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Food News

Kind snack bar founder to donate $25 million for public health

The Washington Post | Posted on February 16, 2017

A $25 million pledge to fight the food industry’s influence on public health is coming from a surprising source — the CEO of a snack bar maker.  Kind founder Daniel Lubetzky says he’s pledging his own money to create a group called “Feed the Truth” dedicated to revealing corporate influence in the nutrition field, with activities like education campaigns and investigative journalism.  The move underscores the division between older “Big Food” companies and newer businesses that market themselves as wholesome alternatives aligned with health advocates. Kind, known for its fruit and nut bars, touts its use of “real” ingredients and has proven deft at mixing marketing with nutrition issues.

Cheap Eats, Cheap Labor: The Hidden Human Costs Of Those Lists

WUNC | Posted on February 14, 2017

Everyone loves a cheap eats list. A treasure map to $1 tacos! $4 banh mi! $6 pad Thai! More often than not, the Xs that mark the cheap spots are in the city's immigrant enclaves. Indeed, food media is never so diverse as when it runs these lists, its pages fill with names of restaurateurs and chefs of color.  These lists infuriate me. Restaurant workers are already among the lowest paid workers in America. Many full-time workers rely on public assistance to make ends meet. Often enough, restaurant workers could not afford to eat at the restaurants where they work. And at the bottom of this system are the employees of the restaurants on these cheap eats list. American enterprise has long been a gateway to the American dream for many immigrants. But much of it was also built on exploited labor. Enslaved African-Americans built Southern plantations. Chinese immigrant workers built the railroads. Latino migrant farm workers are the backbone that turned California into America's agricultural powerhouse.

Dannon ‘Natural’ Yogurt Label Tricks Consumers, Suit Says

Bloomberg | Posted on February 14, 2017

Danone SA’s Dannon unit deceptively labels a dozen yogurt products “all natural” because they contain genetically modified ingredients, a Minnesota woman alleges in a suit on behalf of consumers nationwide (Podpeskar v. Dannon Co. , S.D.N.Y., No. 16-08478, complaint filed 2/2/17 ).  The yogurt isn’t natural because it comes from milk produced by cows that eat feed containing GMOs, Polly Podpeskar says in a Feb. 2 complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Dannon spokesman Michael Neuwirth declined to comment Feb. 6 on pending litigation.

Disposal of 200 million pounds of cull onions challenge growers

Capital Press | Posted on February 14, 2017

The Idaho-Oregon onion industry, which was hit hard by the collapse of dozens of storage and packing buildings in the Treasure Valley area this winter, faces another large challenge. Upward of 200 million pounds of onions that were ruined when the buildings collapsed under the weight of snow and ice have to be disposed of in the next two months. But both states have special requirements for the disposal of cull onions to prevent an outbreak of onion maggot, which can devastate onion and other vegetable crops. Because of the level of devastation caused by the building collapses, both states have moved the deadline for disposal of cull onions from March 15 to April 15. But getting rid of that many onions will be no easy task, said Jack Yarbrough of Idaho Waste Systems, which operates a landfill in Mountain Home, Idaho. “This is a major problem and people need to get moving on it,” he said. “Something needs to be done and it needs to be done quickly.”

Red Delicious prices dropping with two-thirds still unsold | Posted on February 14, 2017

As sales of the 2016 Washington apple crop approach the midway point, the price of Red Delicious is dropping significantly. The average asking price of extra fancy (standard) grade, medium size (80 to 88 apples per 40-pound box) in Wenatchee and Yakima dropped $3 on the low end and $2 on the high end in one month, according to USDA tracking. The prices were $13 to $16.90 on Feb. 8, down from $16 to $18.90 on Jan. 9. All of those prices are below grower costs, said Desmond O’Rourke, world apple market analyst and retired Washington State University ag economist in Pullman. The price of Reds likely will go lower, he said.

Natural/organic poultry maker under SEC scrutiny

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 14, 2017

The Hain Celestial Group said Friday that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating the company’s accounting practices after it failed to report quarterly earnings on time. The company’s shares fell by more than 13 percent on Monday on the news.Hain Celestial, the parent of Freebird and Empire Kosher poultry brands, said in an SEC filing that it is in the process of responding to the SEC and is cooperating fully with the probe.

Gluten-free diet may increase risk of arsenic, mercury exposure

Science Daily | Posted on February 14, 2017

People who eat a gluten-free diet may be at risk for increased exposure to arsenic and mercury -- toxic metals that can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurological effects, according to a report in the journal Epidemiology.

Health benefits of organic food, farming outlined in new report

Harvard | Posted on February 12, 2017

Why did the European Parliament commission this report and what was its most important takeaway? The European Parliament is concerned about food safety and human health. They asked a group of experts from several countries to review the possible health advantages of organic food and organic farming. Our report reviews existing scientific evidence regarding the impact of organic food on human health, including in vitro and animal studies, epidemiological studies, and food crop analyses.

Sanderson shareholder proposal on reducing antibiotic use fails

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on February 11, 2017

A shareholder proposal calling for Sanderson Farms Inc. to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention in its poultry operations failed at the company's annual meeting. The proposal had been filed by As You Sow, an Oakland, Calif.-based environmental and social advocacy organization. Sanderson management had recommended that shareholders vote against the proposal. Sanderson's continued use of antibiotics for disease prevention — not growth promotion — is part of the company's consumer marketing program. Its message is that the advantages of antibiotic-free poultry are overblown, and that such programs serve mostly to give poultry processors a reason to hike prices.

Plant-based ‘milk’ labeling is misleading, but it’s not what’s killing the dairy milk market

Food Navigator | Posted on February 9, 2017

he dairy lobby is justifiably frustrated about the widespread use of dairy-terms (milk, cheese, yogurt) to describe plant-based products, but it also needs to focus on its own game to understand why sales of fluid dairy milk are declining.