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Food News

‘Farm to Flask’ Distillers Lifting Local Spirits

Pew Charitable Trust | Posted on October 11, 2017

Dan Beardsley’s great-grandfather made moonshine on the family farm to make ends meet during Prohibition. Now he can boost farm profits with a legal distillery, thanks to a new Connecticut law that took effect Oct. 1. The law, based on a similar “farm to flask” law enacted in New York almost a decade ago, allows farmers to distill and sell spirits using their own produce without high-priced licenses or distribution requirements. They can sell their own product at a farm store, and hold tastings, without using a wholesaler if they use local ingredients.Such farm distillery laws are helping rural areas get in on the craft distillery movement.So far this year, a dozen states have enacted laws designed to help craft distilleries, and most benefit farm distillers either directly or indirectly, said Heather Morton, who tracks such laws for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). For instance, Indiana shortened the waiting period to start a small distillery from three years to 18 months, and Georgia allowed distillers to sell bottles at retail.New York this year gave another boost to farm distillers by allowing them to serve cocktails.Among the states that now offer farm distilleries lower fees or more freedom to sell their products are Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Virginia and West Virginia, according to NCSL.Some states require craft distilleries to use local produce, which helps farm distillers. The law in Connecticut requires one-quarter local farm-grown ingredients, and New York’s requires three-quarters.

Washington suspends license of raw milk dairy linked to salmonella

Capital Press | Posted on October 10, 2017

A strain of salmonella detected in raw milk from a Washington dairy was the same one that sickened two of the dairy’s customers in January. The Washington Department of Agriculture Friday suspended the processing license of a raw milk dairy, which had declined to voluntarily suspend production after the department detected salmonella last month in the dairy’s milk.

McDonald's Tries out McVegan

Independent | Posted on October 9, 2017

Catchily named the McVegan, it consists of a soy-based patty topped with tomato, salad, pickles and vegan McFeast sauce, sandwiched between a bun. McDonald’s have decided to trial the burger in Tampere, Finland, from 4 October to 21 November.  However, if it’s popular, the McVegan might be rolled out globally.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Drops Mic On Comments Criticizing Hulu For Showing Food Evolution Documentary

Forbes | Posted on October 5, 2017

In his trademark measured fashion, the film’s narrator Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is known for his science “mic drops,” showed up to intervene.Fascinated by the intensity of this brief comment thread. Allow me to offer four observations:1) Just because you don’t agree with something, doesn’t make it wrong.2) One of you wants to end your subscription to HULU over a documentary you have yet to see. Just let that sink in.3) The documentary is not specifically pro-GMO, it’s pro science. That fact is clear and present from the opening minutes onward.4) And just for reference – 2016 Revenues: Exxon $205 billion; General Motors $165 billion; Archer Daniels Midland $62 billion; FedEx $50 billion; Whole Foods Market $16 billion; Monsanto $15.7 billion.Respectfully Sumbitted Neil deGrasse Tyson, New York City 

Tom Brady blasts big food companies, GMOs in new self-help book

Fox Business | Posted on October 5, 2017

The Patriots quarterback uses fruits and vegetables as an example saying that apples, bananas, and tomatoes are ripened by ethylene gas to make them available all year round. “But are those real?” Brady adds. “Moreover, a lot of studies show that the mineral content of our soil has declined steadily since the 1950’s, along with the nutritional value of the fruits and vegetables that grow in that soil.” Brady goes on to criticize the industry’s use of genetically modified organisms or GMOs, which currently make up around 75% of processed foods on grocery store shelves in the U.S. today, according to the Grocery Manufacturer Association. A GMO is an organism whose genetic makeup has been altered by the techniques of genetic engineering so that its DNA contains one or more genes not normally found there. Almost 90% of the corn and soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically-modified, according to the Non-GMO Project.

