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Food News

Natural Resource Defense Council fails most fast food chains on antibiotics

Eco Watch | Posted on October 17, 2018

Right now, many burger chains are putting burger lovers in a bind. If they want to eat meat raised with responsible antibiotic use practices, chicken is the best choice at many mainstream chains. But if we are to make headway on antibiotic resistance crisis, the beef (and pork) industry must be part of the solution.

Edible cottonseed review shifts to FDA

Politico | Posted on October 17, 2018

Cottonseed could become a high-protein food option, providing a boon to cotton growers, if FDA signs off on a new genetically engineered variety. Traditional cottonseed is toxic for humans and most animals because it contains a poisonous substance called gossypol. But a team of ag scientists at Texas A&M developed a type of cottonseed that contains very low levels of gossypol, making it edible for humans — and creating the possibility that the tree nut could help address global malnutrition. USDA green-lighted the biotechnology on Tuesday. It determined the GE variety does not pose a plant-pest risk to crops or other plants, Pro Ag’s Liz Crampton reports. The next step for Texas A&M researchers, backed by funding from Cotton Incorporated, is to finish consulting with FDA. If the agency determines the GE cottonseed is safe to eat, it could hit the commercial market in the form of products like chips, protein powder and flour.Developers of the cottonseed — which, BTW, supposedly tastes like hummus — are expecting FDA’s decision early next year. They can volunteer to present a safety assessment to the agency that takes into account factors such as comparing nutrient levels in the new GE plant with traditionally bred plants, or whether the altered variety could trigger allergic reactions. FDA would then evaluate the assessment to determine whether the new food complies with the law.

Trump team makes controversial change to allow chicken plants to operate at faster speeds

Washington Post | Posted on October 17, 2018

The Trump administration is now allowing more chicken-processing plants to operate at faster speeds, a controversial move that some fear will hurt workers and chicken consumers by lowering safety standards. Plants that receive a waiver from the Trump administration will be able to process up to 175 birds per minute, up from the old limit of 140 birds per minute. The administration recently published new criteria spelling out what it would take to get a waiver.The National Chicken Council, which represents the poultry industry, praised the move and noted that each individual plant must meet stringent criteria to obtain a waiver. But labor, consumer and animal rights groups decried the change as a capitulation to big business that will open the floodgates to most of the nation’s more than 200 poultry-processing plants operating at the faster rate.The move comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s push to eliminate speed limits entirely in the pork-processing industry and at a time when the United States has an abundance of chicken in grocery stores and warehouses. Foreign buyers, especially China and Mexico, have slowed U.S. meat purchases as Trump’s trade war escalates. The result is that chicken sitting in cold-storage warehouses is at its highest level since 2006, and domestic prices of boneless chicken breasts have slumped in recent months, according to U.S. Agriculture Department data.

Compound in Cow’s Milk May Help Kill Malignant Mesothelioma Cells | Posted on October 11, 2018

When you were a kid and your mother told you to drink your milk, you probably never dreamed that the white stuff you poured over your cereal might hold the key to curing malignant mesothelioma. Though it would definitely be a stretch to think that drinking more cow’s milk could eradicate the asbestos-related disease, as so often turns out to be true, there’s a grain of truth to what mom always said. Researchers from Australia have determined that a compound in cow’s milk might be used to kill mesothelioma cells that have proven resistant to more traditional cancer-killing methods, and particularly chemotherapy. The mesothelioma-killing compounds are known as BLAGLET and BAMLET: they are derived from a lipid called oleic acid and either alpha or beta-lactalbumin. These protein-lipid complexes are found in cow’s milk — the beta lactoglobulin is a whey protein while alpha lactoglobulin controls lactose production in mammals. Researchers from the University of Sydney say they can seek out and trigger cancer cell death while leaving healthy cells unscathed.

DHS gets in the weeds on cyber threats to agriculture

FCW | Posted on October 10, 2018

DHS' Threats to Precision Agriculture report looks at cyber vulnerabilities in embedded and connected technologies that harness remote sensing, global positioning systems and communication systems to generate big data, data analytics and machine learning to manage crops and livestock. Cyber threats to the agricultural infrastructure are consistent with other connected industries, said DHS, but given farming's mechanized history, those threats are not well understood or treated seriously enough.The security threats to precision agriculture range from simple data theft, to market manipulations, destruction of equipment, or even a national security concern, according to the report.

