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Food News

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.

Schwan’s Sold to South Korean Company

KSAL | Posted on November 17, 2018

Schwan’s Company, a leading U.S. food business, announced Thursday it has reached an agreement to sell a majority stake of the company to CJ CheilJedang (CJCJ), of Seoul, South Korea.Schwan’s Company began in 1952 as a one-man-and-a-truck home-delivery business operating in rural Minnesota. Today, Schwan’s is a leading U.S. food manufacturer and marketer with approximately 12,000 employees and trusted brands like Schwan’s® fine foods, Red Baron®, Freschetta® and Tony’s® pizza, Edwards® and Mrs. Smith’s® desserts, Pagoda® Asian-style foods and Schwan’s® Home Delivery.

Cost of Thanksgiving Day dinner drops by 75 cents

Bismarck Tribune | Posted on November 17, 2018

American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87.

Sucking your baby's pacifier to clean it may prevent allergies

Science Daily | Posted on November 17, 2018

New research suggests a link between parental sucking on a pacifier and a lower allergic response among young children.

Dietary fat is good? Dietary fat is bad? Coming to consensus

Science Daily | Posted on November 17, 2018

Which is better, a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet or a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet -- or is it the type of fat that matters? In a new paper, researchers with diverse expertise and perspectives on the issues laid out the case for each position and came to a consensus and a future research agenda.The researchers agreed that no specific fat to carbohydrate ratio is best for everyone, and that an overall high-quality diet that is low in sugar and refined grains will help most people maintain a healthy weight and low chronic disease risk. They agreed that by focusing on diet quality -- replacing saturated or trans fats with unsaturated fats and replacing refined carbohydrates with whole grains and nonstarchy vegetables -- most people can maintain good health within a broad range of fat-to-carbohydrate ratios.

Gene-edited food is coming, but will shoppers buy?

WTOL | Posted on November 15, 2018

The next generation of biotech food is headed for the grocery aisles, and first up may be salad dressings or granola bars made with soybean oil genetically tweaked to be good for your heart.By early next year, the first foods from plants or animals that had their DNA "edited" are expected to begin selling. It's a different technology than today's controversial "genetically modified" foods, more like faster breeding that promises to boost nutrition, spur crop growth, and make farm animals hardier and fruits and vegetables last longer.The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has declared gene editing one of the breakthroughs needed to improve food production so the world can feed billions more people amid a changing climate. Yet governments are wrestling with how to regulate this powerful new tool. And after years of confusion and rancor, will shoppers accept gene-edited foods or view them as GMOs in disguise?"If the consumer sees the benefit, I think they'll embrace the products and worry less about the technology," said Dan Voytas, a University of Minnesota professor and chief science office

FDA Says Leafy Green Industry Must Improve Safety

Growing Produce | Posted on November 15, 2018

In his wrap up letter following the 2018  Yuma-AZ-linked Shiga-toxin producing E. coli(STEC) outbreak, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. is calling for improved safety measures for growing leafy greens. “We recognize and appreciate the efforts that the leafy greens industry has taken to date. But we know more must be done on all fronts to help prevent future foodborne illness outbreaks,” he says.FDA is calling for specific improvements, ssure that all agricultural water (water that directly contacts the harvestable portion of the crop) used by growers is safe and adequate for its intended use (including agricultural water used for application of crop protection chemicals).Assess and mitigate risks related to land uses near or adjacent to growing fields that may contaminate agricultural water or leafy greens crops directly (e.g., nearby cattle operations or dairy farms, manure, or composting facilities).Verify that food safety procedures, policies, and practices, including supplier controls for fresh-cut processors, are developed and consistently implemented on farms (both domestic and foreign) and in fresh-cut produce manufacturing/processing food facilities to minimize the potential for contamination and/or spread of human pathogens.When a foodborne pathogen is identified in the growing or processing environment, in agricultural inputs (e.g., agricultural water), in raw agricultural commodities or in fresh-cut ready-to-eat produce, a root cause analysis should be performed to determine the likely source of the contamination, if prevention measures have failed, and whether additional measures are needed to prevent a reoccurrence.

Massachusetts raw milk dairy suspends production for antibiotic traces

Food Safety News | Posted on November 15, 2018

Nick Hoffman and family practice Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at Hoffman Farm in Franklin, MA, offer fresh vegetables, eggs and raw milk to shareholders who pay $615 every week.But earlier this month, Hoffman Farm ran into a snag in its bucolic business plan. Raw milk sold by Hoffman tested positive for traces of antibiotics.The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) does not tolerate any amount of antibiotics in milk, not even a smidgen. The trace amount found in Hoffman’s milk was likely because the farmer treated an infected cow with medication.Hoffman is an experienced farmer. He started in 2003, farming for a decade in New Braintree, MA, where he grew hay and vegetables and milked 40 goats. He sold fresh produce to local restaurants.Today, Hoffman holds a Certificate of Registration from MDAR that permits the farm to sell raw or unpasteurized milk legally. MDAR has not received any reports of anyone becoming ill or experiencing an adverse incident.However, Hoffman Farm has recalled its raw milk for antibiotic contamination and suspended production.