Tom Brady: Visit my farm and lean food facts

Global Farmer Network | Posted on October 5, 2017

Then again, who is Tom Brady to tell me how to farm? In “The TB12 Method,” the bestselling book he released last week, Brady offers a lot of opinions about farming and food production. He’d do well to learn a few facts, which I’d be glad to teach him. Tom, I want to personally invite you to visit my family farm so we can talk about your food and farming concerns.I happen to be a fan of Brady and his team. I was born in Massachusetts and grew up watching the Patriots.  I was a Patriots fan before Brady was ever on the team. Brady gets sacked for a loss, however, when he takes up the subject of GMOs: “Then of course there’s genetic engineering,” he writes. “Does that sound like something you’d want to eat? It sounds like a chemistry experiment to me.”The quarterback may think this is a clever quip, but in fact it exposes his ignorance. Genetics have nothing to do with chemistry: They’re a feature of biology. They’re also essential to agriculture.On our farm, we grow two kinds of soybeans. One is a non-GMO variety that becomes tofu sold to Asian food processing companies. The other is a GMO crop—in other words, the kind that Brady condemns as a “chemistry experiment,” even though it’s a safe and proven technology for farmers and consumers.Here’s the irony: Our GMO soybeans are high in oleic oil, which allows our customers to extract from them an oil that is free of trans fat.Brady ought to cheer us on: “Basically, trans fats are the worst kind of fat out there,” he writes in his book. He advises his readers to avoid them.

Golden rice – a miracle tarnished by irresponsible activism

The Hill | Posted on October 5, 2017

“Their eyes tell their sad stories as ghostly white irises give way to vacant stares. We can look at them but they can’t look back at us. They’ve gone blind because of malnutrition.,” V. Ravichandran, a farmer in Tamil Nadu, India, describing children suffering from vitamin A deficiency. This is a dual tragedy — first, because more than two-thirds of the children referred to in Ravichandran’s commentary will be dead within a year — blindness from vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is an early sign of life-threatening debilitation — and second, because VAD could be prevented with an accessible, modern agricultural technology. The most elegant and practical approach to preventing VAD is a group of genetically engineered rice varieties known as Golden Rice because of its color, which is imparted by the presence of beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A.

Genetically modified wheat used to make coeliac-friendly bread

New Scientist | Posted on October 5, 2017

People forced to avoid gluten could soon have their bread (and cake) and eat it. Now there are strains of wheat that do not produce the forms of gluten that trigger a dangerous immune reaction in as many as 1 in 100 people. Because the new strains still contain some kinds of gluten, though, the wheat can still be used to bake bread. “It’s regarded as being pretty good, certainly better than anything on the gluten-free shelves,” says Jan Chojecki of PBL-Ventures in the UK, who is working with investors in North America to market products made with this wheat.

MD:Wanted: proposals for a small processing facility

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on October 5, 2017

The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission has issued a request for proposals for an entity to develop, manage and operate a meat processing facility for the region's farming community. The facility is planned to be a public-private partnership with minimum processing capability of 500 bovines and 2,000 sheep/goats/hogs and an optional ability to process additional livestock species including poultry. The ideal capacity is 3,000 animals per year, the group said. The contract will be awarded for a term of up to 9 years.

Americans want required food labels even if they don't read them

Reuters | Posted on October 5, 2017

A majority of Americans want the U.S. government to require nutrition labels on food packaging, including people who do not read them, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released as the Trump administration delays tougher new requirements.The government has delayed the introduction of mandatory labeling of sugars added to packaged food and use of genetically-engineered ingredients, marking a change from the Obama administration and a victory for food companies which lobbied against them as too costly and confusing for consumers.Eighty-four percent of adults agreed that “the government should require nutrition information labels on all packaged food sold in grocery stores” and 64 percent wanted similar requirements for restaurants, according to the poll.Most people wanted those labels even though relatively few said they read them. Only 13 percent said they “always” read the nutrition facts when deciding to buy a product.