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Food News

Does 'cage-free' mean a better life for chickens?

CNN | Posted on November 17, 2016

It's not a clear choice which of the possible living conditions for egg-laying hens -- enriched cages, cage-free systems, free-range setups -- serve them the best. The philosophical question of whether animals deserve any kind of moral consideration has been debated at least since the ancient Greeks. Cage-free and free-range systems clearly do a better job of allowing hens to express behaviorsthat are similar to those of wild jungle fowl. They can move around, and they have better opportunities for scratching, dust bathing and foraging. However, in comparison to enriched cages, hens in cage-free and free-range facilities suffer injuries simply because they move around more. Access to the outdoors often means that predators also have access to hens, and some are inevitably taken by hawks, foxes or the like.


Oregon has large backlog of food safety inspections, audit finds

Oregon Live | Posted on November 17, 2016

Nearly a quarter of the food businesses in Oregon from groceries to dairies are overdue for safety inspections, according to an audit from the Secretary of State's office.The 2,841 companies are at least three months' past due, the audit said.


High-protein diet link to heart failure in older women studied

Meatingplace (registration required) | Posted on November 17, 2016

Women over the age of 50 who follow a high-protein diet could be at higher risk for heart failure, especially if much of their protein comes from meat, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016.


Whole egg prices at all time lows

American Egg Board | Posted on November 17, 2016

The egg supply has completely recovered from the impact it suffered due to the avian influenza (AI) outbreak in 2015, surprising industry analysts. Initial forecasts had predicted an 18-month timeline for flocks and supply to return to pre-AI levels, yet producers have achieved this goal in one year’s time. Prices for both shell eggs and egg ingredients reflect this abundant supply. In fact according to industry analyst, Rick Brown, senior vice president, Urner Barry, whole egg prices are at a 10-year low.


Demand for organic feedstuffs far outstrips domestic supply

DTN | Posted on November 17, 2016

Organic and non-GMO sales in the U.S. amount to chicken feed, but that chicken feed is increasingly imported because U.S. farmers aren't in a position to fill demand for certified organic or even non-GMO feed.  The gap between supply and demand in organic and non-GMO feed markets offers an opportunity for farmers, but price takers aren't jumping to join the marketing wave. Premiums are also there for non-GMO crops, but they are significantly lower than organic and harder to predict. Regional factors play more into that. USDA reports non-GMO feed was pulling a premium of 12% to 14% above the average market price last year compared to genetically engineered feed commodities. Imports of organic corn have gone from 3.1 million bushels in 2014 to a projected 17.9 million bushels this year. Those imports could top 20 million bushels in 2017. Much of that organic corn is coming from Turkey, Romania and Argentina. For soybeans, the organic imports are even higher, hitting 40 million bushels this year. Imports made up 40% of the market in 2015 for U.S. organic corn feed and will likely top 50% this year. For soybeans, imports accounted for 78% of the U.S. organic feed market. Between the two, the U.S. is importing roughly $353 million in organic corn and soybean feed -- in a country that plants more than 188 million acres of mostly biotech corn and soybeans.


Cook County, home to Chicago, approves sugar tax in growing trend

Reuters | Posted on November 13, 2016

Chicagoans and other residents of Cook County will see soft-drink prices rise after a new tax on sugary beverages was narrowly approved by county officials on Thursday, aimed at both addressing health issues linked to sugar consumption and trimming a budget shortfall. Cook County, with about 5.2 million residents, is the most populous municipality so far to implement a tax on sugary drinks. Voters in San Francisco and two other northern California cities, Oakland and Albany, approved similar measures on Tuesday. The Cook County tax will be a penny per ounce.


This app reduces food waste by offering restaurant 'leftovers' for 80% off

Tree Hugger | Posted on November 13, 2016

The latest in a crop of apps designed to address the issue of food waste connects restaurants that have excess & leftover food with people looking to save money on prepared foods. It comes from Food for All, which is currently operating as a pilot project with 30-some restaurants in Cambridge, MA, and which is looking to scale up its venture to both Boston and New York City next year. The platform is taking aim at the estimated 43 billion pounds of food that is thrown out each year by restaurants, fast food joints, cafeterias, and caterers, and in addition to reducing food waste, the Food for All app is designed to give consumers a sweetheart of a deal (50-80% off of retail prices) on prepared foods. The app allows users to search for food deals close to their desired location, place their order for the leftovers (foods that did not/will not sell by the end of the day), and then go pick up the food at the designated time (before close of business, obviously, but time frames are determined by the businesses themselves).


Preservatives In Food: Chemicals Extend Food Products' Shelf Life, But Pose Harmful Effects To Human Health

Medical Daily | Posted on November 11, 2016

Expiration dates on food products are proof food doesn't last. In several days, or even hours, bread goes moldy, apple slices turn brown, and bacteria begins to multiply in mayonnaise. Yet, these foods are still found on the shelves at grocery stores thanks to preservatives, but what exactly are they, and are they good or bad for our health? Preservatives work by preventing both types of deterioration. Artificial preservatives like butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), nitrates, and benzoic acid, are all used by food manufacturers to slow maturation or spoilage. BHA is used in everything from bread to medications, but it can also be toxic, especially when ingested in large amounts. Nitrates, a naturally occurring chemical in leafy vegetables, creates carcinogenic properties when added to red meats. Lastly, the widely used preservative benzoic acid is considered a suspect additive because of its potential to create benzene when paired with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which has been linked to hyperactive behavior.


Food Regulation: A Changing of the Guard

OFW Law | Posted on November 10, 2016

Irrespective of whether you voted for or against Donald Trump, last night’s election results will lead to a significant changing of the guard in how food is regulated by FDA and USDA.  In his Contract with America, soon-to-be-President Trump promised that for “every new regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.”  Below is a list of Obama Administration initiatives which, at a minimum, are worthy of reconsideration. Food Safety Modernization Act regulations and implementation schedule – specifically, the preventive controls audit requirements and the application of preventive controls to animal food. Nutrition Facts labeling requirements, particularly the onerous and scientifically unjustified “added sugars” provision. Dietary Guidelines development process must become more scientific and less political. Vending machine rules – the overly prescriptive pending rules negatively impact vending machine operators, and confectionery and snack manufacturers large and small. Menu labeling should be revised. The rule is highly prescriptive and more time is needed for compliance. Sodium reduction initiative – with science evolving, the brakes should be put on this program. The U.S. government operates best when there is periodic reexamination of rules and policies.  Let the debate begin.


Alaska Eyes New Crops for Added Food Security

News Deeply | Posted on November 10, 2016

With the right investments in research and infrastructure, farming could become more profitable in Alaska and less of an alien concept, says Milan Shipka, the director of the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Root crops and tubers do well in Alaska, but grasses and grains, leafy greens and flowers can also succeed.  There are more than 750 farms in Alaska, including some that produce more than $500,000 annually. But, like elsewhere in the U.S., the average age of a farmer in Alaska is tipping toward 60. “If we’re going to talk about all the things that we can grow in the Arctic, then we have to talk about who is going to grow these things. We have to create enterprises that can support them economically,” says Shipka.


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