, we concluded that FSIS’ inspection program is vulnerable to weaknesses that increase the risk of adulterated or unsafe meat, poultry, or egg products being imported into the United States.” The OIG found that FSIS fails to conduct audits of other countries’ food safety systems in a consistent, timely manner and that FSIS is not able to adequately monitor which facilities in exporting countries are eligible to send product to the U.S. The OIG also found that FSIS failed to address recommendations made in previous audits of this program about how it conducts audits of other countries’ food safety systems.


Legislation compliance costs European egg sector dearly

Watt Ag Net | Posted on October 23, 2017

Complying with European Union legislation adds, on average, an extra 16 percent to the cost of egg production in Europe, a new study reveals. These additional costs of egg production at the farm level directly relate to European legislation on animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety, according to new research from the Economic Research Institute (LEI) of Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Most of the additional cost arises from the minimum 750 square centimeter space allowance per bird in enriched cages in the EU.


Feds trying to seize raw camel milk suspected in interstate case

Food Safety News | Posted on October 23, 2017

Federal officials are attempting to seize more than $70,000 in raw camel milk products stored in a warehouse in Kansas City, KS, including some bearing labels from a Missouri dairy, because they were allegedly shipped in interstate commerce in violation of federal law. In an action filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, KS, the Department of Justice states that inspectors from the Food and Drug Administration estimate about 4,300 8- and 16-ounce bottles of frozen camel milk, colostrum and kefir are stored in the My Magic Kitchen Inc. refrigerated warehouse.More than 3,800 of the bottles contain raw camel milk and products made from it, which sell for $10 to $18 on the internet. A few hundred of the bottles contain pasteurized camel milk products. Kansas does not have any licensed camel dairy operations. If it did, sales of raw camel milk/products would be limited to “on-farm” scenarios. Kansas law prohibits retail sales and herd share sales of unpasteurized milk.The Kansas Department of Agriculture embargoed the products in question in August.Illegal interstate commerce isn’t the only problem with the camel milk products stored at My Magic Kitchen warehouse. They are also considered “new drugs” under federal law because of health claims made on their labels and on the website of Desert Farms Inc., a California company that contracts with a network of raw camel milk producers across the country.


The Influence of Food Store Access on Grocery Shopping and Food Spending

USDA | Posted on October 23, 2017

Six percent of U.S. households are access-burdened: they do not use their own vehicle to travel to the store for groceries and live more than 0.5 mile from the nearest SNAP-authorized supermarket or superstore (SM/SS), which we use to proxy the nearest source of healthy and affordable food. Further analysis showed that: • Seventy-seven percent of access-burdened households reported a shopping event at a supermarket, superstore, large grocery store, or warehouse store during the survey week compared to 87 percent for households with sufficient access. Of those who visited these large stores during the survey week, sufficient-access households had 2.8 shopping events at such a store, while access-burdened households averaged 2.4 shopping events. • Although they average fewer trips, access-burdened households spend almost the same percentage of their weekly food expenditures at large stores as households with sufficient access—57 percent of total spending for access-burdened households and 58 percent for sufficient-access households.The per capita spending of access-burdened households at such stores is slightly lower—$28.77 on average for the survey week compared with $29.97 for households www.ers.usda.gov United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Economic Information Bulletin Number 180 October 2017 The Influence of Foodstore Access on Grocery Shopping and Food Spending Michele Ver Ploeg Elizabeth Larimore Parke Wilde Summary with sufficient access. These findings suggest that access-burdened households overcome limited food retail options to spend similarly to sufficient-access households at large stores. Access-burdened households have a median monthly income of $1,240 compared to $4,388 for sufficientaccess households, which may account for some of the differences in spending patterns at restaurants and other types of stores.


Audit finds shortcomings in USDA foreign meat oversight

Capital Press | Posted on October 20, 2017

An internal USDA audit has found shortcomings in the agency’s system for ensuring foreign meat and egg inspections are equivalent to those in the U.S. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspections Service is charged with ensuring meat and egg products imported into the U.S. are subject to equivalent protections against food safety hazards.Auditors from USDA’s Office of Inspector General said the agency has a “robust system” for scrutinizing countries that apply to export meat and eggs to the U.S. but found fault with its ongoing monitoring of trading partners once they’ve qualified.The audit said that “without more robust controls” for determining the equivalence of foreign inspections, the FSIS program is “vulnerable to weaknesses that increase the risk of adulterated or unsafe meat, poultry, or egg products being imported into the United States.”In response to the audit, FSIS said it was making improvements to enact many of the audit’s recommendations, though the agency disagreed with some of the characterizations in the report.The report claimed FSIS didn’t consistently follow its own policy for auditing countries based on performance assessments, for example.


Food law leaves Maine meat producers squealing for a fix

Maine Press Herald | Posted on October 20, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has said it will override Maine’s ability to run its own meat inspection program unless the state clarifies the law. Maine’s Department of Agriculture is concerned that the law would keep it from inspecting any meat slaughtered and processed in a town that is food sovereign, negating an agreement it has with the USDA to meet federal standards. The prospect that meat-processing facilities like Bisson’s could close, even temporarily, has sent food producers across Maine into a state of near panic and confusion. The cause of the problem is the food sovereignty bill that Gov. Paul LePage signed into law in June despite opposition from his chief agricultural advisers. The bill, called “An Act to Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems,” endorses the right of Maine communities to declare themselves “food sovereign,” something 20 communities, including several on the Blue Hill Peninsula, already have done.In practical terms, it means consumers can buy directly from farmers and food producers in those communities who are operating outside of state and federal licensing. The legislation was intended by those who shaped it, including state Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, its sponsor, and state Rep. Craig Hickman, D-Winthrop, who has put forth numerous similar bills, as a means to encourage local food production and consumption.


Pages