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Contaminated raw milk may have been sold in 4 states

Valley News Live | Posted on December 1, 2017

Health officials have issued a warning about potentially tainted raw milk that was sold in four states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising anyone who consumed Udder Milk products to seek medical attention. According to the CDC, people who drank raw milk from the company may have been infected with a rare germ called Brucella abortus RB51, which can cause an illness called brucellosis.Officials say a New Jersey woman became sick with an antibiotic-resistant strain of the bacteria after consuming Udder Milk earlier this year.

USDA Publishes School Meals Rule, Expands Options, Eases Challenges

USDA | Posted on November 30, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today provided local food service professionals the flexibility they need to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals in schools across the nation. The new School Meal Flexibility Rule, published today, makes targeted changes to standards for meals provided under USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, and asks customers to share their thoughts on those changes with the Department.The interim final rule published today gives schools the option to serve low-fat (1 percent) flavored milk. Currently, schools are permitted to serve low-fat and non-fat unflavored milk as well as non-fat flavored milk. The rule also would provide this milk flexibility to the Special Milk Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program operators serving children ages 6 and older. States will also be allowed to grant exemptions to schools experiencing hardship in obtaining whole grain-rich products acceptable to students during School Year (SY) 2018-2019.Schools and industry also need more time to reduce sodium levels in school meals, Perdue said. So instead of further restricting sodium levels for SY 2018-2019, schools that meet the current – “Target 1” – limit will be considered compliant with USDA’s sodium requirements. Perdue again lauded the efforts of school food professionals in serving healthful, appealing meals and underscored USDA’s commitment to helping them overcome remaining challenges they face in meeting the nutrition standards.

New technique can detect unwanted animal parts in ground beef in minutes

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on November 30, 2017

 new technique developed by researchers at the University of British Columbia can identify unwanted animal products in ground beef within minutes, the school announced in a news release. Using a laser-equipped spectrometer and statistical analysis, food science students led by professor Xiaonan Lu determined with 99 percent accuracy if ground beef samples contained other animal parts, and could say with 80 percent accuracy which animal parts were used and in what concentration.The new method can do so in less than 5 minutes.

Low-income Canadians understand healthy food, lack money: report

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on November 29, 2017

Low-income consumers in Canada are well educated on nutritious food choices but are unable to afford the best food for their families because of financial pressures, according to a new report. The results of the study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto counter conventional opinions that low-income consumers make poor food choices because they don’t know what foods are healthy. The data indicate that money dictates the decisions made by these consumers rather than a lack of knowledge about which foods are healthier for their families. When asked what they would buy if they had more money, respondents cited more and better-quality fruits, vegetables and meat rather than processed foods, the report noted.

USDA, Virginia Tech explore a world without food animals

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on November 29, 2017

What would happen if U.S. farmers stopped producing animals for food and Americans went vegan? Noting some have called for a move toward veganism to address concerns about U.S. health, eating habits and climate change, researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Virginia Tech set out to explore the nutritional and greenhouse gas impacts of removing animals from U.S. agriculture.They found that a complete shift away from food animal production would present major challenges to meeting America's nutritional needs. With no meat, milk, eggs, fish or cheese in the American diet, the U.S. population would not receive enough of several different essential dietary nutrients from the foods they eat, according to the study results. Eliminating food animals would increase deficiencies in calcium, vitamins A and B12 and some important fatty acids. Fatty acids help to reduce cardiovascular disease and improve cognitive function and vision in infants. Animal food products are the only available, non-supplemental sources of some fatty acids and vitamin B12.A plant-only diet also would require individuals to eat more food and more daily calories to meet their nutritional needs because the available foods from plants are not as nutrient dense as foods from animals, the researchers said.

Raw milk firm linked to Brucella illness in New Jersey

edairynews | Posted on November 21, 2017

Udder Milk’s product has been linked to one illness. A North Jersey woman tested positive for Brucella RB51 infection but has recovered. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department’s Public Health and Food Protection Program, with the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, are investigating to determine the suppliers.

