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Food News

First genetically engineered salmon sold in Canada

Nature | Posted on August 15, 2017

Genetically engineered salmon has reached the dinner table. AquaBounty Technologies, the company in Maynard, Massachusetts, that developed the fish, announced on 4 August that it has sold some 4.5 tonnes of its hotly debated product to customers in Canada. The sale marks the first time that a genetically engineered animal has been sold for food on the open market. It took AquaBounty more than 25 years to get to this point.The fish, a variety of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), is engineered to grow faster than its non-genetically modified counterpart, reaching market size in roughly half the time — about 18 months. AquaBounty sold its first commercial batch at market price: US$5.30 per pound ($11.70 per kilogram), says Ron Stotish, the company’s chief executive. He would not disclose who bought it.

Dutch authorities begin testing chicken meat as contaminated eggs scandal widens

Independent | Posted on August 15, 2017

Dutch authorities have reportedly started testing chicken meat originating from farms found to have produced eggs contaminated with insecticide. “We are currently testing chicken meat in the poultry farms where eggs were infected to determine whether the meat is contaminated as well,” Tjitte Mastenbroek, spokesperson for food security agency NVWA, told the AFP news agency. Mr Mastenbroek said the probe centres on “a few dozen” farms that produce both eggs and chicken meat. Scientists are testing the meat for fipronil, a pesticide which can be harmful to humans if ingested.

Walmart Moves Into The Dairy Business Even As Milk Consumption Drops

Forbes | Posted on August 15, 2017

Walmart announced its intent to build a dairy processing plant to supply its own store-brand milks back in March 2016; as a result, Dean Foods stock dropped 12 percent. Today, on reports that the Walmart plant, which is estimated to serve 600 stores (out of its 4,100+ stores in the US), will open soon, Dean Foods' stock price took another hit, declining a bit over 20%. However to give you the sense of how steep the decline has been, according to USDA and the Economic Research Service, in 1975 per capita availability was 247 pounds (the measurement used by the USDA) and as of June 2017 declined to 155 pounds almost a 38% difference. So we have to wonder why Walmart is entering this business and what is the impact of losing business from the largest grocer on companies like Dean Foods.

Inside the Secret World of Global Food Spies

Bloomberg | Posted on August 15, 2017

In demand by multinational retailers and food producers, Inscatech and its agents scour supply chains around the world hunting for evidence of food industry fraud and malpractice. In the eight years since he founded the New York-based firm, Weinberg, 52, says China continues to be a key growth area for fraudsters as well as those developing technologies trying to counter them. “Statistically we’re uncovering fraud about 70 percent of the time, but in China it’s very close to 100 percent,” he said. “It’s pervasive, it’s across food groups, and it’s anything you can possibly imagine.” Weinberg’s company is developing molecular markers and genetic fingerprints to help authenticate natural products and sort genuine foodstuffs from the fakes. Another approach companies are pursuing uses digital technology to track and record the provenance of food from farm to plate. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, was one of the first to get on board, just completing a trial using blockchain technology to track pork in China, where it has more than 400 stores. The time taken to track the meat’s supply chain was cut from 26 hours to just seconds using blockchain, and the scope of the project is being widened to other products, said Frank Yiannas, Wal-Mart’s vice president for food safety

Fieldale Farms chicken price fixing settlement could be good news for others

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on August 9, 2017

Chicken processor Fieldale Farms has proposed to pay $2.25 million to settle its part in a lawsuit involving 14 chicken processors, according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern District of Illinois.  Attorneys from law firms representing Maplevale Farms of Falconer, N.Y., said at the time that companies including Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, Sanderson Farms and several others worked together to artificially reduce broiler chicken supplies in the U.S. marketplace knowing that supply reductions would boost prices. The 14 processors named in the suit were accused of sharing confidential information, including news on plant closings, hatching egg export levels and destroying breeder hens, according to the suit. The $2.25 million settlement implies a lower than expected litigation exposure for Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride and Sanderson Farms. 

Amid farm-to-table movement, Colorado agriculture attempts to shape perceptions of farming

Denver Post | Posted on August 8, 2017

Younger generations want to know where their food comes from, but communicating that information might be harder than it seems. Younger generations are leading the charge on demanding locally sourced food. They’re starting farm-to-table restaurants, making farmers markets trendy and paying a premium for locally sourced food. But getting the most accurate message out to consumers about where their food comes from and how it is grown is easier said than done.As part of Colorado Proud month – as proclaimed by Gov. John Hickenlooper and celebrated with a campaign theme each year – partners in Colorado’s agricultural industry will tour the state this month to show the faces of agriculture. The Colorado Proud program provides a guarantee to consumers that their food was grown, raised or processed in the state. The program started in 1999, but its purple-and-yellow mountain symbol is becoming more powerful. This year’s Colorado Proud survey results suggested that consumers want to “feel more connected” to farmers and food sources.

Lost in the supermarket

Strongtowns | Posted on August 6, 2017

On November 9, 2012, Mayor Jim Cahill led a ribbon-cutting at the Fresh Grocer, a 50,000 square foot supermarket in downtown New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was the city’s first new full-service supermarket in a generation, the latest nine-figure project spearheaded by the New Brunswick Development Corporation.“We’re not just a supermarket. It’s some ways, we’re a community center,” explained the Fresh Grocer CEO Pat Burns, taking pride in his company’s ability to work with low-income residents in urban communities to help create a supermarket that best serves their needs. To that end, the New Brunswick location would provide ethnic foods that cater to the city’s minority communities, partner with a local non-profit to sell food created by New Brunswick residents, offer a free shuttle service for those who shopped there, and provide job training and nutrition programs for employees.With the cut of a ribbon, New Brunswick was no longer a food desert.A year and a half later, the Fresh Grocer abruptly closed.

Sugar companies to launch GMO education campaign

Capital Press | Posted on August 3, 2017

Two of the nation’s sugar companies will launch a $4 million online campaign this fall aimed at educating consumers about GMO crops and changing their perceptions of the technology.

Bowing to pressure, a Berkeley butcher shop makes a deal with vegan protesters

The Washington Post | Posted on August 3, 2017

The protests were intense: People dripping with fake blood, tightly bound in plastic wrap as if they were cuts of meat. Singing, shouting, lecturing customers. It’s what Direct Action Everywhere, an animal rights group, would do every time the Local Butcher Shop would host its butchering classes in its Berkeley, Calif., store. But after four months, the protests have finally slowed down, and for an unlikely reason: After receiving a list of demands from the group, which also goes by DXE, the butcher shop capitulated. Although the Local Butcher Shop touts its farms’ humane practices on its website, owners agreed to hang a sign in their window that reads “Attention: Animals lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it’s done.”

Love food and small biz? There’s an app for that

USA Today | Posted on August 3, 2017

Now, there’s a new app that helps food-related small businesses improve their cash flow and nurture customers at the same time, “Credibles.” The San Francisco-based start-up aims to help small food businesses by letting  customers pre-pay from a growing number of small food companies, essentially setting up a prepaid tab. The businesses then have that money to use without having to take out loans.“It’s easier to put money into Monsanto and McDonald’s than invest in the bakery down the street,” said Credibles’ founder Arno Hesse.That’s because you can buy stock in large food companies. But how do avid fans help insure the survival of their favorite coffee shop or cheese maker? With Credibles, they exchange their money for food, not shares.