Regulators face food fight over lab-grown meat

Washington Examiner | Posted on October 10, 2018

A food fight has been brewing over how the government should regulate animal tissue grown in labs. The prospect of lab-grown tissue has raised the hopes of animal welfare and environmental groups because it is created without slaughter and meant to substitute for traditional pork, beef, chicken, and fish. But divisions have emerged between the traditional meat industry, who are imploring the government to set rules out of concern for their own industry, and the companies creating the lab-grown foods, who fear that regulation could prevent their products from reaching consumers.Safety regulations have yet to be issued, but they are likely to include standards about how to grow the tissue, how to sign off on its safety, and how to label it in a way that consumers know what they're buying.

Danny Meyer Just Made a Big Investment in Food Delivery

Grub Street | Posted on October 10, 2018

Danny Meyer wants to be your delivery man. His private-equity fund Enlightened Hospitality Investments has led a new funding round into Goldbelly, the online food market that brings local specialties to a national audience. Following the success of Shake Shack, Meyer — once a neighborhood restaurateur who didn’t even stray far from Union Square — has been busy investing in food businesses like Los Angeles chain Tender Greens and Portland ice-cream maker Salt & Straw.Goldbelly is a one-stop resource for American regional foods that smartly capitalizes on people’s food obsessions. It provides a platform for some 350 producers, giving consumers access to foods like Prince’s hot chicken, Central Grocery’s muffulettas, O&H Danish Bakery’s kringles, and Roberta’s pizza. The internet has, by and large, done a number on retail, contributing in New York to a significant rise in retail vacancies. The shift toward online shopping will keep going so long as there’s the internet, and it makes sense that Meyer would invest in this particular delivery platform.

Disqualified from SNAP? SAM I Am!

OFW Law | Posted on October 10, 2018

Owners of retail food stores permanently disqualified from participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are saddled with serious consequences in addition to the loss of the store’s ability to accept food stamp benefits (EBT). After USDA’s Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) permanently disqualifies a store, the agency promptly searches its SNAP retailer database to determine if the disqualified store’s shareholders have ownership interests in other SNAP-authorized stores. A store whose owner has been permanently disqualified from SNAP based on trafficking activity at another store will soon receive a letter from FNS advising that their SNAP authorization will be withdrawn based on the lack of business integrity of the owner. Owners will also not be able to sell or transfer a permanently disqualified store without being subject to a substantial transfer penalty. The transfer civil money penalty (CMP) imposed by FNS is calculated using a complicated formula and can exceed $113,000 – an amount greater than the CMP that FNS can assess against a store in lieu of permanent disqualification from trafficking.

Make Your Voice Heard: Uphold the Integrity of Milk!

American Dairy Coalition | Posted on October 10, 2018

As a branch of the American Dairy Coalition (ADC), the Protecting Milk Integrity Initiative works to advocate for the proper use of federally standardized terms established for the word “milk” on product labels. In an effort to provide clarity and consistency for consumers across the nation, ADC is urging the FDA to stop allowing the wrongful use of the word “milk” in branding on non-milk, plant-based alternative products. It is time to end this confusion and protect the nutritious, wholesome and pure reputation of milk that is confirmed in the current FDA Standard of Identity. ADC is urging the FDA to stop allowing the wrongful use of the word “milk” on non-milk, plant-based alternative products labels. In an effort to end confusion and protect the nutritious, wholesome and pure reputation of milk, ADC requests the administration upholds the current standard of identity for milk. The dairy industry is encouraged to submit their individual comments to FDA. ​Here's what you need to do:1. Submit your comments here. The deadline is October 11th, 2018. ​    You can view a comprehensive list of talking points here.


The biggest hurdle genetically engineered food faces isn’t science—it’s us

Quartz | Posted on October 8, 2018

Today, virtually everything we eat is produced from seeds that have been genetically altered in some manner. If we’re going to feed the growing population without further destroying the environment, then we’re going to have to get comfortable with the idea of eating modified crops. By the year 2100, the Earth’s population is expected to increase to more than 11.2 billion from the current 7.6 billion. What is the best way to produce enough food to feed all these people? If we continue with current farming practices, vast amounts of wilderness will be lost, millions of birds and billions of insects will die, farm workers will be at increased risk for disease, and the public will spend billions of dollars as a consequence of environmental degradation. But there is a way we can resolve the need for increased food production with the desire to minimize its impact.For 10,000 years, we have altered the genetic makeup of our crops, transforming their shape, texture, flavor and yield. The ancient ancestor of our familiar yellow carrot, for example, was likely a purple, bitter, and woody root. Hybridization, grafting or induced random mutation through radiation or chemical treatments gave rise to many of our crops today. These early approaches were somewhat crude, resulting in new varieties through a combination of trial and error, and without knowledge of the precise function of the genes that were being transferred.