Are there antibiotics in my meat? Let’s clear the confusion

Huffington Post | Posted on November 16, 2017

I was stunned to hear a mother express guilt about being “unable to afford meat that doesn’t have antibiotics in it.”I wondered how many parents who are trying to provide the best for their children have the misconception that their kids are consuming large doses of antibiotics because they can’t afford meat labeled “antibiotic free.”One look at common questions being asked on Internet search engines tells us this misconception is distressingly common: “Are there antibiotics in my meat?” “Why is it bad to eat meat with antibiotics?”There is one undeniable fact that should bring comfort to parents trying to provide safe, healthy meals for their families on a budget: multiple safeguards are in place to ensure the meat we buy in the grocery store – regardless of the label – is safe.Before an antibiotic is ever approved for use in animals, it must go through a rigorous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process. The process begins with testing to determine how long an antibiotic remains in an animal’s body, which is called the withdrawal period. Withdrawal periods are required by law. Animals cannot be processed until the drug, in this case the antibiotic, has cleared from their bodies.Additional studies are conducted to assess the potential for the development of resistant bacteria and to examine whether public health could be affected by using the antibiotic in animals.On top of that, food companies and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) routinely test meat during processing to confirm there are no unsafe antibiotic residues. This is true for all meat. With or without an “antibiotic free” label.So, parents take heart. Whether the meat you buy is labeled “antibiotic free” or not, its safety is confirmed by extensive studies, mandatory withdrawal periods, and routine testing to ensure there are no unsafe antibiotic residues.

Be especially thankful for organic turkey

Watt Ag Net | Posted on November 16, 2017

Butterball, the largest turkey producer in the United States, has quietly entered the organic turkey market in time for the Thanksgiving holiday next week. It did so with so little fanfare that unless you are a reader of USA Today, you probably didn’t know the company even got involved with organic turkey production.Why didn’t Butterball shout it out loud and proud to all of the consumers who are preparing to put a turkey on the table on November 23? The reason is simple: “We want to (avoid) a situation where we’re overselling what we produce,” Butterball Chief Operating Officer Jay Jandrain told USA Today.The company had previously released products from turkeys raised without antibiotics through its Farm-to-Family line. But this will be the first year that organic Butterball products will be available for people who value that organic label.For me, it really won’t matter what is on the table or how that food was raised. I’ll simply be thankful that we all have something to eat. That’s something that’s a struggle for so many people.However, in the United States there is enough wealth that there are people who have the luxury of consuming niche’ products like antibiotic-free or organic turkey meat and the ability pay a premium price for them. That’s certainly something for which to be thankful.

McCartney’s Meatless Monday movie

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on November 16, 2017

Sir Paul McCartney is a gifted musical artist.  In his former Beatles life as well as in his solo career, he has always been at the top of the popular musical scene even now at the tender age of 75.  After meeting his future wife Linda, a vegan, he joined her in that gastronomic choice.  Now, however, he is proselyting for others to join him in this vegan lifestyle by promoting a new movie that extolls the virtues of a non-meat eating day per week. Ok, my concern isn’t the movie.  After having viewed it a few times, I can say that it is professionally produced, but factually disingenuous.  However, it is provocative because of its hyperbolic, in fact, incendiary statements.  Sir Paul, his daughters, plus Woody and Emma ask you throughout the movie to simply avoid eating meat for only one day a week. On its surface, such an appeal seems quite innocent and plausible.  I mean we can do anything for only one day a week can’t we?No, my concern is the movie’s underlying premise that meat is not only bad for you but animal agriculture is the progenitor of the earth’s atmospheric destruction.  Holy cow!  Cow burps and farts are the principal cause of the hole in the ozone?  Give me a break.  But there’s more.

Just in time for Thanksgiving dinner: traceable turkeys

Abilene Reporter News | Posted on November 16, 2017

Turkey buyers in select Texas markets will be able to either text or enter on the Honeysuckle White website the code found on the tag on the packaged bird to find out where it was raised and get information about the farm's location, view farm photos and read the farmer's message. "What traceability does is just allow us to connect with the consumer," Glaser said. "And I think over time there has been a disconnect. People have kind of lost where their food comes from and this is a way to re-establish that line of communication."